Celebrity Endorsement vs. Influencer Marketing

Brand promotions by renowned celebrities are not news. But the whole mechanism and ideology of it went through a transition when social media came into existence. And the second wave of transition occurred when influencer marketing became the sensation of the digital world. 

Celebrity endorsements were at the prime of marketing almost a decade ago. Every brand had a brand ambassador, every film actor or cricketer in India was the face of some of the other brands. In simple terms, every brand was represented and advocated by prominent personalities. While that still happens, its existence is shared by influencer marketing. 

Marketing is a complex field. Not because it is difficult to execute but because it has so many branches that it becomes difficult to understand which one works best for which brand. The most common argument in the marketing fraternity is to put influencer marketing vs social media marketing. And joining the team today we have celebrity endorsements vs influencer marketing. Which one’s better than the other? Let’s find out. 

What is celebrity endorsement?

Celebrity endorsement is a kind of marketing campaign that maneuvers the fame of celebrities to promote a brand’s product, service, and raise funds of awareness about a cause. The biggest advantage of celebrity endorsement is that it can help a brand attain a huge reach. The customers remember you by the names of their favorite celebrities who endorse your brand. 

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the marketing campaign that uses social media influencers who are experts of their niche and internet leaders. Their knowledge, experience, and reviews impact the purchasing behavior of their followers. The most important aspect of a successful influencer marketing campaign is to ensure that the niche of your brand is aligning with the niche of the influencers. 

What are the differences between celebrity endorsement and influencer marketing?

  1. Influencers are experts vs celebrities don’t have to be experts

Influencers share and create the content of their daily lives. That revolves around their niche. Revolving around one particular domain. For an influencer to be successful, what is important is to have a niche. Every influencer has a niche. The subject of interest is what binds the influencers with their audience. The niche chosen by the influencer can be as broad as being a fashion influencer or as narrow as being a sustainable fashion influencer. Their opinions and reviews are respected and believed by their followers because of their knowledge about the niche. While the success of an influencer depends on their level of expertise, consistency, and knowledge about their niche. These niche experts are the future of influencer marketing

Celebrity endorsements work very differently. For a celebrity, it is not important to be an expert on the niche of the brand that they are endorsing. The biggest celebrity endorsement vs influencer marketing difference is that the former is popular and loved for their work whereas for influencers it’s the niche. For example, for a celebrity to endorse a clothing brand, they do not need to be fashion experts. All they need is to have a good following for their work and have good enough popularity and personality to influence the audience. Yet, their impact on consumers is the same as the impact of influencers on the consumers

  1. Influencers do many projects vs celebrities are the face of the brand

Influencers use various social media platforms and even talk about multiple different brands. An influencer’s job is not limited to promoting just one brand or just one product. Some influencer marketing campaigns are limited to just one sponsored post while others can go for as long as a few months. However, their job involves sharing as many experiences as they can with their followers. They even receive requests from their followers to try a product or service and review it. And they do it. The more projects they do, the more popularity and authenticity they gain on social media, And the brands that collaborate with them are equally benefited, 

For traditional celebrity endorsements, the celebrities endorse a brand for a long time. Based on the contract, they might not even be able to endorse any other brand of the same niche or product. The content created under this endorsement for traditional mediums or ads is created by the brands. The brand has control over the script, production, and direction of the ad. Whereas every content created by an influencer is created solely on their creativity, their knowledge, and their interaction with their followers. 

  1. Influencers are a part of a community vs celebrities just do their job

Influencers have a huge following on their social media platforms. They are known and loved by their followers for what they represent, for their work, for their values, and how they are perceived as human beings. The fact that influencers are more trusted and considered more reliable than celebrities is sole because they have managed to build a community for themselves. Little gestures like replying to people’s messages, taking their suggestions, providing them with what they want to see, and making them a part of their life and work, are what help influencers to build a community over time. This community is what gets these influencers jobs which are collaborations by brands that consider their followers as their potential customers.

When it comes to celebrities, their full-time jobs are different from just endorsing brands. Their endorsements are based on the brand’s observations and demand. They are not as personal and connected as the influencers. Since it is a full-time job for an influencer to collaborate with brands, know their audience, be active on social media, they are more connected to their audience. While for celebrities, it is not feasible to connect with their fans through social media all the time but they do so with their job as actors, sports players, artists, or any profession of their choice. 

  1. Influencers for engagement vs celebrities for reach

More than a decade ago, engagement with followers, fans, and customers was not prioritized as much as it is today. When traditional media dominated the marketing segment, hoardings and ads were some of the ways to connect with people. Whereas now, it is all about getting closer to the audience, trying to talk to them, and getting to know the influencers as well as the celebrities. The gap between the common people and the famous personalities is now reduced and that has given more importance to engagement as a metric to scale the success of a marketing campaign. You can gain a good engagement with influencer marketing on a low budget. Hence, it becomes an ideal choice for many small businesses. 

Earlier and even now, celebrity endorsements have always peaked at reaching millions of people at once. Social media allows you to do that too, but with traditional media, celebrity endorsements can reach remote areas and even the most developed ones. There is still a huge segment of the population that is unaware of social media and the influencers on these platforms. Celebrity endorsements still work for them as they did before influencer marketing came along. 

The biggest advantage of influencer marketing is that it is new, it is in fashion. You can use influencer marketing for businesses without having to compromise with your time, budget, or your approach. Brands these days want to exploit social media as much as they can for business. Ever since social media transitioned from a platform for sharing pictures and videos to a platform for generating business and creating a living out of, multiple ways were created to do so. 

Influencer marketing lets all kinds of businesses explore social media as a marketing platform. Whereas it is very difficult for small businesses to connect with celebrities for endorsements because generally, they do not have enough budget for it. Such businesses can use WORD Marketplace, which is an influencer marketing platform. If you are a small business with low budget bandwidth, this is the platform that will help you create a successful influencer marketing campaign. You can use this platform for free and all you have to pay for is the final approved content. In fact, you even get to negotiate your own prices without any third-party involvement.  

Celebrity endorsements help to position the brand. The personality of the celebrity is reflected in the brand. The perspective that the customer form about a brand is based on the celebrity who endorses it. There could be times that due to the celebrity’s downfall in their personal or professional life, the sales and the image of the brand that they are associated with get equally affected. And similarly, any upscale in the celebrity’s status directly gives an advantage to the brand. 

Has celebrity endorsement evolved as a marketing strategy?

A straight answer to this would be, yes. The evolution and growth of marketing, as well as the digital world, have brought a lot of better alternatives to celebrity alternatives. And if not alternatives, then definitely some traditional marketing strategies have merged with the new media strategies. For example, celebrity endorsements still exist. Both on social media and traditional media. Brands that did celebrity endorsements on hoardings have now shifted to banner ads. Similarly, TVC ads have now shifted to video advertising on social media. The biggest shift and the most evident one is that now storytelling is prioritized a lot. 

Advertising and marketing today is all about storytelling. Even pictures depict a story and if not pictures then the captions tell a story. The fact that marketing today is very personalized and highly customer-centric is what has helped brands scale from celebrity endorsements to influencer marketing. Earlier marketing was the only way. But now, once the campaigns are live, there is a whole team of experts waiting and analyzing the performance of the campaign, examining the responses of the audience, and ready to act on it. 

Marketing is now a collective mechanism that is fueled by the audience’s preferences and reactions. While celebrity endorsements can give your brand a huge amount of attention, influencer marketing, on the other hand, can add more value to your brand in the long term. Whichever medium you choose, the key is to know to keep your customers at the heart of every decision.

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