Recently, one of my friends asked me: "What is Kim Kardashian famous for, again?" My reply was: "I think she is just famous for being famous." But this, albeit short, topic of conversation made me want to find out what exactly it was that put the Kardashian family on the map and how they managed to create a colossal, money-spinning franchise. Putting aside the fact that Kim made her breakthrough with a sex tape and the fact that the family's moral judgments are highly questionable, their marketing strategies over the years are worthy of some praise.
It is safe to say that the Kardashian family members are mavens at creating intrigue and using scandals to spin the straw into gold. Dysfunctional relationships, family drama and disastrous marriages propelled all of them towards a lucrative, billion dollar empire in less than a decade. Despite all the drama, the family never fails to rally behind each other, making that one of the major driving forces behind the creation of the strong brand.
Being relatable is key
The different personalities, styles and interests of each of the family members make them relatable to almost every demographic in America. Each sister has created a niche brand and they have strived to maintain it over time. For example, Khloe Kardashian has reached out to the health conscious individuals through her weight loss journey, whereas Kourtney Kardashian has appealed to the young mothers by focusing on her young children. Their oversharing nature has created so much transparency that it has kept all their fans loyal throughout the years. They know that consistency is key and keep that in mind when crafting the messages they send through their marketing campaigns and even their social media posts. They have used a consumer-driven marketing strategy by creating a huge social media presence. They know that their fans want to know what they eat, what they wear, where they go and how they live their lives. By connecting with their fans on such a personal level, not only do they grow their own brand, but also other brands that they are associated with.
Staying in the limelight and loving it
They never shy away from exposure and, in fact, they make sure that they are photographed on a daily basis in order to stay current and relevant. Unlike other celebrities, they never complain about being in the limelight, because having their lives out in the open is their bread and butter. Remarkably, they know their imperfections, and they make money out of them too. They don't seem to see putting on weight as a massive blow to their self-image because they know that they can make hundreds of thousands of dollars while losing the pounds, thorough diet pill and workout gear endorsements. Kim has uploaded countless number of selfies with her waist-trainers, diet pills and detox teas. Khloe often shares videos of her intense workouts with professional celebrity trainers. It has been reported that for each tweet and Instagram post they endorse a brand in, they can earn as much as $200,000.
There is no such thing as bad publicity.
Not only have they successfully identified their target markets, they have branched out and diversified to cater to every aspect of that target market's lifestyle, whether it be clothing, cosmetics, appearances, diet supplements or workout routines. If you click on the comments portion of any tabloid article about the Kardashians, you will notice that it has been read by their lovers and haters alike. It seems that these headlines manage to attract those that do not even like the family. So in due course, by creating a lifestyle that many people aspire to, the family is not only tapping in to their target audience, but they are also reaching out to other market segments that are intrigued by their way of life. They do not need everybody to love them in order to get the necessary exposure. What is even more interesting is that they are fully aware of and profiting from that fact. They are the ultimate embodiment of the saying there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Regardless of what their critics say, the Kardashian family has managed to stay relevant and keep their brand highly profitable in a volatile industry for many years. The Kardashian brand may not be around forever, but they sure have learnt to capitalize on it while they are still the talk of the town.