Global Brand v Global Celebrities
“The marketing world is in a state of flux – driven by parallel trends of globalisation and digitisation,” SapientNitro vp of global marketing strategy Freddie Laker said at the SapientNitro Global Brand vs Global Celebrities: Who’s The Smarter Marketer? debate in Cannes. “A new global marketing mindset needs to resolve how senior marketers should react to a world which is fundamentally different from when they started their careers.”
Laker also revealed the results of a SapientNitro survey of global CMOs, which found that just 48% of respondents felt prepared to handle the growing complexity of marketing while only 20% considered themselves very knowledgeable about technology.
Laker moderated the debate between House actor Omar Epps and his SapientNitro colleague Darren McColl, who kicked off by arguing that success for global brands comes from thinking, acting and behaving from a core purpose. “Great global brands adapt to accommodate various cultures whereas celebrities remain the same,” he said.
Epps countered that celebrities lead popular culture in ways that brands can rarely achieve. “Authenticity is one of the keys to celebrity, which allows us to transition through different markets with one message.”
He pointed to the long-running relationship between Michael Jordan and Nike. “When Nike signed Michael Jordan to endorse their brand, it shifted the power base of athletic footwear to Nike’s advantage overnight. It was all because of Jordan’s relevance to the consumer base and global culture – a relevance that exists to this day.”
But who leads marketing innovation?
“Brands are using their innovation budgets to reinvent experiences, not just content,” said McColl. “We don’t see any innovations that redefine experiences from celebrities, do we?”
But Epps came up with the example of the BeeYoo, a platform enabling celebrities to share, control and monetise their content. It boasts over 200 celebrities with 1 to 60 million followers across their social networks, and acts as a matchmaking service to connect brands and celebrities for custom content. He claimed it was more powerful than a traditional endorsement scenario and benefitted both brands and celebrities.