I have borrowed heavily on an Australian Financial Review (www.afr.com) opinion by Lisa Ronson from Tourism Australia for this content (content curation, right?).
Engaging with your customers is best performed when there is an experience that they can talk about and there-by share. This usually means that there needs to be a physical touch point via a transaction or some other sort of marketing interaction. The other common way is for a follower to react to a message from a trusted source. In the digital marketing world (including any advertising medium) this could be from a message directly from you (via a blog or newsletter), from a friend (such as a referral or shared link) or from a third party that your customers might know or follow, and trust.
Messages, tweets, Facebook updates, etc from these celebrities are actively followed, and from a marketing point of view, having celebrity endorse your goods or services will allow your message to get to probably many more people that are currently on your email list or following you on Twitter or Instagram
It all sounds good, and on the surface the only real obvious obstacle is the cost of buying this endorsement. But Caveat Emptor, there are some rules that you need to be aware of before trekking down this path.
There needs to be a connection between the celebrity endorsement and the goods or service that you are promoting. A Circulation Booster endorsement from any Kardashian will never be as effective as one from, maybe a retired sporting statesman or woman, such as Dawn Fraser or Alan Border. Your target market needs to identify with the celebrity that you want to use; my mum would not know who any of the Kardashian’s are (and would not care), but did know who Dawn Fraser is.
Consumers generally know that an endorsement from a person that is unlikely to use a product is just a financial transaction between the promotor and the endorsee. A VB beer endorsement from David Boon is more believable than one from Michael Klim.
But authenticity goes beyond a believable link between endorsee and product. Eva Longoria endorsed Dine cat food. That’s believable, until news comes out that she does not own a cat. Now the message has been stripped of all credibility because of it’s a reckless use of the truth.
For messages to be believable, there needs to be a tangible link between the endorsee and the product. Rival milk promotions a while back used wholesome ex-Olympic athletes (Keirin Perkins and Michael Klim). Both fitted the product image. The stroke of genius (IMO) of using Michael Klim to counter the initial Perkins endorsement was the advertisement tag line where he states that his name has always been on the side of the milk carton.
Loss of Reputation
Whilst the celebrity endorsement may, at the time, identify a synergy between celebrity and product, there is a risk that the association might remain after something goes wrong; A celebrity falling from grace (Rolf Harris, Tiger Woods, etc) could damage the product reputation by association, although there is always lingering hope that endorsee reputation is re-established – think Mel Gibson.
Gain of Reputation
The flipside is, of course, that the endorsee is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons and actually gains notoriety (Shane Warne). The risk for the promoter is that this additional advertising may not align with the product image that they are promoting.
Celebrity endorsements can and do work. If considering using a celebrity to endorse your product that you need to be aware that there can be a downside. There will be some things that you can control and there will be many more things that you cannot. Certainly, there will need to be a bit of crystal ball gazing on your part that needs to happen. At the very least think of all the variables that could come into play and put them in your risk matrix. This way you will at least have made some effort into identifying the issues which will then enable you to make a reasonably informed decision whether to go ahead or not.