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Do celebrity endorsements hurt or help your business?

10 March 2010 5 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

k0375781People often wonder if a celebrity endorsement can hurt or help your business.   Here are 25 tips to help you see the good the bad and the ugly and make the best choice for your own brand.  You decide if you want to roll out the red carpet or not!

1.  Is bad press good press?

Well, as they say, even bad press is good but I don’t always agree with that.  Just look at Tiger Woods. Sure, there will be lots of people who will still buy the products he endorses but there must be some concern that bad press of a celebrity could hurt the product, otherwise big companies wouldn’t have cancelled their contracts with him.  If I get to a point where a celebrity wants to endorse Pencil Bugs, I definitely want to make sure it’s someone positive.

Thanks to: Jason O’Neill   www.pencilbugs.com

2. Celebs = Sales

There is no question that a celebrity endorsement can help your product line.  After my product, The GoPillow!  was featured on the Montel Williams Show orders poured in from all over the United States AND it opened up the Canadian market for us.  Also, I was able to get coverage for my product with several local media outlets much easier. Bloggers and magazine editors paid my GoPillow! much more attention once Sherri Shepherd (co-host of The View) bought one.

Thanks to: Tangela Walker-Craft    http://www.simplynecessary.com

3. The Trifecta!

Celebrity endorsements help if 3 things are present:

1. The celebrity is liked by the audience you are marketing to (I.e – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for buildable toy cars)

2. The celebrity is generally known and admired (like Ty Pennington)

3. The product they are endorsing makes sense for them to be affiliated with (like Michael Jordan and Gatorade). 

Without all of the above, it just looks phony, and hurts you.

Thanks to: Michael Araten

www.knex.com

4.  Can Oprah open doors?

I believe that the right celebrity would help my product immensely.
Like many others, I’ve been trying to get my product on Oprah for years. The reason I’ve been so persistent with that quest is because she obviously has the reach that at times seems limitless.   A celebrity endorsement of her caliber shortens the time from inception to reality.

Thanks to: Marianne Douglas   www.StrategiesforSuccessCurriculum.com

5. Celebs can increase consumer awareness

Generally, I believe celebrity endorsements can help a product line, depending on the celebrity and his/her credibility. Celebrities can significantly increase consumer awareness, not to mention the positive press and “as seen on” slants that can now be associated with the product! There’s a belief that if we buy what a celebrity buys, then we too can be just like them and have a piece of that “better” life. For others, it may represent a dreamy reminder of the “better” life ’round the corner.

Thanks to: Sunni Patterson   www.exotic-elegance-handbags.com

6. Credibility is elevated

I help manage a small radio station, and we have received endorsements from a number of celebrities. I feel it has helped us increase our credibility and gain more listeners. Our celebrity endorsements have come in the form of station IDs we have used on our station.

Thanks to: Deborah W Halasz 

http://www.nkairplay.com

7. Perceived value

Having a celebrity endorse your product can help and hinder. The main effect it has though is taking a certain control about how your product is perceived out of your hands. For example Tiger Woods, it is all great until we realize he is only human after all and suddenly got to get out quick.

Thanks to: Marc Lawn
 www.thebusinessgp.com

8. Celebs are free advertising!

I think if your product and the celebrity endorsing it make sense and fit your target audience, it can only help. They can also be the best ‘Free’ Advertising for small businesses. People want to buy what a celebrity has or likes. Celebrity moms and Celebrity Gift Guide Endorsements are most helpful for my product and promotion and have resulted in referrals and direct repeat orders.

Thanks to: Katie O’Neill 
www.ktsteppers.com

9. Reputable can be better than famous

Having a celebrity endorsement (a TV gardener in my case) helped me to leverage initial funding, attracted attention, and opened conversations. Whether it is likely to help or harm depends on how well you calculate who to ask for an endorsement. If the person is completely appropriate to the brand or product and is of reliable character then it is likely to do you good. A celebrity endorsement at all costs carries the risk of “Why on earth would I care what they think of this product?” or worse still, if scandal follows them while your product is still on the shelves, of “They’re the LAST person I would buy something from!” A non-famous person with a reputable but related job title (a senior person in a related association or charity) is a better endorsement than a famous but totally unrelated TV hound.

Thanks to: Joanne Roach www.thefoodies.org

10. Find a good match

The Right celebrity endorsing your product can help you, absolute. If you hire Mariel Hemingway to endorse your Yoga or Health product that’s a pretty good match, baby boomers know who she is and trust her so most likely it would help you. If you hired Kim Kardashian for the same product it’s most likely a complete miss, and that wouldn’t help very much.

Thanks to: Bert Martinez
www.bertmartinez.com

11. Are we celeb obsessed?

It really depends on the product. Generally, I believe, we are too celebrity obsessed. I worked with many –so I feel qualified to make this assessment. I wrote 2 books on personal style for real people showing real people as examples. I believe that celebrities are held up to emulate and it doesn’t help the public at all –in fact it often leads the public in the wrong direction. Style is a perfect example.

Thanks to: Sherrie Mathieson www.sherriemathieson.com

12.  Be clear on your message

Celebrities are usually badly matched based on price and availability and these days unless the celebrity is someone who is not being used by others (doubtful) or a completely tied-in product (for instance, why is John McEnroe selling car rentals??), it misses the point and usually means some marketer is just getting it off a list. That is why creative ads that use real people – hello, actors — usually work better than dropping Regis into the mix because you could “get” him. Particularly now, as most media users really don’t want hype; they’re looking for message.

Thanks to: Richard Laermer  RLMpr.com

13. Celebs are a cheap way out

I feel that celebrity endorsements are a cheap way out and a potential nightmare in the making. Especially using athletes – who seem to represent a wild card investment. From Avis and OJ through Tiger – there are a myriad of examples of celebs who have gone off the tracks of “positive role model” and dragged their client brands down with them. In the long run none of these companies really suffer – except for the squandered time and brand equity that’s been wasted – but the overall practice is a cop out way of marketing. I think it says “we couldn’t come up with anything new – so lets spend the clients money and hire a celebrity.” Do you think Omega sells more watches because it was the first brand worn on the moon or because Sharipova is paid to clutch a ball while wearing a watch in magazine ads?

Thanks to: Steve Lundin 
www.blogfrontier.org

14.  Ask for who you want

If you want to get noticed by a celebrity, pick someone that you think is truly a match for your topic, as you’ll have a much greater chance of them noticing your product. When I was searching for celebrity endorsements, I picked a handful of people that I believed would really resonate with what I was writing/teaching. Don’t just pick a celebrity for the sake of celebrity. Think about it greatly, and then don’t be afraid to ask, ask ask!

Thanks to: Sally Shields www.theDILRules.com

15. Does their brand align with yours?

When determining if a celebrity endorsement can help or hurt your product line, it all comes down to brand values.  In other words, do the celebrity’s values behind their brand align with your product brand values.  What does the celebrity stand for besides just bringing more eyeballs to your product?  If they’re eyeballs that will bring along a positive, beneficial association to your product based on the celebrity’s brand then it’s worth exploring the endorsement.  It’s also important to compare the celebrity’s core fan base with your target customers.  Is it a fit?  Will the endorsement expand your base or will it be shooting arrows into empty air?

Thanks to: Cindy Yantis   www.cindyyantis.com

16. Create a human connection

In todays world of Facebook, Twitter and texting, people long for a human connection. Celebrity endorsements allow marketers to subconsciously connect the positive feelings consumers have for the celebrity to the product being endorsed. Successful entrepreneurs know they need to sell connections and experiences, and celebrity endorsements allow them to do that.”

Thanks to: Jordan McAuley
 
www.ContactAnyCelebrity.com

17. Protect your brand

It depends on the brand or company, but celebrities can build visibility very quickly, create differentiation, and even drive sales. Brand fit and relevance are important factors when assessing a potential endorsement by a celebrity. A few things to bear in mind: – Look for credibility – on the part of the individual, but also the link between s/he and the product or brand. Consumers and media are cynical, so you want an authentic tie between the product and the celebrity. Make it relevant. – Steer clear of overexposed personalities; they’re often not worth it. – Protect your brand with a tight morals clause, exit strategy, and other contractual requirements in case of negative publicity or reputation harm. Have a crisis plan, just in case. – Don’t put all your brand equity in one personality. Think in terms of product endorsements (Fergie loves our lipstick) rather than a brand ambassador (“Be a Tiger”) – Go beyond background checks. Make sure the endorser treats media, staff, sponsors, and fans with respect. – Look for a celebrity who need you as much as you need them. – Consider an expert spokesperson like an author or professional in your area (e.g., financial expert, physician for health product, etc.), instead of a true celebrity. They are less expensive and may be more credible, particularly for an entrepreneurial company. – Consider a part-cash, part-equity deal. It builds credibility and helps ensure good behavior.

Thanks to: Dorothy Crenshaw www.crenshawcomm.com

18. Who loves your celeb?

Choosing the right celebrity, based on the public’s perception of the celeb, (and how it ties to your product) can be very beneficial. Of course, whenever you’re dealing with people, there always is a risk that your chosen celebrity could do something stupid.

Thanks to: Jhan R. Dolphin www.jrobertconsulting.com

19.  Familiar faces help

Celebrity endorsements lend credibility to a product. Even if the celebrity
isn’t an A-lister, familiar faces make people more comfortable buying
something.

Thanks to: Amy Maurer  www.smartmomjewelry.com

20. Image counts

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, it really depends on the product and the celebrity to determine if it will be a good fit. If the celebrity doesn’t have the best image when it comes to social issues, then you would probably not want to get them involved in events and causes where they could actually taint the work or product that is being promoted. If your product is alcohol, certain food or certain types of locations/getaways, I think that does give you more cover for the people who might do well to provide an endorsement.

I think at the end of the day it is about what will benefit the brand, not distract from it. If you feel the celebrity will get more attention than the product, than it could possibly be the wrong choice.

Thanks to: Cyrus A. Webb  www.cyruswebb.com

21.  Raise your visibility

It can raise visibility and lead to media and marketing opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

Thanks to: Melissa Bradshaw www.weelittlearts.com

22.  Authenticity counts

My opinion is that it’s a 50/50 gamble.  Consumers are pretty savvy these days and know when a celebrity is authentic or not in endorsing product.

Thanks to: Kathy Peterson www.KathyPeterson.com

23.  Find the common denominator

By having media endorsements I’ve found it’s easier to get noticed in the media and to receive even more publicity. My tip for getting celebrity endorsements is to find a common denominator. Is your product the right fit for the celebrity to endorse? Know their show, what they stand for, and their favorite charities. Be prepared to give away your product to their studio audience or favorite charity.

Thanks to: Jean Newell www.newcomarketing.com

24.  Quality counts

I definitely feel celebrity endorsements work and give credibility to a product or service to boost initial sales.  But I also feel the product or service has to be able to hold its own weight and make a long-lasting impact.  Quality is how I think the two come together in the first place.  Having celebrity representation though, should not be the only thing written in the marketing plans to reach desired levels of success.

Thanks to: Asahah
Kirkland

 www.beatingblackkids.com

25.  Choose wisely

Celebrity endorsements can have positive and not so positive results (duh). For small companies, you might want to look for positive people and sources to work with when promoting your products and services that benefit consumers. An endorsement from a celebrity that is looked upon as a good person, someone that consumers trust and want to emulate, is a great thing for retailers.

We also know that some endorsements, whether through celebrity or through major media, can bring a huge traffic spike right after they happen. So accuracy in the endorsement to what consumers are going to experience is very key. If an endorsement is misleading or just not accurate, the visitor may have a negative experience even though the intention was to do good.

Thanks to: Brent Shelton  www.FatWallet.com

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5 Comments »

  • What People Are Saying About What Celeb Do I Look Like | Tech News said:

    [...] Do celebrity endorsements hurt or help your business? – The …Look for a celebrity who need you as much as you need them. – Consider an expert spokesperson like an author or professional in your area (e.g., financial expert, physician for health product, etc.), instead of a true celebrity. … Read more [...]

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    [...] Do celebrity endorsements hurt or help your business? – The Entreprenette Gazette [...]

  • Jim Miars said:

    Is there any formula for calculating the WORTH of a local celeb? I want to place a former newslady in the role of television spokesperson for a car dealership….I have NO IDEA what she should be paid!

  • grace wieber said:

    You’ve given plenty of food for thought on this topic. It has also seemed as if it would be a ‘no brainer’, yet one really does need to look before leaping into a celebrity endorsement. This was a paradigm shift for me. Thank you for this article.

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    [...] Do celebrity endorsements hurt or help your business? – The … [...]

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