It is no secret that I am a Kardashian fan and Kris Jenner, has long been my favorite of the clan.
Despite her bad rap in the media of being “controlling” and “using her kids” to make money– to me, Kris is not only a fellow Complicated Mama, but a brilliant and savvy business woman– who does not mess around.
I mean, hello? Look at the empire she’s built! Rome wasn’t built in a day, you guys, and neither was the rebirth of Bruce Jenner. Just sayin’.
Oh and putting it out there for a little side bar discussion– When did being a Mom who is able to help her adult children achieve their dreams and make millions became a bad thing?
As a self titled, “Momager” (which by the way she totally has trademarked, for realz.), I find Kris Jenner’s success (and failures) with her family’s brand fascinating.
When I heard there was a “One On One With Kris Jenner” session at Advertising Week, where she was going to be talking “Content and Branding”, I knew I had to be there. So after I put the kids on the bus that morning, I headed out for a quick trip to NYC.
I drove in thinking… if anyone knows anything about branding it’s Kris Jenner- right?
Meh. Yes and No. Let me explain.
(Dammit, Corine. This post is never going to get you invited over for dinner.)
I arrived at New York City’s Hard Rock about 45 minutes before the session, and quickly a line began to form.
While we eagerly waited take our seats to hear 50 minutes of a raw and inspiring success story, filled with tips on growing and managing a brand, Kris Jenner was ushered in looking stunning as ever in little red dress and sunglasses.
“Find something you love to do, and find a way to get paid for it.”
When the session started, Kris shared this mantra with the audience. A no doubt inspiring mantra, that was passed down to her by Kathie Lee Gifford’s father, and became the corner stone for shaping her family’s careers and successes.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid that for most, that is kinda where the inspiration and insight ended.
As the interview went on, it very quickly became evident that no matter what question the moderator asked, we were going to hear a whole lot more about the Kardashian’s “reach” and growing success and much less about the actual trial and error of building the brand.
She spoke about their many endorsement offers from brands looking to gain exposure through the family’s popularity and influence, how hiring a Kardashian gives a brand a “security blanket” of sorts because when you hire one Kardashian/Jenner family member, the entire family cheers each other’s projects on via social media channels. So (for example) if a company hires Kim to be the face of a their lip balm, the brand can very well expect to see tweets, instagrams and Keek’s(<– more on that in a min) from Kourtney, Khloe and the gang.
And with that, I envisioned somewhere a “Blogging Angel” losing it’s laptop and Twitter account… wait, what?
How does that jive with FTC disclosure and transparency rules? Did Kris just unintentionally share a “loop hole” that while perhaps not contractually, the family is sold based on their collective reach- while technically only contracting to hire one?
She went on to speak about how she believes the show’s success is due to the fact that there are so many personalities, everyone can relate to at least one, she’s probably right about that one.
She talked about how “real” the show is, how they NEVER script or stage any footage (to which one person sitting next to me muttered “Does she think we’re stupid?”), and how they all have a love for social media and trying new social media avenues, “such as Keek”– a lesser known Vine-like social app that the family is popularly known for pushing– heavily, though never officially disclosing as a sponsorship or endorsement.
And while, I sat there questioning some of the things she was saying, what she wasn’t saying much of was anything about branding or strategy.
Still it didn’t make me walk away thinking she was any less brilliant or business savvy, infact the more I thought about it the more it struck me as genius.
She landed a paid speaking gig, to speak to an audience of top advertisers… about her growing brand, their ginormous collective reach and how they offer a “security blanket” to boot! Toooootally strategic. Tootally Brilliant.
Find something you love to do, and find away to get paid for it.
The Bottom Line:
To be able brand and promote something, is about knowing your product, being passionate about it and being able to allow that knowledge and passion to seep through your pores til it practically sells itself!
In Kris Jenner’s case, her passion is undoubtably her family. I don’t think it is at all as devious as the media paints it to be (though a little more transparency on partnerships might be nice to see).
Like all proud moms, she loves seeing her family succeed. She loves showing them off and will go to the end of the earth to protect them. She found what she loved to do and she continues to find ways to get paid for it.
Because of this, the Kardashian/Jenner brand continues to thrive.
But will we ever really get tangible insight to how the Kardashian empire was built? Could Kris replicate their success or even really document her step by step strategy? I honestly don’t think so. Her guidance and decision making are equal parts – strategic and instinctual (A mama bear is always looking out for her cubs).