• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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How to balance brands and endorsement marketing

How to balance brands and endorsement marketing

Endorsements are a large part of marketing. We see famous faces on different ads and packaging. But marketers and endorsers often fail to truly understand the concept of endorsement. Most do not know how to use endorsements effectively and legally. They don’t know the nature and ethics around paying influential people to steer their fans to a product or service.
So, let’s back up and start from the basics

What is an endorsement? Often the key element in an advertisement or marketing campaign, a product endorsement is a public declaration from a person or organization in support of a product’s features, quality, benefits, and/or brand.
An endorsement can be either paid or unpaid. When we think of endorsements, most people think about athletes or celebrities paid big money to endorse a brand. But the vast majority of endorsements are unpaid. An endorsement can also be a positive rating from a certification organization.

Endorsement Marketing
We are social creatures. We look at what the people around us are doing to get clues about what we should be doing. We take special notice of people we consider experts or leaders. It is encoded in our biology through evolution.
Given our social nature, it should be no surprise that endorsements are extremely useful tools when marketing a product. People are going to look to friends, experts, and influential people when it comes to what products they choose to buy, or who they vote for. Endorsements are social proof of the usefulness of something or someone.

An endorsement is always public, meaning that potentially anyone can hear it. The person endorsing the product can’t expect it to be a private statement to be an endorsement. A private comment about a product they think is valuable is called a recommendation.
Endorsements can come from celebrities or influencers, athletes, experts, media reviewers, product users, professional associations and regulatory agencies, among others.

Endorsements can be either paid or unpaid.
Unpaid endorsements are pretty simple. People have freedom of speech, so they can say whatever they would like about a product whenever they want, up and until it is libelous. But paid endorsements have legal requirements for both the advertiser and the endorser.

Read also: ‘It is very much our aim, and still is, to grow the Radisson brand globally as quickly as possible’

Paid Endorsements
Paid endorsements are usually what marketers are referring to when they talk about endorsements. We think of endorsement deals like “Wizkid signs N100m endorsement deal with Pepsi.” The deal is as much to keep the prized influencer from endorsing the competition as is it to secure their endorsement.
But there are other types of paid endorsements. A person can be paid for their endorsement with money, free goods or services, or a combination of both. Many brands and public relations professionals generate paid endorsements without ever sending a cheque; they send their products out to reviewers or influential people.

Celebrity Endorsements
Celebrity endorsements are the cornerstone of endorsements. Celebrity endorsements are big business. When people see their favourite star endorsing a product, they may take a look at a product they never considered before.
Big brands use celebrity endorsements because it both promotes their products and increases a product’s conversion rate (the percentage of people who buy out of the people exposed to a product). More people get to know about the product, and those people are more likely to buy when something is endorsed by someone they respect.

Celebrity endorsements make a product more memorable. A forgettable product is made noteworthy when you attach a well-known face to it. Our brains are tuned to pick out and remember people’s faces easily. Celebrities can also make an unfamiliar product more approachable with their endorsement. We are familiar with stars; we see them on TV, read about them in articles, and follow them on social media. That frequency of contact makes them feel familiar, even if we have never met them.

Do celebrity endorsements deliver?
Yes, celebrity endorsements have been proven to be an effective marketing tactic.
That result is a little perplexing. We have people who sometimes have no specialised knowledge about something recommending the products for that thing. It is also an open secret that celebrity recommendations have more to do with the money in a contract than the effectiveness of the product.

Distributors and Retailers
Sometimes the people who bring the product to customers will exclusively sell one brand’s products. Distributors and retailers may sign an exclusivity agreement with one brand. This agreement means that they will not sell any competing brand for an agreed-upon period. Both the retailer and the exclusive brand market this agreement as an endorsement to customers
Retailers will also look to brands to split the cost of investments in marketing. A brand will pay some or all of the cost of a piece of signage in stores if they can co-promote their brand on the signage. These co-promotions seem like endorsements to the customer.

For example, we have restaurants and stores that have Pepsi drink chillers or a Coca Cola sign. These signs are there because these brands have paid for their sign in exchange for the permanent promotion of their brand in a place their customers typically purchase.
Unpaid endorsements from friends, family and community leaders
When we think about endorsements, we imagine the one significant endorsement that will sell millions of naira worth of product. But the real power of endorsements comes from lots of small endorsements. Friends, family, everyday experts, and community leaders can have far more influence on the purchases of individual people in their circle than a celebrity does for one of their fans. People closer to us talk to our particular needs, and not in generalities.

Last line
Every brand needs endorsements, and every brand builder needs to encourage people to speak positively and publicly about a brand’s product and the brand themselves. Every brand needs to solicit and encourage unpaid endorsements by following up with people they know to use their products.