Hiring a renowned face to gain an instant recognition, visibility, building significant brand credibility or for that matter driving sales has been a reputable success mantra over the years. Engaging a reputed face for brand promotion is an expensive affair. Research suggests that roughly 10 percent of the total communication budgets are spend on celebrity endorsers. A clear indication that using celebrities facilitates recall of the message as well as the brand name which the celebrity is endorsing. The concept of attribute rub –off works here. It is indeed a very smart move for giving the brand the much needed recall in a cluttered scenario.
A celebrity can influence a purchase decision and even bring the brand into a consumers consideration set. But the million dollar question here is how many of us have at any given point in time have actually purchased a product because a favourite celebrity vouched for it? At least I have never done so.
The Logic is simple. There is complete confidence about the fact that none of these celebrities may be actually consuming the product which they are so vehemently pushing. That they are paid handsomely for generating brand goodwill is an open secret and the most important reason is the need and relevance are superior than the celebrity.
It should not be an exaggeration if one remarks that conventional communication platforms have endowed celebrities in our country with a God like eminence especially Bollywood stars and cricketers. By virtue of this status there has always been a great deal of curiosity around a celebrity and thus an exclusivity factor. This is the reason why a single celebrity can be seen endorsing multiple brands and charging a bomb as fees.
The exponential growth of digital channels has lent a different facet to celebrity endorsement. These Through the line (TTL) platforms have not only driven brands to create a desired recall without the burden of unreasonable spends, but have also strengthened & empowered celebrity engagement like never before by throwing a versatile array of options for individual branding and visibility. Some celebrities leverage the social media to pitch their new initiatives like movies, happenings in their personal lives and also built an online identity. Celebrities in the current scenario are highly exposed and easily accessible on social media to an extremely savvy and connected audience. They can be easily tracked. We follow them on Face Book, on twitter on Instagram at the touch of a button. This means celebrities need to be extra cautious about what they say and do on this platform. The moment they fall short or are controversial (Amir Khan -Snap deal or Salman Khan Thums up) they are dumped by brands and trolled by netizens.
Precisely we have inched closer to them and know almost everything about their lives, up close and personal. Hence the novelty curiosity and exclusivity quotient has kind of waned.
Social media has transformed the way we connect with our network of people, it has given each one of us the opportunity to openly express and register our POV and tell the entire universe about what we think, feel inhale and exhale. It has also empowered our buying decisions. This has certainly put up a debatable mark on the fate of celebrity endorsement, giving way to an all new set of Influencers who are like you and me and who are now consolidating their presence on various online platforms boosting brands and influencing decisions in a big way.
–Dr. Tripti Dhote