Celebrity culture now stands as a significant factor that can influence the development and success of business, especially when considering that companies now make use of celebrities as endorsers of their products and services. Celebrity culture refers to the structure or system that emphasizes the significance of celebrities and draws attention towards celebrities in ways that can significantly influence the behaviors of individuals and groups. In this regard, celebrity culture needs to be considered by business leaders and managers in developing marketing campaigns. It is argued that celebrity culture is a social system that creates celebrities who are individuals who represent certain characteristics that are desirable or of interest in the viewpoint of significant percentages of the population, such that celebrity culture also creates marketing opportunities that allow business organizations to take advantage of such interest in targeted individuals or groups.
In understanding celebrity culture, it is important to understand what celebrity is. A celebrity is an individual who is considerably popular and readily identifiable and recognized in the media and social circles in the population or society under consideration. It is important to note that a person becomes a celebrity because of a variety of factors. For instance, a person can become a celebrity because of family lineage that involves famous individuals. A person can also become a celebrity by way of having a special profession, such as that of the president of a country. An individual can also become a celebrity by way of certain behaviors that are unusual and that attract the media. In other cases, a person can become a celebrity because of exceptional physical attractiveness. In all of these examples of how one becomes a celebrity, the actual process of becoming a celebrity can be planned by individuals and their supporters or managers, or can be accidental as when a person suddenly becomes a celebrity because of discovering something or because of unexpected events in his/her life.
An important consideration about the process of becoming a celebrity is that celebrities can be made. For instance, a company can put in significant resources in order to make a person popular because of exaggerations on certain characteristics of that person. In this regard, even business organizations can make their own celebrities if they have the creativity or resources needed. This means that celebrity culture provides some opportunities for business organizations to make their own celebrities and profit from such celebrities. One good example is Ronald McDonald, who can be considered as a celebrity created by the McDonald’s Corporation. It is understandable that the mascot Ronald McDonald is more popular that he was first introduced in the market. However, over time, through persistent use of the mascot by McDonald’s Corporation, he has gained celebrity status and it now popularly known around the world. In this regard, there is the realistic accessibility of celebrity culture to business organizations, such that business organizations can take advantage of celebrity in order to build their own marketing influence and corporate image.
One important point that is of interest to business leaders and managers about the process of becoming a celebrity is that the celebrity is a person who tends to attract people, who in the business point of view are considered as consumers. The attractiveness of a celebrity makes him/her interesting to business because he/she can be used as a means of attracting consumers towards a specific product or service or towards a company. For instance, athletes who have become sports celebrities can be used by companies in advertising certain products. For example, Nike uses celebrity athletes as endorsers of Nike footwear. Also, singers can be used as celebrity endorsers of products, such as in the case of Pepsi and its celebrity-studded advertisements.
The attractiveness of a celebrity to consumers is also important in terms of the degree of such attractiveness. For instance, there are celebrities who tend to be more popular and more attractive than others. This means that there are celebrities who could attract more consumers than other celebrities. In this regard, the task for managers, especially marketing managers, is to determine the degree of popularity of the celebrity and how well that can be linked to the need of the company or business to attract consumers. It is important to note that the popularity of a celebrity also comes with a price, such that more attractive celebrities tend to fetch higher prices than less attractive celebrities. For example, A-list actresses can require higher prices than new or young actors who have just started their career in Hollywood. As a result, there is the direct and positive correlation between celebrity attractiveness and cost of endorsement by celebrity. This means that business organizations that want to take advantage of celebrity culture need to consider how their capacity to pay for the asking prices of celebrity endorsers and their need to have celebrity endorsement. Companies with limited budgets for advertising may opt for moderately popular celebrities than A-list celebrities. Thus, the actual use of celebrity endorsement depends on how well the celebrity’s asking price fits the budget or capacity of the business organization to pay.
Another important consideration about celebrity culture is that is if influenced by the behaviors of consumers, especially when considering that it is, after all, a kind of culture or cultural system. The popularity of a celebrity can actually depend on how well the celebrity matches the desires, preferences, expectations, hopes, etc. of the people. The individuals who tend to embody intense or exaggerated manifestations of these desires, preferences, expectations, hopes, etc. tend to be the ones who become popular and become celebrities. This means that one way of analyzing the use of celebrity culture in business is to determine how aligned a celebrity to the preferences of the target consumers, noting that different target markets can have different expectations and preferences in celebrities. Thus, business organizations and, particularly, marketing managers, need to be able to determine the alignment between the celebrity of interest and the celebrity culture that most significantly and positively influences the buying behaviors of the target consumers.
Impact of Celebrity Endorsement
Nowadays many companies all over the word are used to hire endorsements in order to promote their brands. In 1997, a research revealed that 25 % of the world’s advertising companies employed celebrities to endorse their brands. According to Kamins et al., celebrity can make the advertising more realistic when they lend their personality to a product. However, according to Tripp et al., assessment of the spokesman’s (celebrity) credibility is very important for an advertising company to achieve its goals.
Endorsement can influence the consumers’ attitude towards a brand in either way. For this reason, several studies have been carried out in order to examine the effect of the celebrity marketing. Gardner and Shuman's demonstrated that more than 50% of the consumers’ purchases are influenced by sponsorship. Different buyer behaviours are related to the age of the respondents and the level of education. Other studies revealed that the effectiveness of celebrity endorsers can offer companies positive effects in terms of sales and profit. They recommended that a consumer is more probable to assume another person or group behavior if he/she identifies with the person. Friedman and Friedman, inculcating the identification process, hypothesized that celebrities would be more efficient in sanctioning products that exhibits the presence or lack of good taste. Research has further revealed that multiple celebrity endorsement of a product yields better results.
In the recent past, media has shown a lot of interest in the private life of celebrities. A survey revealed that the media’s interest in these personalities hardly take into consideration the effect of is reported about the given celebrity.The reporters always endeavour to write eye catching articles that will fetch them more, the number of copies sold are important here. So many celebrities have left their careers in the hands of these hungry journalists who are willing to do anything as long as it takes them close to celebrities’ private life. Advertising companies using celebrity endorsement as a marketing strategy finds it hard to achieve their target once their spokesman is given any negative media coverage. This research paper explores a number of articles drawn from different business journals in order to establish the actual cost of celebrity endorsement on the sales volume of a brand.
Benefits of celebrity endorsement of a brand
At the outset, credibility Establishment; since celebrities are commonly respected in the society, and so are their opinions. In this regard, their voice has the ability of swinging the consumers’ attitude towards the product they stand for. They are capable of winning the consumers’ trust and loyalty for a product and hence significantly increase its sales volume. In order to achieve this particular, an advertising firm should consider a number of factors before settling on a particular celebrated figure. Personal attributes of a celebrity play a critical role in giving credibility to a brand. For, instance, an eloquent and attractive celebrity is found to be more appealing to consumers, hence gives more credibility to a product.
Secondly, high measures of recall as the consumers tend to commensurate the personality of a celebrity with that of a brand he/she advertises. This way, the celebrity’s fame and character increases sales of that brand. People generally tend to show greater interest and value to what their celebrities do in life. A person watching television will pay more attention upon the mere mention of his/ her celebrity’s name. This attention will enable the person to know more about the product being advertised and since the celebrity is seen to be using it, the person will be motivated to follow suit and also go for it.
In conclusion, associative benefit, indeed people regard always their favourite celebrities as special men and women, whichever products they use therefore appeals to them. When a celebrity is discovered using a given product, his/her followers also join the party. It is therefore a requirement that advertising companies using celebrity endorsement establish the level of popularity enjoyed by their prospective spokesman. A well known and more regarded celebrity figure in the society will increase the sales volume of a given product.
Examples of good celebrities
It is not quite easy to pin point specific individuals as being good celebrities. Majority of celebrities have their days of glory, they enjoy fame during that period and all over a sudden, their image is destroyed by a very small blunder. There are a few celebrities who have kept their image; David Becham, is an example. Becham as a celebrity has endorsed brands for very companies. Examples include; Adidas, Vodafone, Pepsi, Mark and Spencers and so many other companies. The secret here lies in the ability for the celebrity to stay on the right path of the media. To achieve this, good celebrities always offer professional help on how to conduct themselves both in the public and in private.
The approach to celebrity has a few serious risks:
Celebrities reputation may derogate after he/she has approved the product: Pepsi endured with three flecked celebrities: Madonna, Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson. Since brand reflection depends on the celebrities behavior, endorsers of celebrity may at times become brands liabilities to what they endorse. It is therefore very important for advertising firms to carry out reviews on their celebrities of choice from time to time in order to protect the brands from plunging into the same holes when a celebrity goes down.
The vampire effect. In choosing a celebrity to endorse to a product, congruency between the product and the celebrity should be critically analyzed. A celebrity endorsing a product that he/she does not have any congruence with sends a wrong message to the consumers. They perceive that the celebrity does not use that product and therefore it is being imposed on them.
Inconsistency in the professional popularity of the celebrity. Lapse in popularity of a celebrity due to lapse in professional performance may adversely affect the product endorsed by the celebrity. Professional consistency of celebrities should always be considered before they are left to endorse a product.
The trouble with celebrity endorsement
Celebrity may be expensive and risky, and they don't always provide benefit to a company, in fact they can worsen the image of a firm. Tiger Woods, one of the most famous golf players, is a product-endorsement gold mine for many big corporations such as NIKE, AT&T, Gatorade sports drink, and Gillette razors, American Express, LVMH and Accenture. Since he has a good reputation all over the world, he has been paid millions of dollars for the adverts. Wood's image is strictly related to the one of the company he works for, for this reason his private life may have negative effect on advertising and has consequences on the company's consumers’ attitudes. Before Wood makes a mistake, he must always realize that his image is at stake. The Wood's series of scandals started on November 27, 2009, when Woods was reported to have lost control of his SUV in Florida. He told the media that he was under the influence of prescription drugs, and that he may have been involved in an altercation with his wife at the time of the crash that led to his face being scratched. From this story a string of sex scandals came up and the same golfer publicly confessed unfaithfulness by cheating on his wife. The scandals prompted Procter & Gamble's Gillette to end its cooperation agreement with Woods, the same decisions were later taken by other companies such as AT&T, Accenture and Gatorade and other companies.
Celebrities, especially those serving as spokesmen/women for companies are urged to pay special attention to their image and reputation. Whenever they taint their images, the brands they represent suffer enormous cuts in total sales. This translates to losses for the corresponding companies.
In conclusion, celebrity culture is now an important factor that affects the behavior of individuals and groups. The status of a celebrity depends on certain factors, such as attractiveness as well as the alignment of the characteristics of the celebrity to the celebrity culture of the population under consideration. This means that there needs to be analysis of the celebrity culture of the target market as well as the characteristics of the available celebrities who can be used as a company’s endorser of its products and services. The aim is to ensure that there is an effective alignment between the celebrity culture of the target market and the characteristics of the celebrity in question. Therefore, celebrity culture is a social system that creates celebrities who are individuals who represent certain characteristics that are desirable or of interest in the viewpoint of significant percentages of the population, such that celebrity culture also creates marketing opportunities that allow business organizations to take advantage of such interest in targeted individuals or groups.