Celebrity endorsement is a trendy practice amongst Sri Lankan brands as noticed in unprecedented manner. There are quite number of brands which use celebrities in the phase of advertising testimonials and as Brand Ambassadors. One of the key concerns is how far firms strategically select the celebrities in bridging message intent to stimulate brand-related behaviors. The term “Brand” should not be defined in terms of the proposition of entity or how it just connects to consumer touch points. Instead it should be viewed holistically. There has to be a consistent philosophy for the brand which is nourished by a corporate mind map on brand essence saying its ultimate reason to exist. When brands do follow a consistent brand philosophy supported by 360° perspectives, all the operational and strategic contents should be seriously managed to make substance for the brand essence. Moreover, bridging brands into consumer life is the gravity of building customer-focused brand equity. Alongside, the notion of practicing celebrity endorsement in building brand-related behaviors should guide through the fundamental principles. This article is briefing some of the key ideologies that influence to make celebrity endorsement as an effective rationale of developing brand-health results.
Align to the Notion of Celebrity-Consumer Psychological Contract
There are different cases where consumers bond with brands due to the association of celebrities as endorsers. The fundamental matter in selecting celebrity as an endorser for a brand is the credibility. As some of the models proposed, credibility comes through the Attractiveness, Expertise and Trustworthiness of the celebrity who endorses the brand. Therefore, the basic notion what marketers should think is mapping brand values with the credibility-related properties of the celebrity. Sri Lanka is also a noticeable market that uses celebrity endorsement as a competitive brand voice. However, there has to be intensive dialogs in the industry to review how far those endorsements had contributed to build 3600 branding rather focusing on few operational objectives. Alongside, marketers need to identify the mechanism of Celebrity Worship Motives which bridges consumers and celebrity character as a psychological contract. As theories suggest, consumers do have psychological bond with celebrity characters streamed through different motives namely Intense Attachment and Entertainment Motives as key matters. The postulation of intense attachment refers how consumer dreams with celebrities to share their life-related matters. This leads consumers to feel things happen to celebrities as their own. Accordingly, such deeper emotional bonds could operate as a powerful mechanism to direct the endorsements made by the celebrity for effective brand evaluation. This provides a notion to marketers to critically evaluate the celebrity before using as an endorser to make the outcome as effective return to endorsed brand. There are incidents celebrities commit for different brands as endorsers which is said as “Multiplicity or Multiple Endorsement”. This type of incidents may differently affect to consumers to feel the celebrity via intense attachment, probably a negative intense attachment may result. Therefore, when it comes to the practices of using popular celebrities who commit for different brand, companies need to assess the celebrity in terms of the ability of winning intense attachment. There will be a definite advantage of using celebrities who has marked charisma amongst public since it creates higher level of intense attachment. It enables an endorsement which becomes credible by providing celebrity and consumer to have an intense attachment. The other Worship Motive is the notion of Entertainment Motives which reflect how consumers psychological bridge to the celebrity character in terms of Aspirational Motives and Playful Motives. There are situations where consumers receive the celebrity as an icon of aspiration to their life-related matters. This results an endorsement made by such aspirational celebrity to become more effective since endorsed-brand also receives such extended attention. Therefore, marketers could select such aspirational celebrities when it refers to endorse a brand which carries a higher degree of brand association related to social and professional image. Moreover, the congruence between celebrity personality and brand personality operates as a mechanism to influence consumers embracing endorsed message with credibility. As it indicates in related theories, Playful Motives refer for the motivation of consumers to receive a celebrity as a matter of fun or as equally named as fantasy. Brand could earn more attention within the communication traffic when a celebrity endorses a brand whom perceived to be as fun and cool icon. However, marketers need to have a pre-assessment on the desired celebrity before staging with the brand to determine the pay off between aspirational values and playful values of the character. It again emphasizes the notion of congruency between brand personality and the personality traits of the celebrity, particularly how celebrities are perceived to be.Alongside, Sri Lankan brands need to critically asses the strategic directions before implementing celebrities to endorse brands as it needs a rationale of pre-assessment. Specially, it matters a lot in evaluating celebrities for brand building strategy where the potential celebrity involves with multiple endorsements. Alongside, it postulates a managerial notion for brand managers to be meticulous in planning and implementing brand building strategy with a celebrity involvement since consumer-celebrity bond is a critical hindsight that moderates the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement.