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Title: Introducing celebrity corporate brand: moving beyond endorsement and exploring its effect on corporate brand enhancement
Authors: Hambali, Anisah
Advisors: Alwi, S
Balmer, J
Melewar, T
Keywords: Celebrity brand;Human brand;Personal brand;Corporate brand loyalty
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Celebrity endorsement has received academic attention since the 1970s and it has widely been used by companies in their marcom (marketing communications) activities as an effective strategic tool to promote their brands, companies, products and services. Instead of only being appointed as endorsers, this new phenomenon sees how celebrities have changed their roles as human brands and are now better known as celebrity brands. Celebrities, as they are known today, are progressively becoming brands in their own right (i.e. celebrity brand), have their own value, owning their own products and/or services and businesses/companies (i.e. corporate brand), and endorsing other corporate brands too. Companies use celebrity endorsements to position and communicate their individual/product brand image to consumers at large. However, due to the changing marketing environment (from traditional to digital marketing), companies are finding that their communication through celebrity endorsements have become costly and less efficient when trying to project a coherent corporate image and reputation across various audiences. Rather, the new trending phenomenon of celebrity chefs may achieve the desired effect. Unlike other human brands such as CEOs, athletes or artists, which roles limit to either personal or corporate roles, celebrity chefs are unique as they encompass both. Furthermore, they also endorse other brands and corporate brands simultaneously, enabling them to project their own personal and corporate brand as well as the brand they are endorsing. Hence, this study’s novelty lies in the exploration and development of the celebrity chef concept at both the product and corporate brand level of their ‘own’ and ‘endorsed’ activities (termed as celebrity corporate brand or CCB in this study); and operationalises the CCB concept. The study aims to investigate whether a change in the celebrity brand roles by addressing both traits (human personality) and states (brand personality) and by associating it at the corporate brand level, given the best contextual setting, is one of the possible ways to strategically use celebrity brand beyond endorsement in marcom activities. The study has three objectives, which are: 1) to explore the concept of celebrity brand at a corporate brand level, known as Celebrity Corporate Brand – CCB; 2) to investigate the impact of CCB on attitudinal (identification, image and reputation) and behavioural (loyalty) outcomes (termed as corporate brand enhancement); and 3) to develop a holistic conceptual model to understand the consumers attitudinal and behavioural response and association impact of celebrity brand at corporate brand level named as Celebrity Corporate Brand Association Impact on Corporate Brand Enhancement Model. A mixed method approach was employed by using qualitative data (netnography – Study1; and in depths interviews - Study 2) as well as quantitative data (population-based survey experiments – Study 3). A qualitative approach is used to explore the concept and dimensions of CCB, which is later used to assist the items and measure development for Study 3. Data collection was done covering samples selection from the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Random sampling is used to select respondents that fulfilled the criteria required for the study. The study finds that CCB represents and carries his Personal Brand, Product/Service Brand and Corporate Brand. CCB Product Brand refers to the celebrity chefs own developed products and services which are their foods, cookbooks, kitchen utensils. CCB Corporate Brand refers to the celebrity chefs’ businesses, corporations and companies such as their restaurants, colleges and programs. CCB is further conceptualised through the CCB’s Authentic and Functional Quality, CCB’s Cognition and CCB’s Personal Quality. The CCB’s Philosophy also projects the celebrity’s own corporate brand and endorsed activities. CCB Personal Brand refers to the celebrity chefs’ traits such as their interpersonal skills and quality, symbolic value and authenticity; and their and their personality states such as enterprising and technical quality. Theoretically, the research is novel in four different ways: 1) it offers a fresh insight to scholars and practitioners in celebrity endorsement, human or celebrity brand, into how to address the new phenomena of changing consumer and celebrity roles by going beyond the celebrity endorsement concept (i.e. via CCB); 2) it explores, develops, defines and provides measures for the newly developed CCB concept; and 3) it extends the nascent literature on celebrity brand, which explores mainly at product brand level, to corporate brand level (celebrity with personal brand also owning corporate brand), and 4) it test CCB empirically and further investigates its relationship in terms of both attitudinal and behavioural outcomes in an effort to enhance corporate brand (corporate brand enhancement process). Previously, studies on celebrity endorsement only look at the use of celebrity as an endorser and discussion in this area is made based on the Source Model which only discusses the personality traits of the celebrities. In addressing the changing roles of celebrities (having personal brands, product brands and corporate brands), this study defines CCB by including both the celebrity brand personality traits and states and researching its impact on corporate brand enhancement. Furthermore, this study looks at both the attitudinal and behavioural outcome of the CCB on multiple stakeholders (celebrities, consumers and endorsed corporate brands). Methodologically, the study contributes in three ways: (1) a new context (celebrity chefs) is chosen to add new insights to celebrity branding literature; (2) approaching the research with three different studies, namely Study 1- netnography; Study 2 – in depths interviews; and Study 3 – population-based survey experiments; and (3) the inclusion of multiple stakeholders as the samples. Practically, the study proposes marketers to select a new type of celebrity: one that has a personal brand of their own, own product and/or corporate brand to increase the promotional marketing campaign success. Thus, both parties need to work together to build upon their brand strategy to ensure that the consumer identifies closely with them, thereby enhancing their image and reputation and subsequently increasing brand loyalty to the advantage of both parties. Interestingly, once CCB has built upon reputation, this guides the business and marketers to carefully select them in the hope of enhancing its corporate brand. The study’s findings also demonstrate that it is essential to address various audiences in this new era by designing an appropriate positioning and communication strategy. The results will assist businesses and organisations in the context of defining and developing strategy alongside celebrity chefs (as the CCB) with their businesses and the endorsed corporate brands.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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