The Kardashians: Capitalizing the ‘K’ in Marketing

The Kardashians: Capitalizing the ‘K’ in Marketing

The past decade has been permeated with a pop culture phenomenon unlike any other: the Kardashians. Since 2007, the Kardashian/Jenner family has captivated audiences around the world by doing…well, the verdict is still out on exactly what they all do, but suffice to say it’s been enough to consistently entertain, appall, and otherwise engage millions of people for going on 11 years. So what’s the big secret? Is Kris Jenner a marketing genius? (Probably.) Are we all simply mesmerized by the mind-bending amount of beauty and booty in the K/J gene pool? (Definitely.) Regardless of the questionable tactics and unquestionable body parts that have kept them on top all this time, there are a few things we marketers can learn from the Kardashians – even if we can’t keep up with them.

  1. Never surrender. Say what you will about this family, but they don’t back down from a challenge. Someone leaks your sex tape? Turn it into a reality show. Get both married and divorced within the span of one year? Brush it off and proceed to marry someone infinitely more successful. Have psoriasis? Endorse a cover-up spray. While many would willingly fade into obscurity following such misfortune, the Kardashians make their problems work for them. Obviously, starting a reality show isn’t an option for most of us (what do you mean, Paris Hilton wasn’t a childhood friend and Ryan Seacrest didn’t come to dinner last Thanksgiving?) – but regardless, there is a lesson there.
  2. Socialize. All five of the Kardashian/Jenner sisters have massive social media followings and post regularly. Recently, they all created their own apps and websites (subscription-based, of course) so that, for the bargain price of $2.99/month, fans can feel even more involved in the lives of these mythical creatures they’ve never met. Not only have the Kardashians maintained a valuable online presence, they’ve monetized it.
  3. Incentivize. The Kardashians reach out to their fans in a way that both shows appreciation and provides motivation. For instance, Kim is known for rewarding each landmark number of Instagram followers with a cleavage selfie. Of course, in a professional setting, we recommend expressing thanks with something like a fruit basket. No one forgets a nice pair of melons.
  4. Know your audience. The Kardashians know their fan base, and expand their empire accordingly. What do hordes of teenaged girls want? A new lipstick line with Kylie’s face on it! What do female 20-something professionals need? Styling products created specifically for their hair type! What do straight males between the ages of 26-35 want because they secretly think the sisters are super hot but won’t admit it to their girlfriends? A Kardashian conveniently bikini-clad on the cover of Maxim!
  5. Be consistent. Even when you don’t want them, there they are. It’s hard to escape the Kardashians, simply because…they’re everywhere. On social media, on magazine covers, on TV, on billboards. No matter how you strive to ignore them, their omnipresence is undeniable. You have to talk about them, if only to talk about the fact that you don’t want to talk about them.

So there you have it, folks – five valuable things we’ve learned from America’s most famous family. Now go kill it like a Kardashian! (But don’t say we told you to.)

Image by Faye Harris is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Scroll to Top