by Kehinde Ajose
The shoes BoI gave to Dbanj are just too big for him to wear. The key to choosing a right brand ambassador is to match their personality with that of the brand.
The wedlock of celebrities and brands should be one that gives birth to profitability, customer engagement, increased sales, and consumer attention. Celebrities are seen as thought leaders, role models, and even their lifestyles is usually the gossip topic on lazy evening hangouts. Integrating a celebrity to a brand increases the chances of it being sold. This makes companies engage a famous face to jumpstart their patronage and market value. Brand ambassadors help to get the consumers’ attention, link the brand with their own personal image, and associate their positive attributes with that of the brand they are representing. It therefore becomes chaotic when the wrong celebrity endorses the right brand or when the right celebrity endorses the wrong brand. Choosing a brand ambassador is not just about picking any popular face, (like we do here in Nigeria) it’s about picking a personality whose values, ethics, and lifestyle embodies the brand he/she is representing.
According to Eurostar.com: “The primary role of the brand ambassador is to personify the values intrinsic to the brand. The key to choosing a right brand ambassador is to match their personality with that of the brand.”
Mr. Dapo Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj, recently clinched the Bank of Industry (BoI) brand ambassadorship deal which really got me thinking. The BoI mandate according to her website simply reads: “Providing financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects as well as expansion , diversification and modernization of existing enterprises ;and rehabilitation of ailing ones.”
I cannot therefore decipher the connection between the Kokomaster’s personality and BoI’s mandate. Here is a young Nigerian whose music revolves around a ‘Kokolette’s body, fast cars, and his glamour infested celebrity life. During the Occupy Nigeria fuel subsidy protest, D’banj proudly flaunted his disinterest in politics and anything of national interest. In the interview he granted an online news platform, SaharaReporters, he said he is a busy musician who has no interest in politics and knows nothing about fuel subsidy protests. The Kokomaster is usually not concerned with issues of national interest (rehabilitating the economy and businesses) other than his ‘Koko’ and his Oliver twist ambitions. Mr. Endowned is focused on building a strong DKM (D’Koko Master) empire not on helping BoI to sustain her mandate of helping ailing businesses get back on their feet. How many showbiz entrepreneurs has D’banj assisted in creating a sustainable entertainment venture? The shoes BoI gave to Dbanj is just too big for him to wear. The key to choosing a right brand ambassador is to match their personality with that of the brand.
Choosing a brand ambassador creates an association. The brand ambassador is consciously associated with your brand. Whenever the brand ambassador’s career witnesses a decline, it will automatically have a spiral effect on the brand. What was Starcomms thinking when they picked Nneka has her brand ambassador? What was Soulmate thinking when they picked Mo’cheddah and Kel as her brand ambassadors? These are talented damsels who are not mainstream hip-hop artistes. Starcomms is a brand for the mainstream and choosing Nneka who appeals to a particular kind of audience is just a mismatch that won’t generate much return on investment. Soulmate is a hair product meant for the everyday Nigerian woman. A celeb like Omawunmi, Tiwa savage, Stephanie Linus, Joke Silva or Kate Henshaw would have been right candidates. According to Gbenga Adebija of Ashton and Layton, “Companies have not tried to achieve a strategic fit between their brands and the chosen ambassadors. The observable trend is that companies simply select a known face and a name to endorse their brand without considering alignment and synchronization between the ambassador and the brand. It is therefore difficult to strike the necessary equilibrium required for the optimal brand equity benefits.”
Your choice of a brand ambassador must be rooted in the personality of your brand ambassador and that of your target market. Your brand ambassador is the voice of your brand, not just another known face on your product. Brand managers should focus more on using individuals whose personalities, values, skills, are in harmony with the marketing rhythm they desire to create. Enough of square pegs in round holes.
Kehinde Ajose is a talent development strategist, publicist, and blogger. He tweets from @splendidkenny
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.