Celebrity Branding and Product Branding: Similarities and Differences

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KISHOLOY ROY Asst. Professor Instt. Of Business Management, Kolkata



Author’s Biography in Brief: Kisholoy Roy is an Accredited Management Teacher (AMT) certified by AIMA, New Delhi. He has over 10 years of professional experience including stints in the industry, research and academics. His teaching and research domains include marketing, branding, retail and advertising.


Celebrity Branding and Product Branding: Similarities and Differences

Abstract The term celebrity branding is often confused with a similar sounding and decipherable term called celebrity endorsement. While in case of the later, celebrities from various professional domains are found to vouch for or endorse products, the concept of celebrity branding is how a personality shapes himself or herself as an attractive, well defined and saleable brand. It deals with what a celebrity does to his career and the way he conducts himself or herself in the public space that enhances his or her appeal and that makes marketers trust the saleability of the personality. It is because of this that celebrity branding is often referred to as personality branding. This paper focuses on the similarities and differences that exist between product brands and celebrity or personal brands.


Celebrity Branding and Product Branding: Similarities and Differences A branding expert once opined, “In one-quarter of a second, a person makes up his or her mind about you. In the first five seconds, a person’s first impression of you flips back and forth 11 times. Your first impression is more important than next five combined.” Similar opinion regarding personal branding was echoed by Niranjan Natarajan of Why Axis, an advertising firm when he observed, “You have to live the promise 24x7. In a personal brand, perceptions are being formed by everybody, every minute.” The observations highlight the importance and criticality of personal branding in today’s world. Celebrities and brands have several similarities so to say. While branding a product or service, the brand architects need to be extremely clear about what the identity of their brand should be; what the brand should stand for. They need to develop a competitive positioning for a specific brand vis-à-vis the other existing brands. Similarly, celebrities should stick to a particular identity for themselves. They need to understand the image they would be most comfortable with and project the same to the society in a very precise manner through the media so that it is not wrongly interpreted by the audience due to the presence of various external elements interfering with the communication process (Exhibit-I). Sujata Keshavan, a Bangalore-based brand consultant averred in this context, “In order to succeed as a personal brand, you need to have complete clarity and a profound understanding of who you are, what you stand for and what you want to be known for and remembered as.” Just like product/service brands, when a particular celebrity’s name is mentioned, it should conjure up a distinct image, opinion and character about him/her. A corporate brand requires the aid of advertising agencies and brand experts to seek


Exhibit-I The Identity-Image Model
Sender Receiver Brand Identity Signals Other sources of Inspiration • • • Mimicry Opportunism Idealism Transmitted Image Brand Media

Competition and Noise

Source: Kapferer Jean-Noel, Strategic Brand Management

a desired image. Similarly, celebrity brand owners require the services of image consultants and PR agencies who ensure that the celebrity is not just always in news but is also able to command a huge fan following. International celebrities like Madonna, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, David Beckham and Indian celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are some examples to cite in this context. While defining a celebrity brand, Harish...
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