INFLUENCE OF CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT OF SMARTPHONES IN CREATING CUSTOMER LOYALTY AMONG UNIVERSITY YOUTH IN NAIROBI

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ABSTRACT
The main focus of this study is Celebrity endorsement. The subject of the study is local and international celebrities whose attributes are used for their endorsement effect on customer loyalty for smart-phone brands. Growing business competition globally has forced marketers to adopt different strategies to beat competitors. In the last two decades, advertisement using celebrities has become common in modern competitive marketing environment for high recognition and creation of strong product perception. The study sought to find out the effect of celebrity credibility and physical attractiveness on customer loyalty to the brand endorsed. A mixed method approach was adopted where a survey involving 250 youth respondents, interviews with key informants from at least four mobile phone companies and three focus group discussion were conducted. Quantitative data collected analyzed using the SPSS software while the qualitative data was analyzed thematically. Conclusion drawn from the analysis is that celebrity endorsement is effective in influencing sales but customer loyalty is majorly influenced by consumer experience. This, therefore, was in agreement with the meaning transfer theory and contradicted the source credibility and physical attractiveness theories. The study recommends that Smartphone companies should invest more in their technology to better customer experience as opposed to celebrity endorsement.

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