Celebs or influencers?
Celebrity Endorsements Vs Social
The concept of brand endorsement has changed over the years. It is not dominated only by celebrities anymore. Brands in order to have a farther reach and more connect with their audience, are roping in influencers who are popular social media personalities. By Kavita Parab
brand is a name, image, a symbol and an identity of a product. These are the factors that help companies as well as consumers distinguish between products. In order to keep themselves ahead of competition and gain maximum market share, companies employ various marketing techniques such as endorsements. So, when we talk of endorsements, we all know that celebrity endorsements are quite deep rooted in India. Consumers want to emulate, follow all things that their favourite celeb is doing or using. And various brands have been cashing in on this by using leading celebrities to endorse their products.
However, over the years, brands have evolved and have gone beyond famous film stars. They have been looking at popular personalities, who could be a next door neighbour, who not only have mass following on various social media platforms but also have expertise in a particular field. These are ‘real’ people from the ‘real’ world whom the consumers of today resonate with more.
Celebrity Endorsements v/s Social Media Influencers
When you talk of jewellery, celeb endorsements have had an upper hand. Thanks to our fascination with the film stars! We are living in a time when special jewellery lines are designed for a movie. And these jewellery lines have time and again given a boost to the jewellery industry. When asked about what works better for jewellery industry – a celebrity or social media influencer, Ahammed MP, Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds said, “Well, it is very difficult to choose one over the another. A celebrity has the aura and appeal to pull the consumers towards a brand. So, leveraging the charisma of a particular celebrity makes sense. On the other hand, a social media influencer shapes and influences the opinion of the people through their opinions and observations. They create a deeper connect between a brand and its target audience. I think, both celebrities and social media influencers have to be a part of the marketing strategy, because jewellery as a product is aspirational in nature.”
Talking about aspirational value, it has played a huge role in brand endorsements. If you look at the recent bollywood weddings of Anushka Sharma, Neha Dhupia, Sonam Kapoor, and the weddings that have happened across India, it’s a clear indication of how the aspirational aspect of jewellery has played a big role. Consumers irrespective of their statuses take inspirations from popular celebrity weddings. Also, it helps in popularizing the brands.
Commenting on how brands increase their popularity by using celebrities and social media influencers, Ravina Parikh, Founder, 7th Avenue Jewellery said, “Today, one of the most popular ways in which brands can grow is through working with celebrities and social media influencers. Social media influencers have the legitimacy in their viewpoint which can help give new customers the confidence to connect with the brand whereas celebrities in a country like India have a kind of emotional connect with Indian consumers and definitely help in brand positioning.”
Social media influencers are as important as celebrities said Saurabh Gadgil, CMD, PNG Jewellers, “The power that a social media influencer holds these days is no less than a celebrity. If a wedding collection needs to be promoted, a newly wedded celebrity couple or a major influencer would work the best. Small, delicate daily wear pieces would not necessarily need a celebrity. In this case, the target audience is more likely to connect better with a social media influencer.”
Today, everything is available at the click of a button. So, it’s no wonder that the consumer, too, has evolved drastically. They just don’t follow celebs but also the social media influencers. Talking about the power these influencers have on the consumers, Ishu Datwani, MD, ANMOL said, “Now-a-days people check out fashion websites, blogs and social media to know what the celebrities are wearing and like to own those pieces. So it does help boost sales in the short run. With changing times, digital influencers have emerged and they connect a brand to the youth. A modern consumer is independent and makes her own jewellery buying decisions. She follows media influencers due to the credibility they have in the given subject and take their opinions seriously. Therefore, an endorsement from an expert plays a major role in helping the consumer make a decision. Ultimately, it depends from person to person. ”
As mentioned earlier, both celebs as well as influencers work well for the jewellery industry. However, how brands use them entirely depends on the type of the product being endorsed as well as the marketing budget. A well-known mass jewellery brand might only rope in popular celebrities to reach out to many consumers while an emerging jewellery brand with limited budget might opt for a social media influencer.
Ahammed MP feels that it all depends on the nature of the jewellery, “If the collection targets the broader consumer segment, a jeweller can go for celebrity endorsement, as achieving higher marker penetration becomes the prerogative. Meanwhile, if the collection is design-led and the craftsmanship is intricate in nature, along with celebrity, the jeweller might opt for a popular social media influencer who can explain various aspects and the aesthetics of those creations to evoke interest and the urge to own among the prospective buyers,” added Ahammed MP.
However, there are brands like ANMOL whose jewellery has been one of Bollywood favourites; they haven’t invested in celebrity endorsements like other brands. Rather the brand strongly believes in the power of its customers. Elaborating further on this, “As a brand, though we have celebrities who are our clients, we don’t use celebrity endorsements as we believe our customers are our biggest endorsers. ‘Real Women Love Anmol’ campaign showcases our real customers on all our marketing collaterals. Having said that, we do collaborate with stylists to dress Bollywood stars and the choice of the jewellery is done by the stylist depending on the look of the celebrity for a particular event.”
The endorsements – be it celebs or influencers – both are effective mediums to popularize your brand. “Collaborating with influencers or celebrities is an effective method of increasing product exposure. They create buzz and drive traffic to the site and help increase online sales too,” said
Ravina Parikh .
Who is better?
“Apart from brand awareness and recall, social media influencers can be used more efficiently for sales driven activities and campaigns. A celebrity on the other hand gives a face to the brand that the customers can relate to. A celebrity face adds a major value and persona to the brand and influencers have a better connect with the audience. It is also very important to pick influencers carefully and make sure their individual personas and their profiles are in keeping with the brand’s own values ,” said Saurabh Gadgil. ‘I would say both have their advantages for jewellery brands. If a celebrity is helping the brand in popularising and reaching out to the masses then social media influencers help in brand education. Influencers help people have a deeper understanding of the brand ,’ says Varun Raheja, owner, Azotiique. For popular jewellery brands like Malabar Gold & Diamonds, its celebrities who they think will score over social media influencers at the moment in India.