The next time you see a celebrity spokesperson speaking about a product or a service … don’t think much of it. Chances are, the celebrity isn’t doing a whole lot to increase a company’s sales or enhance its brand image.
We have affirmation of this trend from ExpertVoice, a marketing firm that has queried consumers on the issue of who they trust most for recommendations on what products and services to buy.
ExpertVoice’s findings confirm that while celebrity endorsements do raise awareness, typically that awareness fails to move the needle in terms of sales. Just ~4% of the participants in ExpertVoice’s research reported that they trust celebrity endorsements. (And even that percentage is juiced by professional athletes who are more influential than other celebrities.)
As for the reason for the lack of trust, more than half of the respondents noted concerns about the money these spokespeople receive from the brands they’re endorsing. Consumers are wise to the practice – and they reject the notion that the endorser has anything other than personal enrichment in mind.
By way of comparison, here are how celebrities stack up against others when it comes to influencing consumer purchases:
Trust recommendations from friends/family members: ~83% of respondents
… from a professional expert (e.g., instructor or coach): ~54%
… from a co-worker: ~52%
… from a retail salesperson: ~42%
… from a professional athlete: ~6%
… from any other kind of celebrity: ~2%
As it turns out, people are more influenced by good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth testimonials from individuals who are making recommendations based on their actual experience with the products in question.
Moreover, if the endorsement is coming from someone they know personally, they’re even likelier to be swayed.
In a crowded marketplace full of many purchase choices, consumers are looking for trusted recommendations. That means something a lot more authentic than a celebrity endorser. Considering the amount of money companies and brands have had to pony up for celebrity pitches, it seems an opportune time for marketers to be looking at alternative methods to influence their audiences.