ABSTRACT: The use of celebrity endorser strategy is now frequently used by firms or individual marketers to get exposure for their brands/products and for consumers to patronize what they have to offer. This dissertation explores the factors considered by marketers when selecting celebrities to endorse products/brands the consumer’s purchasing behaviour after a product has been endorsed. This dissertation seeks to produce awareness on celebrity endorsement as an effective marketing instrument. This dissertation’s objectives are to assess the factors that are considered in the selection of celebrities for brand/product endorsement at Nestle Ghana Limited and also to find out the consumer behaviour of users or consumers after a celebrity endorses a brand/product of Nestle Ghana Limited. This dissertation involved both primary and secondary research. The primary research constituted a qualitative approach where a series of interviews were conducted with the marketing managers of the various brands at Nestle Ghana Limited. The secondary research constituted a critical review of previous literature on celebrity endorsement by various scholars and this involved the analysis of celebrity endorsement models including the Source Models: Source Credibility, Source Attractiveness.
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A celebrity endorser is an individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement (McCracken, 1989) whereas (Friedman & Friedman, 1979) states that “a celebrity endorser is an individual who is known to the public for his or her achievement in areas other than of the product class endorsed”.
In our world today, our celebrities are being treated as role models and people tend to pick up bits and pieces of the lifestyle of their favourite celebrities to emulate, that is why it does not come as a surprise that marketers have therefore picked this up as a strategy to apply to the advantage of their brands and firm in general.
Marketers analyze current market trends and develop products to suit their target markets, after which they hope that a celebrity will jump on these products and give them their authorization to help boost the image of the brands.
Celebrity endorsement has been applied for many years. Already in 1979, one in every six commercials used a celebrity and in 2001 that percentage grew to 25% (Baker, Erdogan, M. J, & Tagg, 2001). The endorsement of celebrities is not likely to change because people and Western culture have been obsessed with celebrities. This is originated from the fact that media overloads society with news and illustrations about celebrities and gives them an entertainment function (Choi & Rifon, 2007).
Every single day, consumers are exposed to a wide range of products advertised through the media. Celebrity endorsement is a form of an advertising campaign or marketing strategy used by brands and companies to establish credibility and wide acceptability of their products or services.
By making a celebrity endorse a product or a brand, the company is putting an important part of its image into the hands of the celebrity. In this case, whenever a celebrity creates a negative image for himself, it also affects the brand he is endorsing.
It is believed that, when people of importance endorse a brand, it is because they have in-depth knowledge about the various brands. Marketers of today use celebrities to endorse both their brands and their products in advertisement to increase sales and possibly change the consumer’s perception regarding the brand and this goes a long way to have a positive influence on the purchasing intentions of the consumer.
Ghana has recently experienced an influx of celebrity endorsements. This, however, has brought some form of attractiveness to most brands in the country. This thesis is key because celebrities endorsement of brands is important to most Ghanaian companies especially Nestle Ghana Limited which has a huge brand.
1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The personality, credibility, popularity and physical appearance of a celebrity give consumers appeal and acceptability of the endorsed brand. Companies invest sums of money to affiliate their brands and themselves with endorsers.
Previous literature by (Erdogan, 1999) summarized his stance on what he calls the “Source Models” which is made up of two components. This Source Model argues that various characteristics of a perceived communication source may have a beneficial effect on message receptivity (Kelman, 1961, pp. 57-78: Meenaghan, 1995, pp. 318-337). The first, the Source credibility model seeks to explain how advertisers base their selection of celebrities on the perceived level of expertise and trustworthiness in the endorser. They believe that information from a trustworthy endorser influences the beliefs, opinions, behaviour and attitude of a consumer.
The second component which is the Source attractiveness model also describes that advertisers’ selection of celebrities is based on their attractiveness to gain dual effects of celebrity status and physical appeal (Singer, 1983). They believe that a general application to advertising suggests that the physical attractiveness of a communicator determines the effectiveness of persuasive communication. (Erdogan, 1999) did not consider the factors that push firms to select celebrities as endorsers which will be reviewed in this literature.
Most consumers of brands in Ghana are obsessed with celebrities. Some of these consumers purchase products because they need it urgently, others purchase because of the benefits they derive from consuming the products whereas most of them purchase the products because of their love for the celebrity who is endorsing the product.
Some consumers take time to go through the personal life of favourite celebrities to know the nitty-gritty of their everyday life which can influence their attitude towards the brand.
Nestle Ghana Limited uses both local and international celebrities for its brand endorsements. It is interesting to state that, there are factors that are considered in the selection of celebrities as endorsers which aid in the brand promotion of Nestlé’s brands and products that have not been previously examined hence this study.
1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
- To assess the factors that are considered in the selection of celebrities for brand/product endorsements at Nestle Ghana Limited.
- To find out the consumer behaviour of users after a celebrity endorses a brand/product at Nestle Ghana Limited.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the factors that are considered in the selection of celebrities for brand/product endorsements at Nestle Ghana Limited?
- What are the consumer behaviours of users after a celebrity endorses a brand/product at Nestle Ghana Limited?
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Marketers spend huge sums of money in order to rope in top-notch celebrities to entice consumers to the brand. The Association of a celebrity to a brand makes it more appealing to the eye and tends to draw the attention of consumers.
This study will be significant to Nestle Ghana Limited such that it will let them know if they should invest more, less or if they should not invest in Celebrity endorsements at all.
It will be significant to Policymakers because it will educate them on how much to invest into celebrity endorsement.
It will be significant to Academia, in a way that contributes to the limited literature on this topic. It will guide future researchers who would want to explore the topic of celebrity endorsements.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study was conducted in Nestle Ghana Limited and its aim is to understand the factors that are considered in the selection of celebrities as endorsers. This study was restricted to Nestle Ghana Limited. Data collection and analysis made will be based on Nestle Ghana Limited. Therefore, the findings of this study may not be applicable to other institutions.
1.6 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
Chapter one is the Introduction which includes subtopics like the Background of the study, the statement of the problem, the research objectives and questions, the significance of the study, the scope of the study, literature review and the organization of the study. This section introduces the reader to the main subject of study.
Chapter two outlines the review of literature by previous scholars on the same subject of study. The influence of celebrity endorsement on brand promotion, factors that are considered in the selection of celebrity endorsers, and the differences between using an endorser for a product and not using one.
Chapter three proposes the methods which will be used in the collection of data. The method of data collection, the sample size, the research design, and the means of analyzing data will all be examined.
Chapter four will submit the results of the research findings. This includes the qualitative technique that will be used in analyzing the data.
Chapter 5 comprises the summary of the work, the conclusions and possibly the areas for further study.