The internet represents the daily interactions and information sharing among the world population, making it the most universal means of communication. However, as a result of technological advancements, the development of social online networking has provided a new phase of communication in the recent world. In the 21st century, social media has become one of the most convenient and significant business development tools due to its ability to connect the world into a ‘global village'. According to QURESHI & MALIK, (2017), social media networking has led to the creation of virtual communities, which the actual physical world would never meet. Current social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been proven to greatly affect and influence the consumer business process, especially with making their purchasing decisions.
The development of the Web is among the most outstanding developments in the growth of e-commerce. Social networking is the most common online platform of the web allowing the exchange of information on an network. This technical revolution has significantly transformed the traditional marketing approaches and has enabled consumers to connect and interact with their friends, co-workers and family to exchange important information regarding certain product brands. Customer involvement through social media has become a key factor in marketing, especially in the 21st century (QURESHI & MALIK, 2017).
Celebrity endorsement refers to a product promotion techniques which includes the recognized celebrity, i.e. a sports star or famous musician, speaking and recommending the purchase of a certain brand or product. In the current world, it is one of the most famous and effective promotional techniques used by top-level organizations to attract and convince their potential customers. For Instance, Nike uses tennis star Rafael Nadal as its brand ambassador and he always endorses Nike products. With the widespread usage of Social Media across the different demographic aspects, marketers need to understand their social media environment and implement the most effective marketing strategy to reach out and convince their customers (Pütter, 2017).
Consumers mainly use the online platform internet as a channel for information dissemination, entertainment, and social perspectives (Heinonen, 2011). Hawkins and Mothersbauugh (2010) further explain that online networking precipitates the communication pattern through the wide involvement, contributions and information exchange. Heinonen (2011) describes a positive correlation between social media and consumer product perceptions and further justifies that social media affects the attitude and purchasing intentions of the consumer. Social media influences the consumer's perceptions during the different phases of their product purchasing process. It has changed the manner in which consumers behave in their consumption. This paper provides a clear analysis of how social media has played a role in influencing the consumers' behavior and purchase decisions through the incorporation of the internet in the marketing strategy.
According to Putter, (2017), the Web creates a platform for a customer to customer interaction about brands and products and therefore represent an ideal tool for electronic word-of-mouth. Consumer's social media use influences his/her service expectations, the foundation of habits, engagement with firms, involvement in value co-creation, brand loyalty and purchasing behavior, and eventually the general reputation of the organization (Duffett, 2017). Celebrity endorsement as a marketing a strategy offers enhanced brand popularity provides social support for consumers, enhances the word-of-mouth communication and increases the sales of the organization (QURESHI & MALIK, 2017). Networking of individuals through celebrity branding provides shared values leading to consumer trust and brand loyalty.
Previous researches have confirmed that having a celebrity to endorse your product/service as an organization increases both the sales and brand awareness of the company (Pütter, 2017). Consumers have certain opinions and views about celebrities, and therefore the involvement of a celebrity in your brand marketing positively influences the customers belief in your product. A celebrity's social image has great influence on consumers purchase decision for the marketed product and is quite influential in effecting their desire and motives for purchasing this specific brand. The buyer's decisions are influenced by numerous stimuli from their social environment, therefore a company that uses a celebrity to endorse their brand stands at a higher chance to positively influence the purchasing decision of their customers, in the long run, increasing their sales.
Celebrities through their social media platforms provide a reliable and effective source of information on the branded product and offer the consumers with the best possible brand among a multiple of product choices. Professional celebrities are perceived as trusted and legitimate individuals, with a credible and reliable information. They are also important in the communication and sharing information to potential customers electronically through the word-of-mouth. They provide recommendations and shared comments thought their sites, creating a valuable source of information to the consumers in regard to product quality and efficiency. In doing this, the celebrity endorser's public image is translated to the brand image, thereby influencing the consumer's purchase intentions (Pütter, 2017).
According to QURESHI & MALIK, (2017), Company use of a celebrity endorser influences the brand recall and consumer buying behavior leading to advertisement efficiencies. An organization may use a celebrity to create unique adverts and make the consumer develop a positive attitude towards the brand. When a celebrity endorses your product, the product becomes more appealing, noticeable and compelling to the customer, this improves the overall customer engagement in the marketing process (QURESHI & MALIK, 2017). Celebrity endorsement is the present feature of modern marketing and therefore companies use them to make their advertisement stand out. International recognized celebrities may provide gateways to international markets, there overcoming any cultural and language constraints of some consumers.
Likability, similarity, and familiarity traits of a celebrity endorser affect the consumer's willingness to purchase and motivation in achieving product trust and loyalty. The diversification of physiological needs, biological needs and socials needs among consumers, explains how the level of motivation influences the customer's buying behavior. Celebrity endorsers are publicly recognized figures and therefore convincingly inspire the consumers' minds and intentions to buy the product (Pütter, 2017) . This makes the customer develop a purchase motivation making them more interested in buying the specific product, it also motivates the customer's attention towards the product brand. Consumers eventually get the satisfaction of the product making them have a positive attitude towards the brand, hence customer loyalty.
However, several scholars have proposed that celebrity endorsement is likely to affect the brand reputation if the celebrity has a poor public image/reputation. Duffet (2017) argues that celebrities included in scandals and with a negative reputation hold the likely risk of brand failure, especially for newly released brands or those with a strong connection with the celebrity. However, additional research has shown that a celebrity endorser with an attractive reputation may lower the consumers' self-esteem and eventually make them have a negative influence on their buying perceptions. Though having a celebrity endorser with an unattractive public image could possibly increase consumers' self-esteem and have a positive effect on the consumers' buying intentions (Pütter, 2017).
It is true that the internet and social media plays a part in influencing the consumer behavior. Previous researches have shown that social media has been effective in positively influencing the consumers purchase intentions, buying behavior, motivation as well as the social awareness of various brands. Celebrity endorsement as a feature of modern advertising holds the future for modern day marketing and customer awareness creation. Companies must choose the right celebrities with appropriate attributes in order to successfully market their brands. There exists a theoretical gap in the relationship between a celebrity and the consumer, which prompts or further research on the area. Celebrity endorsement as a marketing strategy is significant in influencing the consumer's purchase intentions an attitude towards the brand (Pütter, 2017). Celebrity endorsers are therefore key to increasing the company's brand awareness and positively influencing the behavioral consumer patterns in relation to product purchase.
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