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Celebrity Endorsements

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Mark Alexander
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"Endorsements can be a great benefit to any small business, but they're especially beneficial to start-ups," explains marketing expert Patrick Bishop, co-author of Money Tree Marketing: Innovative Secrets That Will Double Your Small-Business Profits in 90 Days or Less.

And image is everything (or nothing, according to Sprite, whose ad campaign with NBA star Grant Hill, by the way, is a good example of a celebrity endorsement).

"How do [customers] know if this business is reputable or has good products, good guarantees or good customer service?"

On the other hand, if a celebrity is endorsing them or [the business] is selling the products of a well-known person or entity, then [people assume] they must be a good company to deal with."

A number of start-ups have jumped on the endorsement bandwagon, including Priceline.com with William Shatner, eStyle with Cindy Crawford and online gift currency company Flooz.com Inc. with Whoopi Goldberg.

Flooz co-founder and CEO Robert Levitan says he's seen brand awareness jump from 7 to 64 percent since bringing Goldberg aboard a couple years ago.

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