Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge for marketers is to make their target audiences aware of their brands and encourage them to engage with them. One of the most impactful ways of building brand visibility and credibility is a celebrity endorsement. These are typically brand promotions done by celebrities that the public loves and admires, like actors, sportspersons, musicians, and others who enjoy a star status for having excelled in their domains.
However, in recent times, according to Forbes, there has been a growing tendency of consumers to block advertising or anything that appears to be a paid sponsorship. Akin to celebrity endorsement, influencer marketing also involves well-known personalities who are perceived to be credible and dependable. They promote brands, products, and services more subtly to their followers on social media platforms like Instagram. A quick look at the pros and cons of both:
Advantages of Celebrity Endorsements
People have always admired, respected, and loved those who have an exalted status due to their skills, wealth, or even physical attributes. Consumers have always tended to love actors, musicians, athletes, etc., and are inclined to be swayed by their recommendations, even when it is evident that the endorsement is commercial. This widespread appeal and influence over the target audience have been leveraged by countless marketers trying to break through the clutter of conventional advertising. Another significant advantage of celebrity endorsements is that their fame often cuts across social strata and cultural boundaries, making them ideal for reaching out to diverse audiences. Once constrained to conventional media, celebrity endorsements are now also being used by marketers in the digital space.
Drawbacks of Celebrity Endorsements
One of the biggest drawbacks of celebrity advertising is that you need to use one with a large enough appeal to the target audience. Invariably, skilled professionals who have acquired their place in the sun are not cheap to engage. Many marketers are known to spend several million dollars to sign up top-flight sportspersons. In addition to the steep price tags of the celebrities, marketers have to deal with the fees of a battery of lawyers, managers, and members of the celebrity’s team. Because of their high profile, celebrity endorsements can also be risky for businesses. Despite all efforts, the target audience might perceive a mismatch between the brand and the celebrity and the campaign itself may be seen as disingenuous, requiring you to buy Instagram comments to boost engagement. It is also not unknown for the celebrity to lose his form or fall from grace and cause damage to the brand’s reputation. It is also not possible to find out if the celebrity endorsement has worked until the campaign is over.
Advantages of Influencer Marketing On Instagram
The most obvious advantage of influencer marketing on platforms like Instagram is that the campaigns can be targeted with great precision. Many of the influencers on social media are celebrities in their own right in domains like fashion, lifestyle, cooking, travel, fitness, and much more. Marketers looking to address target audiences can now not only choose the demographics and the location but also several other attributes of the audience to ensure that the chosen influencer has the right fit with the brand. Another benefit of influencer marketing is you can also choose the kind of interaction you want to have with your audience. The influencer can be directed to ask questions as well as solicit views and opinions and give responses to comments and feedback. It is these relationships that serve to influence consumer behavior and perception. In sharp contrast to celebrities, Instagram influencers are content creators in their own right and brands can hope to partner with them in a manner that optimizes the synergy and makes campaign execution simpler. Because these influencers are experienced marketers themselves, they know well how to integrate the brand messages into their content. The creative freedom most influencers are given serves to make the posts more natural and authentic. This is in stark contrast to celebrity endorsements that require marketers to do everything with only the celebrities mouthing the prepared lines without any kind of personalization.
Shortcomings of Influencer Marketing
The concept is relatively new, influencer marketing is still evolving, and many of the performance benchmarks have yet to be established. The selection of the influencer remains a major area of concern. Marketers need to not only have a thorough understanding of their target audiences but also that of the influencer. Marketers also need to invest considerable time and effort to identify the right influencer and perform the due diligence of the claimed performance indicators.
Given the all-pervasiveness of social media like Instagram and the growing tendency of the younger generation to avoid overt advertising, influencer marketing outscores celebrity endorsements. However, with an increasing number of celebrities entering the social media space, the lines between the two are getting blurred, and marketers are finding more ways of communicating and engaging their target audiences without seeming to push their brand in the faces of their target audiences.