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What Do Europeans Know About Branding?
By: Cindy Wendland
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It’s still humorous to think about a conversation we had with a small business owner from Europe. We were talking about expansion plans for our respective products. While we were trying to raise brand awareness in merely our city, this person was building sales in several countries simultaneously. Perhaps it is because our country is so large that going outside of it seems more involved. Perhaps we are just different from Europeans who are accustomed to traversing country borders. Whatever the reason, we could learn from their ways.

European branding is different than American branding. We worry about the various demographics in our country before we consider worldly demographics and how our brand will be impacted. American branding also tends to be a little slower in some trends that have taken hold in Europe. One trend is the use of celebrity spokespeople in commercials. While celebrity spokespeople are not new, using them more frequently in well-publicized commercials is gaining traction in the U.S., and is commonplace in Europe. For example, George Clooney has been working with Nespresso for nine years. He just started promoting it in the U.S. this year. We are also seeing Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon appear for perfume and on the cover of fashion magazines when previously only highly-paid models filled those roles.

American brand managers may need to evaluate more than just the impact of celebrity spokespeople on their brand. They may also need to make sure those spokespeople are not appearing with multiple brands at the same time. Serena Williams appeared for both Beats by Dre and Gatorade in the same week this year. That causes confusion and less retention for both brands.

Some studies also suggest that celebrity spokespeople do little to sway a person to buy the product. Instead they found people buy the product because they want it, not because a celebrity spokesperson talks about it. In reality, the celebrity commercial probably raised their consciousness of the product and did have some impact on the product purchase. It just may not be the causal factor behind the purchase. So, then, is the return on investment valid for a celebrity spokesperson? Europe seems to think it is, and they are the home of so many luxury brands. Celebrity spokespeople seem here to stay. Two important things to pair with it are a quality product and a spokesperson who stays true to your brand.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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