Whose endorsement is better — celebrity or expert?

Tue Mar 10 2020
Jenn Kim
Community

Today, consumers trust recommendations from each other more than those from corporate accounts. That’s why so many brands enlist third-party partners as part of their marketing strategy. With product endorsements from the right people, your brand can build a great reputation and establish trust with your target audience, all while boosting conversions.

These days, many brands immediately turn to influencers, but marketers can also benefit from building relationships with other members of their brand community, such as experts and even celebrities. Celebrity endorsements and expert endorsements are just as valuable, as they are also influential people who have the power to shift their audiences’ perceptions and decisions.

Below, we explore the differences between celebrity endorsements and expert endorsements and determine when brands should work with each party. Let’s get started.

Who is considered a celebrity?

A celebrity, by definition, is a very famous person. Celebrities are actors, musicians, models — really anyone who frequently walks the red carpet. In today’s day and age, celebrities also have millions (or even billions) of social media followers and typically have an enormous fanbase around the world.

Why brands work with celebrities

For many decades, brands have worked with celebrities to promote their products. This marketing tactic became so popular that some even see celebrity endorsements as an earlier form of influencer marketing that gave way to what the industry is today.

Brands have leveraged celebrity relationships because they are public figures that many people look up to, meaning they have the ability to convince consumers to buy the products that they endorse. The biggest impact of celebrity endorsements is the widespread publicity that brands receive, which makes up for the fact that these partnerships usually cost a pretty penny. Brands like Nike, Pepsi, and Calvin Klein have leveraged the power of celebrity endorsements by working with the biggest names in the game to promote new products, build a hype around events, and boost brand image.

Celebrity endorsement examples

At this point, everyone and their mothers have heard of the affordable clothing brand Fashion Nova. And part of the fame of the brand comes from its partnerships with a long line of celebrities, including Kylie Jenner, Blac Chyna, and Christina Milian, who promote its trendy line of jeans, dresses, shoes, and everything in between. These celebrity endorsements have taken Fashion Nova from relative obscurity to massive popularity, with the brand now boasting 17.4 million followers on Instagram.

More recently, Fashion Nova worked with rapper Cardi B to launch a special branded collection after the artist mentioned the brand in her hit song “She Bad.” While the FNxCardi collection didn’t launch until midnight Pacific time, the 82-piece collection sold out within minutes of hitting the website.

The celebrity endorsement was extremely successful, not only because Cardi B is a beloved artist and public figure, but also because she is an authentic fan of the brand. Richard Saghian, founder and CEO of Fashion Nova, commented, “Cardi’s been wearing Fashion Nova for years, before her music career took off. She’s part of the family.”

Who is considered an expert?

Experts are people who have specialized knowledge in a certain industry. They’re especially valued in industries like health and fitness, where a lot of knowledge and experience is required. Think doctors, fitness instructors, dieticians, and so on. Experts are consumers’ most trusted source when it comes to getting advice and recommendations, because they typically have legitimate credentials to back up their expert status.

Why brands work with experts

Ever hear the line “Recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists” in a toothpaste commercial? There’s a reason why. Because experts’ knowledge and experience is valued, brands work with them to educate consumers, provide transparency, and establish credibility in their industries. Particularly in saturated industries like health and wellness, it is hard for consumers to differentiate between legitimate products and fads. But with an expert’s endorsement, consumers will trust your brand’s message and products over your competitors’.

Expert endorsement examples

Take a look at The Peanut Institute’s partnership with Rachel Paul — perhaps better known as @collegenutritionist. Rachel is not only a Registered Dietician, but she also has a PhD in Behavioral Nutrition. On her blog and Instagram, she dishes out well-balanced meal prep ideas everyday.

In her caption, she shares a healthy pancake recipe using peanut butter and uses her expertise to explain the scientific benefits of incorporating peanuts into your diet. It’s no surprise that her post is flooded with comments about how delicious the recipe looks and questions about the macros of the dish.

Whose endorsement is better?

It depends. Based on your unique marketing goals, it may make more sense to work with celebrities over experts, or vice versa.

Celebrity endorsement advantages

To understand the importance of celebrity endorsements, we must go over the benefits of working with the A-listers.

Since celebrities are widely known around the world, they have massive reach. So, work with celebrities if your goal is to increase awareness and get in front of a large audience.

Additionally, some celebrities are extremely vocal about supporting a specific issue or cause. Typically, the public already has wide knowledge of what the celebrity is passionate about. So, if you’re trying to break into a certain niche and know of a celebrity who would be the perfect spokesperson, celebrity endorsements may work to your benefit.

Not only will the celebrity endorsement seem authentic, but tying your partnership to an important cause will likely help increase conversions. In fact, 76% of young consumers said that they have either purchased or would consider purchasing a brand or product to show support for the issues a brand supported.

For instance, Leonard DiCaprio is a passionate environmentalist with his own climate change fund. If your brand is, for example, a sustainable company with a mission to help reduce consumers’ carbon footprint, working with a celebrity like Leonardo DiCaprio may make a big difference.

Expert endorsement advantages

Expert endorsements are better than celebrity endorsements if your goal is to establish true credibility in your industry. Because experts have licenses and certificates to back up their knowledge and experiences, they have the ability to talk about your products in a way that instills trust in consumers. For instance, you (as a consumer) would trust a facial cream more if it was endorsed by a dermatologist.

With an expert endorsement, consumers know exactly what to expect and the proven benefits of the product you’re selling. By extension, an expert endorsement may make or break a consumer’s decision to purchase from your company over a competitor.

Additionally, working with an expert can be helpful if your goal is to educate consumers on your product or the industry you operate in. For instance, if your brand belongs to an industry like cannabis and CBD — which is still clouded in stigma and confusion — it is immensely helpful for a health professional to explain the science behind the product.

Leverage your community

When looking for a third-party partner to advocate for your product, think about your unique marketing goals. If your goal is centered around brand awareness, celebrity endorsements may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you want to establish credibility, build trust, and educate consumers, expert endorsements may be better. In both cases, take advantage of each community member’s ability to influence their audiences by building meaningful partnerships.


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