Kim Kardashian is probably best known for certain assets many women wish they had and many men desire. But her claim to fame doesn’t end there.
More people probably know the name Kardashian than know why we call a signature a John Hancock. Many blame Kim’s sex tape, leaked in 2007, for the Kardashian fame. And while, yes, this put Kim and Ray J on the front page of every newspaper in the country, viral doesn’t always equate instant fame (just look at Rebecca Black).
It’s what you do with your sudden notoriety that counts. Kim pounced. She took a sex tape lawsuit and turned it into gold.
How did she do it? Let’s take a look.
1. No Publicity Is Bad Publicity
It’s how the most successful celebrities rise to the top. In fact, one such celebrity fuzzball is in the White House at this very moment because he adopted this motto. No publicity is bad publicity. And it works.
“Like water off a duck’s back” is the way my grandpa would have put it. A sex tape scandal would have sunk so many other people, but to the Kardashians, it was an opportunity.
Why is Kardashian a household name? Because there are just as many haters as there are lovers of the Kardashians. Just like Trump’s fanbase, the haters in the Kardashian world only serve to cement the lovers.
Every time controversy blows up in the Kardashian world (think divorcing a basketball player you married three months ago), Kim’s audience gets a treat. They get to watch all the haters both in media and outside media go wild. And they get to watch Kim and her family take it with the grace of Olympian ice skaters.
Many companies shy away from controversy and there are some subjects you just don’t touch. But stirring the pot isn’t necessarily a bad idea. And sometimes, you can get away with it, apologize, and come away with even more fans.
Just look at Kendall Jenner and her Pepsi stunt. I personally doubt she cared a whit about whitewashed protestors. She’s in it for the fame and the money.
2. Kim Plays to Her Audience
Who is Kim’s audience? It’s the people who wish they could be her or at least wish they could live “the life” (whatever that is).
Before the sex tape scandal, Kim and her sisters started a business geared toward rich people with too many clothes. They would raid a person’s closet and sell off their stuff on eBay. All for a pretty penny.
The Kardashians were already living a rich Californian lifestyle beforehand. And they knew that once fame kicked in, many would envy their way of life.
Kim delivers to her audience what they crave. Selfies in bathing suits. Vacations in exotic locations. Drama.
It’s pretty easy for Kim to define her audience. And she probably (no, definitely) has a marketing manager running her numbers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate her (marketing manager’s) practices.
Give your audience what they want. If you’re an outdoor adventure company, your audience wants stories that inspire adventures. If you’re a web design company, your audience wants to know how to build an awesome website.
Check out these famous YouTube stars for more inspiration.
3. All the Different Baskets
Your audience may not be on only one social media app. They certainly consume more than one form of media. If you’re looking to influence the most people, you have to diversify your efforts.
This is exactly what Kim continues to do. If she had settled for the TV show and spin-off, she would still be rolling in fame. But Kim would not be satisfied.
Her name is on everything from diets to exercise videos to clothing lines and makeup. Heck, she even has her own mobile video game (you bet she’s indoctrinating young minds with that one!).
The lesson here is that with every market you enter, you gain that much more influence. But be careful. Don’t spread beyond what you can handle.
While diversifying will increase your audience, said audience expects a certain level of engagement. Growing beyond your ability to engage will make any effort to gain influence through diversification moot.
4. Feel Fully Invested Before Jumping In
Kim is sometimes late to the party. And she touts that as a good thing. When presented with a new marketing concept, Kim wants to fully investigate it before investing.
This is wisdom in the most unlikely of places. While an entrepreneur should take risks (they would never step out the door otherwise), they should also do their research.
What is the likelihood of failure? Is the reward worth it? Will it impact my brand?
A great example of Kim’s hesitancy paying off: Kimoji. The app was an idea long in the works. Think years.
Waiting for the app launch was the smart move. Mobile technology had evolved to the point where a custom emoji app could break the Apple Store.
The best entrepreneurs analyze trends and take calculated risks. They develop a promotion strategy based on real data and not entirely on gut instinct.
5. The Kardashian Brand Consistency
Every time Kim steps outside her door or puts a photo of herself (or parts of herself) out there, she’s instantly recognizable as “Kim.” Even her emoji app screams Kim Kardashian (just look at any screenshot of the thing–peaches anyone?).
It’s brand consistency that keeps people coming back for more. If one day you’re doing Let’s Play Videos and the next you’re doing a makeup tutorial, you’ll lose your audience.
Unless randomness is your M.O., then you’d better be freakin’ random all the time.
Don’t Take It Laying Down
Whatever you think of Kim Kardashian, she didn’t take her fame laying down. She made something of strange circumstances and launched a successful personal brand most envy.
Learn what you can from successful celebrities. If you can plug in their strategy, you might find yourself in a mansion on the coast some day.
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