Can brand trust be created through celebrity endorsements?
As consumers can trust brands from past experiences or from feedback given to them from similar experiences, one may infer that a person of status using brand conveys that they trust the brand which is communicated to the consumer. Suggesting that endorsed products by celebrities can create trust. Cohen and Golden (1972) state that the identification process occurs when the influences from the celebrity is accepted, therefore an aspiration to identify with an endorser. It is the use of celebrities; that brand managers make the consumer identify themselves with the brand as the celebrities. Implying as the consumer associates themselves with the celebrity using the brand this creates the belief that because the celebrity trusts the brand we, the consumer, should trust the brand. McCracken (1989, p312) suggests “the effectiveness of the endorser depends, in part upon, the meaning he or she brings to the endorsement process”. McCracken created a model called the meaning transfer. This model demonstrates the celebrity endorsement procedure. Within the process meaning on the whole the assessment is what the celebrity represents to the consumer. Entailing that meaning is created towards similar understanding of the celebrity image conveyed in their careers in sport or television (actors, singers etc). McCracken 1989 p 315). A consumer using a celebrity to represent themselves through their attributes are able to gain trust because that celebrity is using a brand that the consumer sees themselves using, adopting that same image. This endorsement can act as feedback from the celebrity as it works for them. The transfer process is completed when a consumer consumes the product, thus transferring the meaning to the user. (McCracken 1989 p315). When a celebrity endorses a brand the characteristic of the celebrity is compared with the brand attributes; this creates synergy between the brand and endorser. For instance the David Beckham and Adidas partnership, where there is good synergy as the consumer can identify the tangible features of the collaboration between a sportsman and Adidas sportswear. David Beckham a well-known figure in the world of sport due to his status in society is able to create trust in Adidas as the brand meet the expectations of David Beckham gives feedback to the consumer, that because David Beckham trust the brand the consumer should as well. Evidence that the endorsement encourages trust is adidas expects sales of football equipment to reach 1.2bn Euros over the world cup by having contacts with high profile players (BBC news, 9/05/2006), Feedback from others acts as an experience to the consumer, this is where endorsements by celebrities has the capabilities of creating trust, as consumers link themselves with the brand are influenced in the brand for instance David Beckham trust the brands’ we, use consumer, should gain the image of him. Trust can therefore be lost in brands that do not meet the expectations of the consumer which are set and thus can equally be gained initially and then lost overtime. McCraken, G. (1989) ‘who is the Celebrity Endorser? Cultural Foundation of the Endorsement Process’, journal of consumer research, 16, (December), pp 310-3211. BBC Online (2006) ‘Adidas Already a World Cup Winner’