by Uche Briggs
His ability to switch effortlessly between Yoruba and unblemished English in his art is what firmly situates him within the confluence of modernity and tradition, a union that totally characterises the Orijin brand.
Building brand equity is the number one task of the brand manager and what a terrific one it is. The brand manager is saddled with the responsibility of employing a unique combination of the scientific and artistic to create enduring impressions of a brand in the minds of the consumer. Brand building is a painstaking process where every detail and interaction between the brand and the consumer culminates in that single portrait. Enduring, intangible, but real.
Celebrity endorsements is one of the ways brands create that enduring imagery in the consumers mind. Associations help to solidify the communication process by building on the Classical Conditioning in the mind space of the target audience (see Ivan Pavlovs experiment). Over the years, the Nigerian marketing space has witnessed its fair share of celebrity endorsements which have ranged from the simply sublime, to the downright disastrous. But nothing in a long time has presented such a remarkable piece for analysis as the recent signing of multi-talented hip hop artist Reminisce by Diageos soaring brand Orijin.
Celebrity endorsements work by the Meanings Transfer Model (by McCracken circa 1989). The model basically stipulates that when a celebrity is involved in an advert, they carry their symbolism with them. There are sets of perceived meanings society confers upon celebrities, and upon interaction these meanings are transferred to the brand. So if a celeb is perceived as trendy, the brand (s)he endorses is most likely to be perceived as trendy. This explains why utmost care must be taken when choosing a brand ambassador because the individual views attached to the celebrity, ultimately gets transferred to the brand.
It is also important to note that the exchange between society and the celebrity is dynamic and as such the associated meanings, views and impressions are in a constant state of flux. A celebrity can be perceived as hip today and in split second cut the image of a relic of ages long gone. A classical case in point is Tiger Woods plunge from family guy to philanderer in the eyes of his fans. This is the reason why the entire process of the celebrity endorsement must be carefully managed to deliver on best results.
Reminisce typifies the Orijin brand with his authenticity and ability to connect with the streets and the modern man at once. His ability to switch effortlessly between Yoruba and unblemished English in his art is what firmly situates him within the confluence of modernity and tradition, a union that totally characterises the Orijin brand. This versatility is what makes Reminisce most appealing. He can at once be the Alaga Ibile (King of Streets) and as well a thought provoking individual who is well versed in poetry, politics and prose. The Orijin brand finds itself in a somewhat similar position; a strategic position between the bitters market and the tonic and juice market. After gaining such admirable traction in the first year post-launch, the natural progression will be to solidify the imagery of the brand in the minds of the consumer. The recent unveiling of Reminisce as it’s brand ambassador is a perfect way to build that association.
The social media analytics post-unveil buttresses the points stressed above. Apart from trending on Twitter, the reach for the Reminisce handle peaked at above 7million accounts with an impact of over 21million. The keyword ’Orijin reached over 6million accounts with an impact of over 13million. (Source: Tweet Binder). More importantly, the sentiment analysis for the tweets showed no negative sentiments for a 500-tweet sample with 77% positive sentiment and 23% neutral (Source: TweetAnalysis). The summary of this is: Orijin had found a perfect match.
In choosing a fitting brand ambassador, the brand owner must have a clear and unambiguous picture of the brand personality. A brand personality audit is important and this can be carried out using simple instruments such as the Prof. Jennifer Aaker Brand Personality Scale and David Aakers Corporate Character Scale depending on the specific situation. The personality traits for the brand can then serve as the benchmark for which the character traits of the celebrity can be matched.
Uche Briggs is a brand manager resident in Lagos. He tweets from @UcheBriggs
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.