Why Celebrities Build Brands Based on the Butterfield Subscription Model

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Interbrand’s Group Chief Strategy Officer, Leslie Butterfield, is a branding and advertising professional who has worked for Mercedes-Benz, British Airways and some of the world’s most successful brands. Butterfield created a model outlining how celebrities successfully promote brands.

Here is a ‘Readers Digest’ version of the Butterfield Model and the subscription decision process from his book ADVALUE: Twenty ways advertising works for business.

“Two of the key drivers of identification-a kind of surrogate for ‘subscription’-are ‘awareness’ (have I heard of them?) and ‘familiarity’ (do I know anything about them?)

Awareness: “Have I heard of this organization/institution/individual?” Celebrities use their fame to cut through thousands of messages that we are inundated with on a daily basis.

Visualization: “Do I have a ‘picture’ of who they are/what they ‘stand for’/even what images come to mind?” Celebrities are so recognizable, and therefore quite effective, with a new product introduction or campaign when initial recognition is low.

Familiarity: “Do I know something about them?” Our obsession with the lives of celebrities and the media’s willingness to profile who they are, what they do, and what they like, helps a brand become familiar to consumers.

Resonance: “Do they ‘mean’ anything to me (actions, behaviours, values etc.)? Do they have any direct linkages or usages in my past/present/future life?” We want to relate to our favorite celebrities. Find things in common with them. Use the same products and services they do. We want to be like them. This creates a high level of resonance, making us feel closer to our favorite stars.

Disposition: “Do I like them/emphathise with them?” This may be the most important factor determining the success of a celebrity backed campaign. We naturally want to associate with people and things we like.   As fans, we follow celebrities closely who sing, act and perform feats of greatness we can only dream about doing.

Subscription: “Will I use/visit/support/recommend etc. this brand at a relevant moment now or in the future?” Future purchase is now being considered.  Sales and market share have increased when brands pair a ‘big’ idea with a celebrity who scores highly with the target audience.

Click on the link for ADVALUE to read more about the Butterfield Model and Leslie Butterfield’s insights into branding, http://www.amazon.com/AdValue-Leslie-Butterfield/dp/0750655011

This article was based on Leslie Butterfield’s book ADVALUE: Twenty Ways Advertising Works for Business. Applying the model to your celebrity selection process can greatly improve any celebrity marketing campaign and help it stand out from the competition. It is a must read for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


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