Celebrity Endorsements and IT: A Tech Marketer’s Guide
To say that celebrity endorsements are not endorsed by tech companies would be a lie. Whether you are a small web designing company or a large IT outsourcing agency, celebrity endorsements must have crossed your mind at some point in your career.
Should you consider celebrity endorsements or not?
Celebrity endorsements per se are neither awesome nor awful but it depends on how you use it, just like every other lead generation tool. For one, people usually like their celebrities and tend to favor products and services that are used/recommended by those they admire. On the other hand, celebrities do not remain famous and influential always. Those who remain influential for decades tend to be extremely expensive for you to afford unless you are a medium to large sized company.
If you are a small and aspirational company, how should you tackle the question of celebrity endorsements? The answer to this question is rather simple. However, we will break this down into several parts in this article and discuss each in detail with relevant points. In short, you might want to think about celebrity endorsements, if you have spare cash to spend. Otherwise, it might not be a very good idea. Initially, let us take a look at the benefits of celebrity endorsements.
Build brand equity
People tend to choose brands and companies that are better known than those that are less well-known. In order to build brand equity, you could hire a celebrity who will endorse your products. People tend to relate your product to the celebrity they admire and end up buying your products or services. It is a tried and tested method that ultimately pays off not only in increasing sales, but also building brand equity itself.
Make your ads memorable
Advertisements cost a lot of money. Even the most affluent IT company would not want to spend more than it can. When money is spent on ads, it needs to be well spent. Ads need to be memorable and capable of creating successful marketing campaigns. Hiring a celebrity makes ads memorable. People tend to remember advertisements with celebrities better than those without celebrities. Ad recall is significantly increased when a celebrity is present in the advertisement.
Product or service helps achieve superstar status
When a celebrity endorses a product, his admirers usually believe that the products and services that are endorsed by him would make them closer to his lifestyle, almost living a superstar lifestyle themselves. Thus, celebrity endorsements can create an illusion of superstar status, which again leads to increased sales and brand equity. We remember Nike more than other sports brands because it uses popular athletes in its ad campaigns. If it didn’t use those celebrities, it wouldn’t be so memorable.
Makes your brand stand out
There is a lot of clutter in the tech industry today. With so many software and hardware companies popping up, it is difficult to stand out, especially, if you are another tech start up. The best way to stand out from the rest of the start-ups is to hire a celebrity who will make your advertisement memorable. Celebrity endorsements can also make you more attractive to people than your competitors.
Celebrity endorsements are really all about glamour and glitz. People generally like to see glamorous people plastered across media. This is not only those who are consuming your products and services but also those who are vaguely interested in what you offer. By hiring celebrities, you will be able to add glamour to IT operations and tech services & products, which are usually not very glamorous unless it is an iPhone.
While celebrity endorsements are great, they also have unintended consequences that do not bode well for companies. Here are some of the most common disadvantages of celebrity endorsements.
Celebrities do not remain popular always. There are many celebrities who not only go out of spotlight (and thereby, making your endorsement deal irrelevant) but they also commit blunders. You, as a company who let them endorse your product, will naturally become associated with those blunders and end up looking like the bad guys if you do not cut off the deal. For instance, a celebrity who endorses your latest social networking app might go ahead and rant against gay marriage or say something homophobic. That can affect your brand image almost immediately and you do not want to be associated with a celebrity like that.
Overexposure of celebrities
Celebrities, usually, sign a lot of deals with a number of companies. When they do so, they end up getting overexposed and their credibility goes down. People get to know that this particular celebrity is running behind ad money and will normally just ignore the advertisements and campaigns. After having spent lots of money, you will end up being the loser in the game, when celebrities become exposed in such a manner. People normally do not respect celebrities who seem like they could do anything for money.
Celebrities can overshadow your product
This is usually the case, if you choose a very popular celebrity. People will remember the celebrity more than your product and that defeats the purpose. The celebrity might end up with more gigs and offers & you, after having spent money, will gain nothing in the process.
Choosing the wrong celebrity
All celebrities are not made equal. You might end up choosing the wrong celebrity if you do not study their attitude, behavior and then match it to your own product’s brand image. Firstly, you will need to understand that each celebrity has certain quirks and characteristic features that might or might not tally with your brand image. If it tallies, the celebrity might sooner or later change their own image which might not be relevant to your products and services.
Now that we have seen what the advantages and disadvantages are, let us assume you chose to go with celebrity endorsements to generate leads. What kind of celebrities need to be chosen and how must you go about it? Let us take a look at certain aspects.
Celebrities are expensive
Most celebrities are used to the big money. Money from the entertainment industry is, usually, bigger than the money that the tech industry might spend. Thus, they might expect a lot more money than you probably can afford. One of the solutions is to choose the right celebrity. It is not necessary to choose someone from the entertainment or sports industry. A celebrity who is a writer or a social activist will probably charge you a lot less than a popular athlete and will also make you look more respectable and serious as a company.
Choose local celebrities
Celebrities need to be always relatable to the target audience. If your ad campaign targets people in Boston, choose someone who has been working earnestly for the betterment of the homeless in Boston. Not only would you be giving attention to a good cause, you will also be looked up to as a company. Local celebrities tend to be immensely popular within a certain geographical entity. People tend to look up to these local celebrities with awe and that admiration will fall back on you as reflected glory. This is one of the reasons why celebrities need to be small and local, rather than expensive & big.
Consider the returns
One of the most important aspects of celebrity endorsement is “what is in it for you”. Make sure that you weigh the pros and cons of choosing a particular celebrity & engaging them in a campaign. Once you weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of their particular quirks, habits & probably risks, choose the right individual for your tech campaign. Nothing is worse than having to be associated with the wrong kind of celebrity. Quantify and calculate the returns in a measurable manner so that you know what you are going to get & what you must realistically expect.
At the end of the day, celebrities are people too and they are not infallible. However, your products and services need to be infallible & you need not choose anyone or anything that could bring down the image of your company. Once you decide to choose a celebrity and the campaign goes live, if something goes wrong, do not hesitate to close the campaign & hire a different celebrity. Be on the lookout for anything that might go wrong and plan for the future.
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