In this assessment, the author is going to produce an academic report, which is based on the systematic review of an application of brand ambassador and especially the celebrities as the brand ambassador in marketing. The author will explain the relationship between brand and brand ambassador, the function of celebrities as brand ambassador and how celebrity brand ambassadors affect the consumer in buying behavior, finally the author will give some suggestions for selection the fit ambassador for brand. The reason why selected this content is because the use of brand ambassadors is a quite popular phenomenon, almost all of the famous brand have their brand ambassadors, the companies invest millions of pounds every year only for the brand ambassadors, celebrities by acting as brand ambassadors make a lot of money. This is a new game in the marketing area.
1. What is brand, brand ambassador and consumer behavior? 1.1 Brand
To figure out what is the function of brand ambassador, the first should know what is exactly brand is. Brand is your company’s product or service, combined with a unique positioning and key company equities that fills a need for consumers. Having a strong brand is significant to your company’s success. (Ric, 2002).
1.2 Brand ambassador
The classic definition of brand ambassador is that “Any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement” (McCracken, 1989) which is best Consistent with Keller (1993, p. 3), brand image is defined as the “perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory”.
There is one very proper description of a brand ambassador recently, “a diplomat,a representative of an organization, institution or corporation that best portrays the product or service.” (Ric Sweeney,2002).
Brand ambassador is a marketing approach with the goal of spreading awareness about a specific brand. Top earning brand ambassadors are usually celebrity representatives or marketing professionals who become associated with brands through mass media and word-of-mouth marketing. The part of mission for ambassador is to building name recognition of a brand (Alex cosper, 2010).
The brand ambassador is a promotional model to retain trustworthiness, credibility of its character in order to advertise and provide larger luminosity to products or services. (Good, 2009) .The brand ambassador should reflect its personality traits towards product or service and give visibility to brand. The overall objective is to give maximum trust to consumer and celebrity fits itself with the brand.
If you consider this definition, the scope of your brand’s ambassadors spreads and grows into a variety of audiences, each with huge potential for influencing others and ensuring your brands’ success. The brand ambassador could be regional or world-wide-knows like some celebrities. In addition, your customers also could be your brand ambassadors, because they are buying your product again and again, they are providing the revenue you need to stay alive.
Brand ambassadors should have an extensive knowledge of the brand, business and its products to be able to answer any questions about the brand. They also need to fully support and believe in the brand to persuade customers to trust in the brand as well. These are people that are constantly present and building up the reputation of the company and attract the potential customers discover the brand is part of ambassador’s job, so their role also has a sort of a sales function. In one word, their task is to keep the image positive and to help others learn about the brand (Robin, 2009).
In this report the author will focus on the celebrities, and to see how useful of them with a brand.
1.2.1 Brand Ambassador Celebrities
Many brand ambassadors come from the world of established televised media, such as TV shows, sports and commercials. Celebrities are people who enjoy public recognition by a large share of a certain group of people. Whereas attributes like attractiveness, extraordinary lifestyle or special skills are just examples and specific common characteristics cannot be observed, it can be said that within a corresponding social group, celebrities generally differ from the social norm and enjoy a high degree of public awareness. (Adverting, 2010)
The term Celebrity refers to an individual who is known to the public (actor, sports figure, entertainer, etc.) for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed (Friedman and Friedman, 1979).
Celebrities are great brand ambassadors because their high status and fame can be transferred onto the brand they support. They also help the brand reach a wider audience of potential customers when their fans and followers see them supporting your brand. Celebrities are also role models and trendsetters as many people look to them for inspiration. Celebrities can also help brand get media attention as they are appealing for interviews, photo shoots and events.
2.3 Consumer behavior
Consumer behavior is “the psychological processes that consumers go through in recognizing needs, finding ways to solve these needs, making purchase decisions” (Perner, 2010)
The consumer behavior is the process in which the buyers experiment on various entities to purchase the goods and services. An underlying structure gives a discussion of the factors that influences the acquisition, brand ambassadors, consumption, and use of goods, services, and ideas by consumers. After understanding the buyers the managers who work on development could possibly develop the current strategies and that interns increase the firm profitability and also the customer welfare (John Mowen and Michael Minor 2001).
The consumers nowadays are more sensitive while buying or making purchases they need higher attention and strong brands which influence their decision making process. Therefore companies invest millions of dollars in their advertisement campaigns to position their self-different and more unique as compare to competitors.
2. The function of brand ambassador.
Nowadays marketers do not only want to maximize the sales of the product but also to create the brand equity. For creating the brand equity they are using the celebrities in advertisements.
Langmeyer and Walker (1991,p.364) state that use of celebrities as a important part of marketing communication strategy, it can help firms to support corporate and build brand image, it is a fairly common practice.
The use of celebrities as brand ambassadors to advertise their company goods is termed as product endorsement.
The reasons for choosing to use a celebrity endorsement can include: * Instant brand awareness and recall.
* The celebrity’s values may help define and refresh the brand image. * The celebrity may potentially add a new dimension to the brand image instant credibility.
“Studies show that using celebrities can increase consumers’ awareness of the ad, capture their attention and make ads more memorable” (L. Martinez, 2001).
2.1 Celebrity Endorsement.
McCracken’s (1989) definition of a celebrity endorser is, “any individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement, is useful, because when celebrities are depicted in, they bring their own culturally related meanings, thereto, irrespective of the required promotional role.”
Celebrity endorsements communicate to consumers that the celebrity uses the product or service that they are endorsing, and that they prefer it above other products of its kind. For this reason, advertisers aim to select the celebrity who most reflects what the advertising is promising.
Friedman and Friedman (1979) found empirical evidence that, in the promotion of products high in psychological and/or social risk, use of celebrity endorser would lead to greater believability, a more favorable evaluation of the product and advertisement, and a significantly more positive purchase intention.
Source credibility and source attractiveness are the two key point that are the typical studies focused on celebrity endorsement.
2.1.1 brand ambassador celebrity’s credibility
Rao and Ruekert (2004), explained that the brand ambassadors while comparing with the mortals or distinctive consumers definitely recalls the increased brand name and also the advertisement.
Marketers also claim that celebrities affect the credibility of the claims made, increase the memorability of the message, and may provide a positive effect that could be generalized to the brand (Copper, 1984).
When you tell people that a product/service can help them, they may or may not believe you. After all, you have a vested interest in selling your services. This is the reason why brand ambassador celebrity’s credibility is very important. The right and good images must spread to the customers through ambassadors. Celebrity is being judged that whether he has the right to appear in the advertisement and indirectly advice the consumers what to do and what not to. (Martin, 2006)
Brand ambassadors can benefit your business by providing third party credibility to your brand and allowing you to reach a wider audience of potential customers. They can also bring a personality and human face to your brand, which your target audience can identify with.
In 2008,the election of United States the president Obama was very cleverly represented by celebrity Oprah Winfrey in the election campaigns and ultimately the effect of it showed very positive results in the voting for Obama (Garthwaite & Moore, 2008,p.6).
Attractiveness is discussed by Kerman (1961)，it is surrounded by similarity, familiarity and likeability. Similarity is closeness of source and receiver of the encoded message. The message which is designed for the receiver which shows the same meaning which he/she intended to from the source. On other hand lies familiarity where the knowledge of a source is eminent. While likeability in the sense of liking an endorser in appearance, style or personality characteristics
Attractive models are used to grab interest toward advertisement. These types of models are very successful in delivering the messages to the consumers. More physically attractive individuals are way to enhance your product sales as well as image of your brand (Jones, Stanaland & Gelb, 1998).
Kamins (2001) described that a brand ambassador should be an attractive celebrity such that he own a great influence on the brand image because of possessing two benefits of his attractiveness and chiefly the celebrity status.
Another important study about the brand ambassadors, Till and Busler (1998) explained that, using a more attractive celebrity than a less attractive celebrity as a brand ambassador influences more on the customer attitude towards the brand. They made many findings that proved that more attractive source gives effective way of conveying the meanings than the less attractive celebrities. By these findings the thing which is clear is, the more attractive the celebrity gets more endorsed the product will be.
Celebrity endorsements have been the bedrock of Pepsi’s advertising. Over the years, Pepsi has used and continues to use a number of celebrities for general market and targeted advertising, including Shaquille O’Neal, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, and Busta Rhymes, who did a targeted campaign for their Mountain Dew product. (Saurbh ,2011)
3. Impact on customers’ buying behavior
Celebrities greatly influence our consumer decisions in making purchases on certain products or brands.
As in marketing if you capture consumers psyche as first then you have the game to play with easily (Ries & Troot, n.d). Reaching your target market as quick as possible will give you competitive edge.
Sami al Smadi (2006) found in his study -about consumer attitudes towards the role of celebrity endorsement in television advertising in Jordan- that Jordanian consumers were generally positive about many aspects of this dynamic issue in advertising strategy. They also showed an interest in the relationship between celebrities and endorsed products in advertising.
The Nike empire has many famous athletes sponsoring their product, such as Lebron James, Troy Polamalu, and Tiger woods. These athletes are just some of hundreds that Nike has sponsored over the years.
From their endorsements, consumers are constantly seeing the best sports players in the world using Nike equipment, shoes, or other Nike brand products. This in turn gives one the sense of Nike being the best, since the best professionals are using it. This gives kind of feeling to customers that what you own now may not be good enough, and that Nike is the best brand. Thus making the consumer want to buy Nikes products.
The selection of brand ambassadors is been explained in the model of McCracken (2003) that, the advertising agencies in England valued the importance based on the types of products (Keller 1998). The findings of the resource agreed that the consumer behavior to the product is more dependent of the selection of brand ambassador to the company.
4. The negative impacts of celebrity approach.
The public sensing of the celebrity could change easily and it is not dependent on any factors, it could change quite quickly. More than that the cost total expenditure to maintain the sponsorship to a celebrity could possibly become very expensive or the celebrity might take too much advantage (Misra and Beatty, 2000). The behavior of the celebrities reflects on the brand, the reputation of the celebrity may derogate after they endorsed the product. For example, Pepsi Cola’s suffered with three tarnished celebrities – Mike Tyson, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Because of the involvement of risks in the endorsement of the brand ambassadors there created a movement in sponsorship (Mowen and Brown, 2001) with the market people becoming more optional to pick their brand ambassadors. Moreover, does a celebrity really help to build a brand or celebrities promoting themselves rather than the brand? The vampire effect: This terminology pertains to the issue of a celebrity overshadowing the brand. If there is no congruency between the celebrity and the brand, then the audience will remember the celebrity and not the brand.
Coke and Pepsi have successfully leveraged star power amongst their core target and made the brands youthful, contemporary and very aspirational. To begin with Pepsi concentrated on movie and sport icons while Coke used other means to connect with the consumer. However, with both using the same icons now, they are beginning to look alike. Use of celebrities by every brand in a category can lead to enormous confusion. 5. Suggestions for select celebrities as your brand ambassador. The celebrity’s fame must fit with the fame of the brand – interpreted as a brand’s market share – or the market share that the brand is actively attempting to attain. Celebrity ambassadors are worth the money if they meet two criteria.
First, they must act as a short cut to the brand positioning you want to communicate. It saves money in the long run. Second, ideally they should be used consistently over a few years, across all supports, to drive brand recognition. To do that, you need to pick the relevant celebrity for your brand, and make sure this ambassador will be proud to endorse it in the long term. Successful celebrity brand ambassadors have resulted in significant gains in income for brand owners. From the most of researched states that it is found that people love to see celebrities endorsing their brands, so marketers should use the right celebrity matching with the product. Overall, good brand ambassadors must represent the qualities your target audience admires and possess the same value as your business. They should have a strong presence, values, ethics, demeanor and confidence. They should also possess excellent communication skills and a friendly attitude to communicate the brand’s messages effectively.