No matter how you feel about Kim Kardashian West, you can't deny her entrepreneurial success: Kim Kardashian has built an empire that Life & Style magazine estimates is worth $150 million.
In a world where, according to the public relations firm Edelaman, trust in corporations and CEOs in the past year has fallen dramatically, Kim K shows that influence means everything. What started as a reality show on Bravo has transformed into an enormous cult following.
There isn’t a move that Kardashian makes, in fact, without the entertainment press reporting it. Her popularity continues to grow, and with it, her business. You don’t get to her level of success by accident, and for Kardashian, much of that success can be attributed to marketing.
Here are four marketing lessons the reality TV personalty can teach us, and how to apply them to your own brand:
1. Turn the negative into opportunity.
Before she was known for Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim K ran into a bit of a PR mess. That infamous, intimate video of her and an ex-boyfriend spread across the internet like wildfire.
But Kardashian saw her newfound attention as an opportunity, even though she'd become a controversial figure. She used the buzz surrounding her as a platform to launch her reality show, which catapulted her and the rest of the Kardashian clan to fame.
In short, Kardashian wouldn't let a crisis be the downfall of her brand. Instead, she used the situation as an opportunity and found a way to grow her career. When your brand is faced with a crisis, how do you deal with it? Don’t let the negative situation drive the perception of your brand. Get in front of it and turn things in your favor instead.
2. Engage on social media.
With 102 million followers on Instagram and 54.4 million on Twitter, Kim Kardashian has one of the largest social media followings today. But it’s not just about how many people follow her; it’s about the way she uses social media.
Kim K regularly engages with her followers and gives them insight into her world. For example, she once asked her followers for fashion advice in a tweet: “What should I wear 2 the Dodger game tonight? They made me my own jersey, so do I wear jeans or leggings? Sneakers or diva it up w heels?”
Her public documenting of her life on social media makes people feel they have have a connection to her. In his book The Kardashian Principle, celebrity expert Jeetendr Sehdev wrote, “Her stunning popularity represents a seismic shift in the way ideas catch on and how people, products and services can capitalize on this change to build stronger, more intimate connections with consumers.”
Social media is a unique opportunity to connect with your audience members and give them an inside look into your brand. Show your personality, be open and engage with your followers. As Jay Baer has written on his blog, “Social media creates kinship between companies and customers, and kinship equals purchase intent.”
3. Know your audience.
Kim understands the mindset of her audience and does everything she can to appeal to it. She has a diverse portfolio of products, but each is centered on her core themes of beauty, glam and luxury. These are the themes her audience associates with.
When Kardashian launched her uber-successful mobile apps, she created not one but two: Kim Kardashian Hollywood and Kim Kardashian West. Each was tailored to a different segment of her audience, to appeal to a wider array of people.
Understanding your audience is key to appealing to them. Knowing their needs and interests allows you to position your brand in the best possible way.
4. Diversify your offerings.
Instead of resting on the success of her reality TV show, Kardashian spider-webbed her way into other opportunities. She has created a clothing line, makeup products, dieting products, accessories, shoes, a mobile game, even emojis - all carrying her brand.
This variety has allowed her to continue to grow that brand and make a name for herself in other markets. In an interview with The Guardian, Kardashian said, “I work really hard -- I have seven appointments tomorrow before 10 a.m. I'm constantly on the go. I have a successful clothing line. A fragrance. I mean, acting and singing aren't the only ways to be talented. It's a skill to get people to really like you for you, instead of a character written for you by somebody else.”
If your brand is relying on just one product or service, it may be time to branch out and try something new. Having more options will allow you to grow your business and increase awareness of your brand.