MS Dhoni, just a while ago, announced giving up of captaincy of Indian cricket team in the one-day internationals and T20 internationals, but he certainly remains one of the most influential sports personalities in the world in terms of brand value worth US$ 11 million.; alongwith him being slated at No. 10 in the Forbes Fab 40 2016 list of the biggest sports brands in the world.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the 35-year-old Indian cricket team captain had given up the Test captaincy back in 2014 after the Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne. Dhoni is the only captain in the world to win all the three trophies namely the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 2011 One-day World Cup and the 2014 Champions Trophy and is also the one to elevate his Test team to the top of the world rankings. With this momentous a personality, the persuasiveness and charm of MS Dhoni as a brand, are matchless and hence his endorsements for services, products, ideas or organisations is absolutely justifiable.
Apart from being one of the fundamentals of the society and economic systems for consumers and businesses; advertising helps deliver carefully prepared messages to target audiences, thus facilitating marketing programs of the products and services. Today celebrity endorsements have become one of the most popular forms of advertising (Choi &Rifon, 2007). Celebrity endorsement if used effectively makes the brand stand out, enhances brand recall and accelerates instant awareness. Celebrity Endorsement is a way to get the brand rightly noticed amidst the rush and competition that predominantly exists in the market place. Let’s explore on what is it that makes MS Dhoni a powerful brand!
Instant Brand Awareness and Brand Recall: Dhoni is a person with great popular appeal, prominence in the sports arena, and is easily recognised by the public at large giving huge scope for brand awareness. He also has been in the public eye frequently and typically maintains a positive profile in his sports career, making him perfect for triggering a great brand recall.
Authenticity: The phenomenal growth of media has initiated a plethora of self-styled celebrities, sometimes without any discernible talent; whilst some authentic celebrities like Dhoni carve an exceptional niche for themselves and help lend credibility and practicality to a brand and influence the target audience, as originally perceived in the brand’s interest.
Defines new dimensions to a brand’s image: Dhoni, as quoted by a sports magazine, has a malleable personality, is able to cope with challenges, adaptable to change, is firmly rooted to the fierce desire of winning, has a heart to admit mistakes, etc. making him apt for an array of brands like Aircel, Cello, Pepsi, Reeebok, Siyaram’s, Orient Fans, etc. Hence the personality of a celebrity redefines the brand’s image and adds value to it owing to the relevance that consumers can ascertain between the brand and its ambassador.
Convincing consumers: Larger sections of the society believe that if a product is good enough for a star, it is good enough for them. In terms of consumer satisfaction after buying a product that involves celebrity endorsers, the consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a premium product of a high quality simply because the celebrity endorser has a more positive image and is well-respected. The ability of a consumer to buy is directly dependent on the consumer’s lifestyle, preferences, budget, etc. but it is indirectly and largely influenced by the endorser at most times!
To conclude, celebrities constantly play an ever greater role in modern culture and consumption patterns, serving as arbitrators of taste, style and public opinion across the world. Their endorsement enables them to bring attention, credibility and other ethereal benefits to a brand in a way that no other type of advertising can. This new global approach elucidates ways in which marketers are exploiting celebrity power to create an emotional bond with the consumer and thus inflate sales.