Celebrity Endorsement Models - Building Partnerships with Influencers and Digital Promotions

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Jan 28, 2022 14 min read
Celebrity Endorsement Models - Building Partnerships with Influencers and Digital Promotions

The world is growing fast, and the catalyst can be easily seen. The catalyst is obviously technology and the hyper-connectedness it brings. The fact that it is easily seen and noticed is absolutely true because it is everyone’s favourite’s place to be.

It would not be wrong to say that we now live ‘online’ most of the time. Whether it is a bad thing or a wonderful thing, that is a topic for another day, but one thing is sure most people love social media. Spending hours and hours scrolling their feed.

When screen times are rising, the demand for online content rises. This clearly tells the reason why this is the best time to be a content creator. When everyone is looking at their personal screens, it affects the marketing world. As marketing is quite an act of catching eyeballs.

Marketers are joining hands with celebrities all over the internet and the world to spread the word about their products. It is efficient and has a wide reach. In this article, we will dive deep into celebrity endorsements and the like. We will talk about various models on which the industry of endorsements stands. Let us see this domain a little closer.

What is an Endorsement?
Essential Aspects of an Endorsement by a Celebrity
Models of Celebrity Brand Endorsements
How to Create a Successful Partnership with Celebrity?
FAQ

What is an Endorsement?

The vocabulary ‘endorsement’ would be a new word for many but believe us, you know the meaning more than us. The word is associated with a channel of brand communication. Mostly it is a work of an artist or a famous person.

A celebrity comes up on stage and certifies the claims that the company makes about their product. It is like advertisements but a little indirect. The celebrity here extends his personality popularity or status in society to the brand’s promises. This helps the brand to generate some revenue by the use of celebrity’s fame and yes, of course, the celebrity gets paid.

This method is common everywhere and can be seen almost in every domain of products. In this world, which mostly lives online, brand endorsements may even include internet-famous people. That is the reason why you see your favourite influencer appreciating some specific product. He/she acts as a spokesperson for the brand behalf and entailing its benefits, claims or certifies the claim that the brand makes.

In any market that entails a very high proliferation of regional and international brands, a celebrity endorsement can add a distinct differentiation to the product. Over the years, brands have tried to change their methods of marketing their products due to the change in consumer demands and technology advancements.

Top world’s brands like Nike have done this to get customers on board. In fact, that was probably the best endorsement collaboration that the world has seen. To pull out a successful endorsement campaign there are a lot of checkpoints to be checked.

Essential Aspects of an Endorsement by a Celebrity

If you look at some brand endorsement by a celebrity, you most probably will think about the fact that the celebrity is the epicentre. That the celebrity is the main focus of the campaign and mostly the reason for successful endorsements. That is not true.

In fact, brand endorsements are just a part of a bigger process. That bigger process is nothing but the infamous “Branding”. Celebrity endorsements are a cog in the wheel of the big machine called Branding.

Nike’s association was not just about Tiger Woods but more than that. The sportswear brand has managed to establish its image as a strong brand in everyone’s eyes (Perception).

Nike Tiger Woods Endorsement
Nike Tiger Woods Endorsement

This is the result of a constant and deliberate process of practising constantly. However, celebrity endorsements are just a part of the process doesn’t mean it is a small part. It plays a big important part in branding.

There are several benchmarks/checkpoints that need to be looked at before organising endorsements. Here we list them, before any brand signs on a celebrity, they should consider three main aspects.

Pleasing Index of the Celebrity

It is a valid question to ask about the phrase ‘pleasing index’. It is the index/scale on which the celebrity is pleasing to the general audience and the targeted audience. It is important that the celebrity is somewhat attractive to the audience. Pleasing/attractiveness here doesn’t mean the look, it is more of intellectual capabilities, athletic and physical appearance and lifestyle.

This point states that a positive attraction index will impact the audience in a positive manner and eventually push the whole endorsement to the positive side. The endorser has to appear attractive to the audience and should meet the basic criteria that the brand strives to fulfil. That is the reason why most of Nike’s brand endorsements are with athletes. The compatibility enhances and extends the endorsement’s stretch.

The Believability of the Endorser

It is of importance that the celebrity with which the brand is collaborating is credible. The person has to have some sort of social value in the society, often known as ‘trust’.

If the endorser is trustworthy, he/she makes the recipe for a perfect endorsement. Trust here is the public perceived expertise and trustworthiness of the celeb. Thus, the personal credibility of the endorser is crucial for the campaign.

Credibility eventually transforms into another form of social force. This special force can influence the viewers to take some effort and buy products. For example, Nike did something similar due to its endorser’s credibility criteria. When Oscar Pistorius’s credibility began derailing, it ended the endorsement contract with him in 2013. He was then accused of premeditated murder. This severely damaged his trustworthiness or social credibility.

Overall Relationship with the brand

Easy before the endorsement process is even started, there has to be some rapport with the endorser. A brand can't just come out of the blue and create a comfortable relationship with a celebrity.

Only when both the parties communicate enough and have some level of understanding, the campaign goes well. The whole collaboration heavily depends on the compatibility scale of the brand-celebrity relationship.

More than one dynamic of the campaign has to do with the overall relationship with the brand. Terms of identity, positioning and personality in the market affects the efforts and the outcomes in the market. This eventually will result in a fertile land on which further communication and relation build.

These were the three most notable sorts of dynamics that resulted in a successful endorsement. However, there can be more than just these depending on the demands of the brand’s product-market fit. It is specifically hard to find a celeb that particularly fulfils all these demands. It is specifically hard because celebrities are all different in nature and credibility in their own communities.

All brands however should lookout for a long term outlook and brand building rather than a short term solution to revenue. Here we are listing some dos and don'ts that help in maintaining a good brand presence over a long period of time. Let us see what are these touchpoints.


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Consistency and long term thinking

As we discussed previously, celebrity endorsements are just a part of the bigger picture of branding. Branding is just a repetition of great marketing tactics.

In the long term horizon, a company should help and build a long term relationship with the celebrity with whom they are working. This ensures more rapid progress in the process of branding. And it also helps businesses reach greater heights in the long view.

Consistent scanning

Taking forward the point earlier, it is important to think long term. It should not be the case that a brand partner with a celebrity and leaves it there. It has to constantly monitor the behaviour and public image of the endorser.

The reason is that a slight effect on the endorser’s image will affect the product’s image in the eyes of the public. It is one of the most effective ways to damage control if any. Not only that, it works in other directions too. An improvement on the endorser's image will probably benefit the product demand too.

Keep looking

If you are a brand, you should not nest in one endorser’s home. Keep looking and keep tracking down new influencers and celebrities. It will be a win-win situation for both the brand and the celebrity. It will also help control and cut down prices too. As established celebrities already have a high price tag companies should not rest with one of the top influencers.

It is more important to think in longer terms with the brand and then make goals for it. It will result in a more solid brand building. Now it is time to move to the next and probably the main focus of the article. We will discuss various modes and methods of brand endorsements.


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Models of Celebrity Brand Endorsements

When we talk about brand endorsements, there are many sorts. It is all about the partnership and knowing what can happen. Knowing what’s possible, will help you get more clarity in a brand endorsement. As a brand, knowing what’s possible will help you predict market outcomes in some probability. That is half the battle won. So, don’t be afraid of thinking out of the box, as soon as you are adding value, you are open to experiments.

Affiliate partnerships

The word can be quite new to many but it is not really a rarity these days. Affiliate marketing refers to the most basic and commonly seen partnerships that happen in the digital era. It is simply a partnership between the brand and the endorser to share some percentages of profit that is generated by a link or a discount code that the influencer has shared with its audience.

Kylie Jenner Endorsing Daniel Wellington
Kylie Jenner Endorsing Daniel Wellington

This is a very good source of revenue for established celebrities. A brand gets an already built market for their products who sign up with the links that are shared by the celebrity.

It is easy for the brand to share a specific link (or a discount code) with the celebrity. It becomes easy to track the number of clicks and signups and thus, payments are smooth. It is fast, smooth and reliable, which makes it the recipe for a great endorsement.

Guest work

Brands that work extensively on content creation, are the ones pursuing guests. A guest can be a celebrity that appears in a work of the brand, a piece of content or sometimes when he/she writes a blog about the work.

It is always enriching to have a person on the set of content and it provides so much value (in terms of content). This also provides good exposure and brand association to the celebrity/influencer.

There are plenty of examples. Netflix is the industry expert in guest works departments. Netflix is super sensitive to content and in building relationships/partnerships with celebrities and influencers. Bumble, Tinder and new-age companies can always be seen featuring guests. It can also be seen in the Ranveer Allahbadia podcast or the Raj Shamani podcast.

Re-sharing something

Sometimes what brands do is simply re-share or forward what a celebrity created. It can be an image that someone created, it can be any sort of piece of content that someone created.

This method works well when done right. Sometimes more than often, a content creator or an expert has a better thing to show to the audience than the brand itself. So, brands use that for endorsements.

Sometimes brands do that re-sharing or the re-tweet without asking which become a copyright violation but most of the time, it is duly named with credits. The method works most of the time because an influencer is most of the time creative and a lot more engaging than a brand's studio created content assets.

Gifts with Endorsement terms

‘There is no free lunch", this quote holds true for this one. Sometimes brands give their products to influencers for free. Well, the product is not completely free, it comes with some terms. The terms simply claim that the influencer has to open the product for their audience. It creates the needed exposure for the product in front of the influencer generated audience.

This method of gifting products to influencers is more than normal for every beauty brand. This is popular in these products as this provides good exposure to the audience. The best influencers for these are the beautiful ladies of the internet. The workings of the model can be different. Brands can send products to a lot of influencers and wait for posts, or they can also negotiate with someone for a specific online post.

Tours and trips

This is another mostly seen sort of endorsement. You don't normally see Bhuvan Bam travelling to Spain to meet the cast of ‘Money Heist’. It is obviously paid and sponsored by Netflix. This is exactly what we want to call out in this model of endorsements.

Bhuvan Bam Money Heist Promotion
Bhuvan Bam Money Heist Promotion

So to promote something, brands can often do this, that is to take some famous person for a ride-related to their product/service. These are less common than the standard paid post, as they’re expensive and it is hard to take both the influencer and the product on the same page.

You don’t get to see Ashish Chanchalani promoting Marvel movies on their first show of the first day (Well, you do). Marvel does that, Sony does that and it is what it is. Everyone wants to see their favourite reelers and you tubers in more relatable situations. In this consumer want, Brands like Netflix capitalise and induce some demand for their content too. Thus, a win-win situation for everyone.

Social takeovers

It is a model in which an influencer takes control of the brand’s social media handles for some time. You’ve seen it many times, the time frame can be a day at most times.

During that one day, they create quite a lot of ruffles/ripples on the brand’s page. Which makes the page more intuitive and engagement starts jumping. People follow and join those pages to see their favourite person doing some cool stuff on the page. It helps in getting more engagement and getting more people to follow and interact with brand posts.

Giveaways

You must have participated in one of these sorts of giveaways yourself. A brand often does this, they partner with some influencer to give away free products. The terms and conditions for most of these giveaways are simply that all the participants should follow, like or share the brand’s channel. This is easily seen in standalone influencers and brands. Technical Guruji does that, Beebom (Tech content creator) does that and examples include a lot more.

The chance of winning is very minute on a large scale in the online world but people like to take the chance to win something for free. The hype is boosted more when some flagship device/product is the prize, like the latest smartphone or any new tech gizmo. Brands get a lot of engagement from these minute probable events with influencers.

Pure Endorsement

This is the purest form of brand endorsement. It is well known and it happens more than you think it happens. It is simply the model when a brand pays a creator an influencer or a celebrity to post something specific. That something specific can be a post, a video or any sort of content that aligns with what the brand wants.

Bhuvan Bam BoAt Promotion
Bhuvan Bam BoAt Promotion

Every brand that wants to build some online engagements has done this on one point or the other. They purely endorse the product with the help of the influencer and get their product listed. From locally grown bands to international brands, all rely on these pure forms of endorsements.

Social Events

Brands can host a social event and can endorse their work via that place or an influencer. A brand can invite some guest host who is also an influencer and through that, they can promote the product or service.

YouTube used to do events like these before the pandemic hit and it used to invite creators to make it a star-studded event. With this social event mask on, brands can promote or market their products to the public. There can be sponsors, content supporters and content creators who can charge for these events.

Traditional Advertisements

Then comes a different model that is some sort of a hybrid of influencer endorsement and traditional commercials. This model tries to capture more audiences by adding two differentiating factors. One factor is the influencer or the celebrity and the other factor is traditional media.

You can recall these too, remember Bhuvan Bam and the Pizza Hut advertisement. These are hybrid models that didn’t exist before but you know that there has to be some first time. In this new world where technology is the new normal, marketers also are trying to snap new methods of promotions.

How to Create a Successful Partnership with Celebrity?

It is highly crucial that a partnership between a brand and a content creator or a celebrity has to be even. Even then, sometimes the relationship can prove to be bitter. It is important to keep in check the relationship and set some boundaries on every turn.

A content creator may be able to create amazing and engaging content but not be able to influence their following to take a certain action. The brand has to choose well and keep the partnership working. Let us see how a brand can take advantage of the partnership between itself and the endorser.

The sales and revenue are hugely dependent on the consumer's psychology, content creators have to just act as a catalyst. With that being said, a celebrity is just a direction sign, a brand should expect accordingly with that. There are however some questions to ask yourself as a brand that helps you find the right endorser.

The first is to know that the content creator or the influencer is able to create/build and influence a section of the audience. What is the relationship between the influencer and his/her audience? Is the relationship strong?

The second is to know the budget of your campaign. It is about knowing in perfect terms how you are going to reimburse the celebrity or the endorser. It can depend heavily on which model the brand is pursuing its promotions.

The next question is to know about its authenticity. You have to make the conversation about the product look very authentic. It should not look scripted or staged, in the online world. It is hard to be authentic.

It is to be noted that Generation Z hates direct advertisements. It is a total red flag for these young people. Thus, conversations about a product have to look appealing and obviously authentic to the viewers.

When you find some content creator aka a celebrity, it is easy to build relations with them. Your brand can benefit largely from these relations in the short term as well as in the long term. It is however advisable to make the reaction long term as everything gets better in a long horizon in economics.


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Conclusion

When a celebrity or an influencer acts as a spokesperson for a brand, it adds a lot of audience to the product. It is then on the customers to pay or not pay heed to these product promotions.

A celebrity endorsement helps in garnering a bigger audience by using a celebrity face for the campaign. In this method, we discussed that the influencing person lends his/her personality, status to the brand.

There are many checkpoints that need to be checked. The conversation should be authentic and organic, too much drama will kill the attention. The celebrity should be relatable with the audience, or I should say “vibe” with the viewers.

There are many dynamics at place but if done right with optimum usage of work, it can do wonders and signups. A creative-authentic celebrity and a product conscious brand are all the ingredients that make an endorsement a perfect recipe.

FAQ

What are the types of celebrity endorsements?

Affiliate marketing, Giveaway, Social media takeover and Traditional Advertisements are types of celebrity endorsements.

How do celebrities endorse products?

Celebrities appear in commercials of the brand or promote the product on social media platforms.

How does celebrity endorsement help a business?

Celebrity endorsements build the credibility of the brand among consumers and increase brand awareness.

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