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Red Carpet Branding
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There comes a point in time when many brands decide they need a voice, a face, a “something” to stand for the brand. There are companies that choose a mascot (for lack of a better word) while many others turn to Hollywood, the red carpet, and celebrity standing. This was a much more common practice even 20 years ago; now, the celebrity endorsements play runner-up to things like a cool YouTube video. So are celebrities pulling out of building brands or are companies finding alternative, more cost-effective ways to create brand success?

Celebrity endorsement doesn’t guarantee brand success. The brand itself must be able to fulfill a customer need and deliver on a specific promise. All the celebrities in the world can’t build a more successful brand if the core company is not built on a solid foundation. Whether it’s a product or service customers are looking for a need to be fulfilled, and now more than ever they will speak out if this isn’t the case. A brand must have a strong company and already strong brand in order to partner with a celebrity to ask for continued brand growth and success.

A lot of this success relies heavily on the relationship that’s been agreed to by both parties. If a celebrity is asking for all rights, high costs, and little value, the assumption is that brand growth and true engagement of the brand is not high on the list of priorities. More so the celebrity must “fit” with the current brand. Customers want the celebrity partnership to be believable so there is little work on their part to see the benefit of the brand. Weight Watchers' partnership with Jennifer Hudson is one that makes sense and allows customers to see the benefit of the brand within the celebrity’s real life and that is believable.

And then there is the question of cost and commitment. With an ever-dwindling marketing budget is the risk of paying a high celebrity fee worth the unknowns that may come down the road? At one time, Tiger Woods seemed like the sought-after celebrity partnership, and then — well, the rest is history. Companies must understand that when in partnership with a celebrity they are connected to the good and the bad of that celebrity, whether they agree to this or not. And at the end of the day this must also be weighed against the cost of the partnership along with the benefit to the brand.

With an increasing amount of brand strategy tactics, celebrity endorsements are no longer the only way to grow a brand. Customers are smarter, quicker, and require more from a brand than just a known face telling them to “go buy now!” And with the increasing risks of that partnership the YouTube video might just be the better brand builder option. 

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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