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What is Your Brand Ambassador’s Real Price?

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The recent Tiger Woods Fiasco is all over the media. What started as a small parking accident transpired into a bizarre series of catastrophic events as far as Tiger Wood’s reputation is considered. Tiger Woods has come out in the open and accepted infidelity which was the real cause of the accident. The ramifications have been of gigantic proportions with Tiger Woods set to loose millions of dollars in endorsement revenues.

price_of_brand_ambassador

Accenture was quick to act on the issue and has almost disassociated the Brand Accenture from Tiger Woods. It is noteworthy that Accenture has had Tiger Woods as their brand ambassador for quite sometime and done it successfully too. The whole advertising campaign around Tiger Woods Golfing glory aligned perfectly with Accenture Values  and the association has been a hit.Accenture has pulled the plug and removed Tiger Woods from their website with P&G supposedly coming out with the same.

It is disturbing to see the reputation of an iconic figure like Tiger Woods fizzle out in no time. What is even more disturbing is the fact, that the brands that he endorses have been super quick to react on the situation.

It got me thinking?

Isn’t a brand ambassador like in the case of Tiger Woods selected for their professional (on-court) conduct?

I am in no way supporting or siding with Tiger Woods on the matter of Infidelity. It is a ghastly act in itself. My question has got more to do with the whole dynamics of the choosing a brand ambassador and the how the endorsement fee is decided upon.

The endorsement deal value for sport stars is huge running into millions of dollars.But, what is that price decided on.IMO,

The professional achievements of the endorser and the alignment of those achievements with the brand’s values

So, why should personal (off-court) behavior of a brand ambassador be of prime value? I am sure that the issue in Tiger Wood’s case is a way over the line, but we have seen cases where brand ambassador’s behavior in public has got them a lot of flak.

I had the opportunity to discuss the same with and the points made by her were enlightening and justified.She hit the nail by saying,

“a brand amb. is a shortcut for your brand, like a mascot. so you can’t have major dissonance.” (Source)

I think this makes it evident that A brand ambassador’s off-court behavior is under the radar too. Not that personal conducts shouldn’t be governed by ethics and morale, but from a professional point of view, Is a Brand Ambassador giving rights to his/her personal life too with a Brand Endorsement Deal

More than that, Does The Endorsement Deal value factor in the price of paying for buying rights into the personal conduct of its mascot?

How much importance is assigned to personal conduct while selecting a professional as the Brand Mascot? I understand that there has to be harmony in the professional and the personal conduct for an individual, but is the price one receives accounts for both conducts.

I would love to know your thoughts on this ? I do not understand the nuances of branding and endorsements, but i would like to educate myself with what you have to say.

  1. akhilsethi says

    Ankit your Question ~ Isn’t a brand ambassador like in the case of Tiger Woods selected for their professional (on-court) conduct?… is absolutely right in this respect.

    However u hv mentioned the brands that dis-associated themselves from TigerWoods after this fiasco, but there r big brands like Nike and Electronic Arts which r still sticking to him bcoz of his on-field (on-court) conduct. Nike (has a $30-million deal) said .. “He is the best golfer in the world and one of the greatest athletes of his era,”.

    The source can b accessed ~ http://industry.bnet.com/advertising/10005016/the-tiger-woods-sponsor-deathwatch-at-nike-digs-in-heels/

    I do believe that the brand ambassador used by any company should be in-sync with the core values/or the values that the company wants to portray to its target market. As an eg, when Bank of Baroda did its Re-branding exercise, it used Rahul Dravid bcoz of his Reliable, consistent image.

    1. Ankit says

      I did read the Nike piece Akhil, thanks for sharing it:-)

      This is exactly my point, Nike has stood by tiger woods cos for them his professional values are what matters.However, i am doubly sure that the contract is going to see a revison, cos Tiger Woods is not in a position to bargain and Nike wont mind shelling out a little less( Business after all)

  2. Vishal Sanjay says

    I certainly don’t believe that a brand would need a famous ambassador to promote its name. These are times of viral marketing, look at dell they don’t have any brand ambassador, but they use the power viral marketing to spread their fame. Using of celebrities to promote brands are just short term.

    1. Ankit says

      Yes, Vishal!! Agreed.ZooZoo’s are another example where there aint one and they do just fine!!
      But then, not everyone is DELL.And moreover, the question here is not that one needs a brand ambassador or not!! The discussion here is whether the price parameters rightly take into a/c the personal commitment

  3. Pooja Gupta says

    Wow Madhav…That’s an interesting angle and would surely help in pondering upon my theory in the earlier comment.

  4. Madhav Shivpuri says

    I am interested to know if a brand ambassador has ever severed their contract with a company because the company’s image got tarnished (fraud, bankruptcy etc.) and so it no longer matched the ambassador’s image!

    1. Ankit says

      Agree with Pooja here!!! Interesting research topic:-) I wish Satyam had a brand ambassador:-)

  5. Pooja Gupta says

    Each and every individual is a brand in himself/herself. The individual’s brand value is a sum total of his professional, personal and social behaviors and activities. So, when a company selects a brand ambassador, it selects an individual who has a brand value most close to the company’s brand value. So, when such truths (as in the case of Tiger Woods) come up, they change the brand value of the person and thus, the brand value of the individual and the company no longer matches.

    It is also important to note that brand value of any individual/company is very versatile and is ever-changing.

    1. Ankit says

      I was with you till the last line:-)
      Brand Value of an individual/org should be evolving bt not every changing.The values should build upon t misson statement and not be too versatile.
      However, i do agree that brand endoresement takes into count the holisitc view.My question is? Is that considered while deciding the deal value.
      If for example, i am a brand ambassaador based on wht i do professionally, should my brand value be tarnished if i am found beer-brawling on one rare occasion.I am a human also, aint i

  6. Madhav Shivpuri says

    Look at the Prime Minister or President of India. Men wear Kurta, Chinese collar suit or very rarely (if at all) business suits, and women adorn the sari (related link-http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dress-traditional-speak-in-english-at-swearingin/93174-37.html). Most of them do dress Indian and use the namaste posture – more like “when from Rome, be like a Roman”. They “represent” what their party and supporters stand for.

    I think brand ambassadors are to be like politicians and represent what they stand for… but on second thoughts (on a light note)… if you think about what Nicolas Sarkozy or Bill Clinton represent… well never mind!

    1. Ankit says

      lol!! Intersting U-turn:-)
      Moreover, politicians in my knowledge are the ones who make up values based on t party they stand for.So, i wouldn want a Minister to be a brand ambassador..It l be a pain for the company to keep changing their values:-)

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