The Kardashians are one of America’s most notorious families. And they continue to fascinate me. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve seen literally every episode of their TV show since it’s inception in 2007. They’ve amassed an empire that reaches many people across clothing lines, makeup, fragrances, books, nightclub appearances, and even their own branded emoji apps. But consumerism aside, the Kardashians continue to impress me because they are a great brand.
According to Forbes, they have a giant audience (Kim’s social media followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter total 120M), own the channels from which they distribute their message (Kim’s app alone is worth $200 million), and provide unfiltered, raw, and transparent, 24/7/365 access to their lives.
So, if you’re Kardashian-crazed (like me), and would like to learn the 3 K’s of branding success as evidenced by the Kardashian klan (don’t worry, there’s more where that came from), read on.
With a large family full of different personalities, there’s a Kardashian for everyone. Many people respect Kris as the matriarch and successful business woman, Kourtney as the maternal provider, and Khloé as the comedic relief, for example. Their diverse personalities appeal to a wide variety of people, making their brand reach very significant.
They also understand their audience and know the best ways to connect with them. As mentioned above, Kim can effortlessly share her thoughts (or endorse a product) with nearly 120M people by clicking a few buttons on her iPhone. And, according to Twitter Counter, Kim tweeted nearly six times every day during the month of July 2016. This count doesn’t include the content she’s sharing on Instagram, SnapChat, and her own app, but needless to say, she’s constantly putting herself in front of her audience.
Brands can learn a thing or two from this strategy. Afterall, it’s important to make sure you’re always top of mind. By sharing relevant content with your audience throughout the day, consumers will continue to build loyalty and trust for your brand.
Keep It Klear
Once you’ve amassed the right following, it’s important to be transparent. The Kardashians have nailed this concept. Whether it’s publically discussing Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlin Jenner, Khloé’s marriage and divorce struggles, or Scott’s battles with addiction, the Kardashian family isn’t afraid to cover sensitive topics. Providing this level of transparency into their lives builds trust amongst their fan base and makes them more relatable as humans.
Consumers connect with transparent companies, especially those that can harness some type of connection on an emotional level.
We’ve even seen the Kardashians turn controversial topics into revenue generating ones. For example, Kylie Jenner decided to get lip fillers and then turned around and built a business selling lip kits to fans. Their obsession to be just like her worked, as her kits sold out in just 20 minutes.
To build brand following, take a tip from the Kardashians and make sure your messages are authentic and transparent. No one likes to affiliate to a person or a brand they can’t trust.
The way the Kardashians control their message is the reason I admire their brand most. They’ve utilized their many owned channels, from public appearances, to personalized apps, to their own TV show, to make sure they maintain and own their message, good or bad. Whenever anything happens that might seem even the slightest bit controversial, the Kardashians will address it on their TV show.
And while I don’t subscribe to any of their individual apps, I can only assume they use those platforms to further control their message, in real-time. According to Kholé’s app sign-up page, subscribers will receive daily posts on her life as well as exclusive pics and videos. Khloé (and the rest of her sisters, who all have their own apps) are using those platforms as a direct line of communication to fans. They can easily dispel rumors, provide a glimpse into their day to day, and engage with their fans, all on an owned platform.
And it’s for this reason alone, I think the Kardashians are most successful. To achieve brand domination it’s important to make sure accurate and approved messaging gets in front of your audience. The Kardashians can easily share their side of any story (Taylor vs. Kanye anyone?) and silence the haters by utilizing their communication platforms, both owned and borrowed to control their brand.
According to Jump Associates, “The strongest, most successful brands in digital media are great at empathizing with customers by identifying where they are in the market, engaging with them online, and becoming a helpful peer, effectively inviting the customer into the company’s inner circle.”
The Kardashians have remained an integral part of the celebrity news world for the past 10 years, proving that they know a thing or two about brand domination. They’ve taught us that it’s important to connect with your fans through authenticity, to use the right communication channels, and to send the right message to the right audience. Bible: if you follow in their footsteps, you’ll be well on your way to building a brand like the Kardashians.