Branding research – the new face of marketing

I’m sick of David Beckham. He’s everywhere. He’s basically stalking me and I can’t get away from him. Okay, okay, I admit it, I haven’t got a crazy fan – I’m talking about David Beckham ‘the endorsement’. He’s in my magazines, popping up on my screen, and all over my TV in advertising campaigns for a huge variety of products. With news emerging this week that Beckham is making more money now than he ever did during his football career – his highest ever annual income occurred in 2014, his first full year of retirement – I can see why he’s taking on so many endorsements. His face is a money-making machine so why would he not make the most of this while he can?

Well, it turns out that Beckham’s adverts may be doing more harm than good. I’ve been reading some interesting research which shows that UK brands are experiencing a real backlash to their advertising, especially when coupled with a ‘celebrity’ endorsement. As an ex-marketing student, and someone who is still very keen to learn more about recent developments in brand promotion, this kind of research really intrigues me.

While I personally have nothing against our national sporting treasure, David Beckham has been putting his name to clothing, toiletries, accessories, perfume and more in order to earn his $75million last year and it transpires that us Brits are getting sick of it. But it’s not only Beckham that has come under fire in this research: Peter Andre, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Mark Wright have all been voted into the top 5 most over-exposed celebrities. As savvy consumers, most of us recognise an ‘empty’ brand association and 88% of Brits believe that celebrities only endorse products for financial gain, which immediately puts us off.

Consumer trend insight company LSN: Global have investigated this marketing backlash and puts it down to social media; “thanks to peer-to-peer culture, people now look up to friends and local heroes who live just down the road”. It turns out that we are more inspired by people we know and uphold professionals who have achieved great success in their field and are admired for their achievements. But how can brands use this information to improve their own promotional offerings to the public?

One brand that is way ahead of the curve is Wickes, who have already shunned celebrity endorsements in favour of promoting the skills and knowledge of trade professionals. This brand has been listening to what their customers want – 53% of us would now prefer to see ‘real people’ in adverts – and rather than seeking out super-star endorsements, they have created a range of real project videos in collaboration with people who have achieved notable success in their professional field.

I’ve had a look at the new Wickes videos on Vimeo and I really enjoyed seeing real life DIY projects being built on the screen. Especially fun for me was watching Alex Haw creating a fun ‘catwalk’ for his cat Suxy, and I’d love to recreate this at home for Cookie and Muffin, if only I had the room for it! Just watch it for yourself – that cat is living in the lap of luxury and having a great of a time.

Wickes #ProjectPossible: Timber, a chic catwalk from on Vimeo.

So do you think that the way forward in brand marketing is through telling real stories rather than celebrity endorsement? Or would you miss Peter Andre if he wasn’t telling you what bargains you can get in Iceland? What have you done in your own business to reflect this marketing trend? I’d love it if you shared your ideas so please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy.

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

4 Responses

  1. Agreed Sarah, I think that ‘hollow’ celeb endorsements, when you just know that there’s no way that celeb has shopped there before, doesn’t fool anyone! X

  2. I totally agree Laura & it is becoming the same for blogs, definitely! Haha, same here, cookie and muffin would love it 😀

  3. What an interesting post. I think it’s a fine balance really. I think I’m still influenced by certain celebrities when they choose well and don’t over saturate themselves by aligning to too many brands, as long as it feels credible. It’s the same blogs, if I read a blog and every single post has asterisks on it, I’m less inclined to believe their endorsement than if they only sometimes review freebies. Also, I want that catwalk, my cats would go nuts for that!!! xx

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