Whether you love them or you hate them, there’s no way you don’t know them. The Kardashian name has become a household term used all throughout America and the world. So how, you may ask, did this family become so famous?
Well, they don’t sing, act, or have any distinct talent. No, the Kardashian’s have become the world’s most known socialite family based off one thing and one thing only, really great public relations.
The Kardashian road to fame began with a reality TV show documenting their lives, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (KUWTK).
After three seasons of the show, it was suffering. Ratings were down and viewers were tired of watching the family’s inconsequential first-world problems. In a 2009 interview, Kris Jenner, executive producer and self-professed “momager” of the family, shared that she was concerned the show had become “stale.”
This all turned around, however, when Jenner’s daughter, Kourtney Kardashian became pregnant with her first child.
Kardashian’s pregnancy brought a whole new set of drama to the show with issues now revolving around marriages, divorces and fertility struggles. “KUWTK” suddenly became relatable to viewers.
Ratings increased and the public’s infatuation with the Kardashian clan blossomed as they felt that they could share in their real-life problems.
Good PR lesson: Be relatable
The good PR lesson here is that people respond best when they feel that others are being genuine.
When representing a business or person, it never pays off to act perfect.
Publics will respond best when they feel that a company is sharing everything with them, the good and the bad.
The Kardashians have obtained an incredible amount of fame because they are not afraid to show both the very low and very high moments of their lives. Their openness and honesty is what makes people feel close to them and interested in their lives.
As PR professionals, we want our key publics to feel that same attachment to our clients, and this can only be attained through practicing transparency and honesty.
Sharing successes, as well as trials, helps to humanize a brand and convert publics as they feel greater trust and involvement in the brand.
The start of Kimye
The world was happy to know that after Kim Kardashian’s tumultuous relationship with Kris Humphries ended, she found a way to love again when she met famous rapper, Kanye West.
When Kardashian first began dating West, the media went crazy over the combination of two of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities.
After several months of dating, Kardashian became pregnant with West’s baby, and shortly after, the couple got engaged.
Kardashian and West quickly became the most talked-about couple in the industry, with everything from their engagement to their Italian wedding being broadcast on “KUWTK.”
Good PR lesson: Collaborate with winners.
Whether the love between Kardashian and West is real or not, the two have surely made a good business decision by coming together to form Hollywood’s most powerful couple.
A good PR professional could learn from this scenario by applying it to the idea of who we decide to collaborate with when promoting a company or brand.
An endorsement from a famous athlete or musician will always count for more than an endorsement from an unknown person.
As PR professionals, we should never seek to use people solely for their social status. However, it is always wise to form relationships with and seek to gain the support of people who already have a fan base and who could influence our target publics simply by who they are.
Many times a famous face is all an organization needs to kick-start its publics into action.
We are Kardashian, and our influencers could be our West.
Dash, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and the Lip Kit
The Kardashians have not built a $65 million empire by simply having pretty faces.
Their massive empire has been built by becoming a full-service and multi-platform brand. Whatever you may need for beauty, entertainment or clothing, chances are that the Kardashian brand can provide you with it.
The first extension of their brand came when the three oldest Kardashian sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe, opened a boutique in Calabasas, California called Dash.
As the family, and especially the Kardashian sisters, became more popular, so did their store.
Dash has grown so large that E! Network even created a separate show, “Dash Girls,” documenting the lives of the women who work there.
The store does not carry any unique items or have any specific market niche. However, it has the Kardashian name associated with it, which is enough to make people care.
Kim Kardashian also personally capitalized on her brand by creating game app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, in 2014, which gave users an opportunity to create their own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune in a virtual world.
This app has been downloaded more than 45 million times and has generated $160 million total revenue, landing Kardashian on the cover of Forbes magazine as a proclaimed “Mobile Mogul.”
Lastly, although one could go on forever about the plethora of products that the Kardashian brand has created, there is Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit.
At 18 years old, Jenner, the Kardashian’s youngest family member, has created a $20.5 million dollar lip gloss empire.
Now, once again, is there really anything special about this lip gloss?
Well, no, but Jenner’s Lip Kits have one thing that other lip glosses do not — the Kylie Jenner stamp of approval.
Her name attached to the product is all people need to make their purchasing decision.
Good PR lesson: Extend your brand as far as you can
The PR lesson here is to extend your brand as far as it can go, and then maybe even a little further.
David Caplan, an editorial consultant for celebrity websites who has worked for People and Star magazine, TMZ and VH1 says,
“What these women are showing us is that once you ascertain who and what your market and demographic is, you can look at ways to present the demographic all aspects of the lifestyle and product to use…They are showing they can brand anything, and lending their name or likeness to any product became a sure fire hit for marketers seeking to tap into the lucrative teen and 20s market.”
The Kardashian’s have built their empire by capitalizing on their fame and creating products that people want simply because of the name associated with them.
As PR professionals, we may work for a similar brand, one that people innately want just because of the name. In this case, it is our opportunity to capitalize on this brand love and create all we can surrounding this brand.
First and foremost, it is the job of any PR professional to get a public to like a brand. However, once we’ve achieved that, it is also our duty to our client to increase their revenue by extending their brand as far as it can go.
It is impossible to talk about the Kardashian’s fame without recognizing their incredible use of social media to connect with their publics and bolster their images.
Kim Kardashian has accumulated nearly 87 million Instagram followers, and her sisters don’t fall too far behind, with even the youngest, Kylie Jenner, having a whopping 78 million followers and counting.
And that’s just on Instagram. The family has likewise built their social media reputation through sharing the small details of their lives on Snapchat, Twitter and their personal apps.
Live chats, individual responses and shockingly personal photos are all tools used by the Kardashians to keep their publics involved and interested.
Their social media methods have clearly worked well as Kardashian family members are paid an exorbitant amount of money to share anything to their millions of followers.
With her 37.9 million Twitter followers, Kim Kardashian is rumored to make about $200,000 per sponsored tweet. An article by Inquisitr also shares that the average cost of an Instagram post promoting a product or service from any of the Kardashian sisters is approximately $400,000.
Good PR lesson: Connect through social media
The lesson here is one we have all heard before, but hopefully the steep payouts make it a little more real — social media is really important when it comes to building a brand.
As PR professionals, we need to become experts in the various social media platforms that can help an audience connect with whomever we are representing.
Some tips that we can take from the Kardashian’s social media usage is to welcome dialogue on each platform.
Audiences like to feel that their thoughts and opinions matter, and the Kardashian’s make sure of this through their live chats and responses to fan questions.
Every brand should learn from this and create an open dialogue on each of their social media platforms where customers and potential customers can feel that their voices are being heard.
This open conversation will help key publics feel closer to the brand, which will, in turn, generate greater brand-love and increased revenue for your client.
In an interview with celebrity publicist, Amanda Zerbib, she shared, “The Kardashian’s can teach every PR professional a good lesson about how to connect with publics, which in the end, is what PR is constantly striving to do. Their talent lies in the way they are able to make the public feel a part of their world and capitalize on every opportunity.”