Q: How is the relationship between brand s and celebrities evolving?
A: It used to be that there were two main purposes why a brand would partner with a celebrity endorser. The first and primary reason for paying a celebrity was to associate the brand with the brand of that celebrity. Michael Jordan’s style of play and competitiveness and Nike. Martha Stewart tried to take Kmart upscale to a new demographic of shoppers. John Madden gave Miller Lite credentials as a legitimate choice for the everyman football fan. The brand borrows equity from the celebrity’s brand . You get the idea…
There’s also the goal of creating an entertaining advertisement that captures the target’s attention in a way that advertisements featuring no-names can’t. It’s one reason we track “Breakthrough” in our Celebrity DBI. To what degree to consumer pay attention to a particular celebrity?
Neither of these is a bad reason to bring on a celebrity endorser, assuming that it’s a good fit for the brand . (And, by the way, the Celebrity DBI goes a long way toward finding the right celebrity.)
The interesting evolution is that many of these celebrities now have their own direct channels to those who follow them and no longer depend solely on media outlets or paid advertisements to connect with their fans. Actors, reality stars, business gurus, pop singers, athletes, politicians — all are communicating directly with their fans or constituents on a regular basis.
More and more, we’re seeing brand s aligning with certain celebrities because of the celebrity’s digital reach. If brand s are going to get full benefit from the investment they’re making in a celebrity endorser, they should be planning not only for the traditional endorsement activities, but the increasingly important social media components.