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Brittany Krueger

Written by: Brittany Krueger

August 3, 2016

Personal Branding Lessons I Learned from the Kardashians

personal branding lessons kardashians

The Kardashian family is one of the most well-known American reality TV families. They’re in tabloids, on television and social media, own video games, makeup companies, and clothing stores. They’ve given countless interviews and, in 2016, Vogue described Kim Kardashian as a “cultural phenomenon.”

Personal feelings toward the Kardashians aside, they are brilliant business icons. They know how to work their personal brands. They know how to present themselves, and how to leverage media attention and their brands to increase their success.

When it comes to successful branding, the Kardashians are at the top of their game.

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Taking the time to figure out your personal brand is a valuable step toward employment opportunities. Your personal brand includes your real-world reputation and your online image. It’s how you want people to feel about you.

A successful personal brand takes in-depth planning. It won’t happen overnight, but the payoff for managing your reputation can lead to wide-ranging opportunities and enhanced professional potential.

Back to the Kardashians…

Whoever thought the Kardashians would gain such wealth, success, and popularity? They’re celebrities, and regardless of what online comments say about them, the Kardashians continue to successfully market their personal brand.

Now, while the foundation of their success was Kim Kardashian’s sex tape, there are other steps you can take to establish, develop, and preserve your personal brand.

 

Differentiate Yourself from the Pack

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Kim differentiated herself by creating a sex tape with a B-list celebrity. Once she had the media’s attention, she built upon and adapted her image.

In order to have a successful personal brand, you need to create a unique product that will grab people’s attention.

Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt said, “Differentiation is one of the most important strategic and tactical activities in which companies must constantly engage.”

In an online world flooded with ideas and voices, being heard requires a product that’s memorable.

Your product doesn’t have to be a physical object. Look at Michael Hyatt. Though he had a history in publishing, he gained enormous success blogging and public speaking, and, later, publishing his own novels.

Michael used his following to skyrocket his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He offered his followers huge incentives to purchase his novel, when the timing would be most beneficial to him, and he offered benefits to a select group of followers, if they reviewed his novel before the publication date. Michael’s novel became an instant bestseller because of his ability to use his social media following.

The Kardashians have also published multiple novels, including Kris Jenner…And All Things Kardashian, Strong Looks Better Naked, and Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia. Very few, if any, of their novels would have been published, if the Kardashians hadn’t already had a large following, and a product—their names and lifestyle—that intrigued people.

To differentiate yourself, find your ideal customer. Whether it’s parents or physicists, identifying the perfect group of people to appeal to will help you shape your personal brand and will help you decrease the risk of your product being diluted.

As Katie Couric said, “You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you.” This holds true for personal branding. A narrower focus is an effective strategy to setting yourself apart.

In other words, a successful personal brand is not about being the best all-around. It’s about being different and being a star in a particular field.

What sets you apart from others?

 

Define Your Brand

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Kim Kardashian wanted to be known for more than her sex tape. As her media presence built, she defined herself as a trend setter. She cemented her personal brand through social media sites and by embracing her followers. She interacted with her fans.

Kim continued to build her specific brand by making daring moves. She posed naked for magazine covers. She created a selfie book titled Kim Kardashian Selfish. Her stepfather, Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner, revealed herself as a transgender woman and posed for the cover of Vanity Fair.

To define your personal brand, you need to know yourself. Building your brand on social media before you clearly understand what you’re selling and who you’re selling to, will hurt your overall message.

  • What are your passions? Your passions motivate you. They energize you to do more. When people see you’re passionate about something, they find you more interesting and attractive.
  • What do you value? Your values shape who you are. Standing by your values boosts your confidence and allows you to open up and connect with your intended audience.
  • What’s the purpose behind your personal brand? What do you want to contribute to your career? To your local community? To the world?

Your purpose is what you want to make a reality with your brand.

Think about your purpose in terms of the lottery. If you won the lottery, and money was no longer an issue, what would you do with your time?

 

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

In the modern world, your personal brand cannot survive without social media. The Kardashians are famous because of the media. When Kim started gaining an online following, she and the rest of the Kardashian clan used social media to morph them into celebrities.

As their online following skyrocketed, they gained endorsements, and their names and images became lucrative advertising platforms. Kylie Jenner, a sister of Kim, allegedly made $200,000 celebrating her eighteenth birthday in Montreal.

How many people do you know who make six figures in one night?

Social media is widespread. From Twitter to LinkedIn, you can identify your niche within the online community.

Kim Kardashian supposedly makes $200,000 per tweet, while her sister Khloe makes $13,000 per tweet. The Kardashians make money from Twitter by using their tweets to endorse products, whether its eyelashes, mattresses, or diet drinks.

In the past year, Kim has made $51 million dollars. Nearly 40% of those earnings came from her mobile game: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

“…while Kim may not possess “book smarts” she is savvy, extremely intuitive, and emotionally intelligent.”

Shrink Tank

This doesn’t mean you have to go around endorsing a certain nail polish or food product or creating a game. However, by identifying what you want people to see, you’ll know which social media sites to put your time and energy into.

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If you want to be seen as a professional, developing your LinkedIn profile before your Facebook account is a good promotion technique. You can use blogging to discuss topics related to your professional field. If you don’t have a personal blog, you can guest blog.

However, if you’re interested in selling a product, such as artwork, concentrating on your Pinterest account is more worthwhile than your LinkedIn profile.

Since social media is such a big field, making a list of profile links will help you keep track of all your profiles. Create a spreadsheet to store and edit your social media accounts. Keep your accounts up to date, and make it easy for users to navigate your profiles.

If you have a blog, regularly use links and incorporate clickable buttons to your other social media profiles. People will not take the time to search through a confusing document.

 

Have a Thick Skin

Unlike objects, people have feelings. Treadmill A doesn’t care if a customer buys treadmill B. However, people experience emotions. Engaging in a personal brand opens the door to people telling you exactly what they think about you.

Sometimes people will love you and what you represent. But, other times, people may say, “I hate you.” Or, in the Kardashian family’s case, a lot of slut shaming occurs. As Janice Dickinson said to Radar Online, “Paris Hilton? Kim Kar-trashian? Sluts, whores and sluts. That’s what they are.”

Jeremy Renner told The Guardian, “Oh all those ridiculous people with zero talent who spend their lives making sure everyone knows their name. Those stupid, stupid people.”

“Her [Kim’s] success also, similar to Kanye’s, comes from an awareness of the image hungry culture they have to appeal to in order to be considered relevant to the masses, in addition to a very healthy ego.”

Shrink Tank

Ignore the haters. They are not your intended audience. There are over seven billion people worldwide. Chances are that the majority of people will support you. No matter what you say or do, no matter how much you try to be a good person, someone will insult, disparage, or downright hate you.

Most times, there’s no logical reason why a person says something awful about you, especially if said over social media. The way to succeed with your personal brand is to not get upset over the criticism, whether the judgment is just or not.

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Source: xkcd.com

Start with those people closest to you. Surround yourself with a core team. They will be your buffer to individuals who try to tear your brand down. Spread out from there.

 

In the End

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Having a personal brand is necessary to succeed in today’s social media-riddled world. Take the leap of building and expanding your personal brand. You can’t reach your goals if no one knows about you and what you want to achieve.

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We’re stingy and don’t share emails with anyone.

About the Author

Brittany Krueger works in pediatric research and as a technical communicator and consultant. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts degree in Writing.

When not working, she’s usually taking her German Shepherd hiking or preparing for her next bike century.

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