Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
Ryan Lochte’s performance at the 2016 Olympics is the last thing on people’s minds when they think about the professional swimmer. After years of training, Lochte lost all of his credibility after the fabricated story he told about being robbed in Rio. Before the lie spread, Lochte was the face of companies such as Ralph Lauren and Speedo. He was a trusted figure whose fans looked up to and believed in. However, Lochte learned fast that no matter how successful you are, everything can change with just one scandal. After Lochte’s story many of his sponsors dropped him and his image has been tarnished.
In The Content Code Mark W. Schaefer introduces the three best influencers to push a company’s content. These influencers include “the niche influencer,” “the true advocate,” and “the celebrity.” When starting out getting big names will be expensive and challenging so a company’s best bet would be getting “true advocates,” people who truly believe in what you are promoting, to help push your message forward. However, as we know, people are more likely to trust content if someone familiar is promoting it. Celebrity endorsements may be costly, but they are proven extremely effective and have been used since the beginning of advertisement.
It seems simple, if a company has the money, a celebrity endorsement is the way to go. However, as Schaefer explains there is always a risk when building a business. Just like the Ryan Lochte example, one little misstep can completely destroy a celebrity’s credibility. Schaefer says “Aligning with a celebrity can be risky, as dozens of brands have learned…” (131). So while it may seem difficult to get trending without big names sharing your content, there are always pros and cons to every side. Without trust your content will never trend. However, even if your content/ business does make it to the top, trust can be lost at any second.
When deciding how to promote content, having a sponsor who truly believes in the message seems to be the most beneficial way to spread content. Big names may do an amazing job bringing attention to something, but the passion is not there. The public is not naïve, they are exposed to content all the time and know when to call your bluff. So even though a celebrity endorsement seems like the easy (and expensive) way to the top, it does not maintain the transparency you need to stay there.