We know it. We see much too often. Some marvel at it, while some disparage it. Regardless of what you think, it is a branding force that is difficult to ignore.
It is Kim Kardashian's divine derriere.
To be unfamiliar with Kim's anatomical phenomena is to be unplugged from the overzealous cultural fascination with celebrities that has consumed media over the past two decades. Kudos to you, so here is a quick recap.
Kim Kardashian is an American television and social media celebrity whose young career was quickly and unexpectedly launched in 2007 after a sex tape with a former celebrity musician was leaked on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, she and her famous and wealthy family was commissioned for their own reality television show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which propelled Kim to the height of celebrity socialite status.
Kim is not without her detractors, many of whom criticize her for essentially being famous for being famous. And while that may or may not be true, one aspect of her career is undeniable.
She has one of the most talked about bottoms in show business.
Kim is bluntly unapologetic for her fame and that of her famous fanny, and she does not shy away from leveraging her greatest, dare I say, asset. Her posterior of plenty has its own news feed, and there are even has a handful of Twitter accounts dedicated to it.
So what is to be learned from Mrs. Kardashain-West (she wed singer Kanye West in 2014)? If nothing else, we can look to her backside, figuratively of course, for three branding lessons and takeaways.
Focus on your strengths but develop your weaknesses. Kim Kardashian's perseverance as an A-list celebrity is admirable, especially in light of today's hyper-connected and over-sharing social media environment that adores tearing down celebrities. She continues to ride the popularity of her image but has yet to demonstrate other skills or the willingness to be anything but famous (let the hate mail begin).
For businesses, relying on one strength and one strength alone is a recipe for disaster, since any profitable market opportunity will soon be exploited by another competitor with greater strengths. While it is a good strategy to leverage your strengths to their limit, entrepreneurs should always be looking down the road for opportunities to improve and grow.
Focus on a sustainable brand not a trend. Kim is famous for many things, and her fans love and adore her, but popularity is a fleeting and fickle friend. She has done little to diversify her image to create a sustainable brand that can live beyond her youthful years and talents. She has attempted to start businesses, such as a fashion and fragrance line, but each is personally branded and highly dependent on her continued popularity for success.
In order to create a sustainable brand, you need to plan for your own obsolescence and how to evolve beyond it. For instance, consider the slew of musicians who have successfully transitioned into entrepreneurs by starting a variety of complementary businesses, such as private record labels and music accessories, all of which have opportunity to outlive their passing music popularity. Several movie and television celebrities have also gone on to illustrious entrepreneurial careers starting businesses that have sustainability planned beyond the individual who started them, including Jessica Alba and her personal venture, the Honest Company.
Focus on respect not attention. Kim has clearly owned her public prima donna image, playing up her notoriety, as well as the sexualy appeal of her rather ravishing rump on every occasion she can. This has been rewarding for her, with rumors that she can demand up to $10,000 just to tweet about you or your company. The type of fame and fortune that Kim and her hindquarters have achieved, however, has its costs.
Understanding your customer and market is crucial for businesses, and creating a reputation that is edgy, hip and even sexual is great if that is the audience you are trying to attract. Offending a swath of other customers in the process, however, can come back and bite you.
While her confidence has generated a huge following of supporters, many view Kim's willingness to exploit her sexuality as disrespectful. In fact, Blackberry announced this week that they were turning down the diva as a spokesperson, and while the company cited budget reasons for turning her down, one has to wonder if her exploits, like her cover girl shoot for Paper Magazine's 2014 Winter edition, was just too hot for Blackberry to handle.
Kim Kardashian is by no means a slouch. She is known as being an incredibly hard worker, funny and personable, and her ability to sustain her celebrity status, not to mention her sanity (Brittney Spears anyone?) in the face of continued judgement and critique is to be admired.
To create a beloved and sustainable brand, however, it is best not to leverage the one strength you have that could ultimately become the butt of your problems (pun intended). Instead, understand what your customers respond to, improve upon your weaknesses and have a long term strategy built on the respect of your customers.
What do you think? Can Kim Kardashian and her bountiful behind sustain their popularity? Share your thoughts with others below.