Kardashian Tactics: Strengthening the Brand-Consumer Relationship

Social networking platforms are an integral part of the marketing world and for good reason. The purpose of these platforms is to provide a space for the digital connection of like-minded people, strengthening relationships between friends, family members, and even between brands and consumers. While this is fertile ground for marketers to interact closely with their clientele, many miss the mark on nailing the proper social etiquette on these platforms.

Whether you love or despise them, the Kardashians are a reality star clan who have lengthened their 15 minutes of fame into a decade and created a global empire worth millions to boot. They’ve done this through utilizing an excellent prowess in the social media marketing arena. They’ve maintained their leading spot as social media marketers with a vice-like grip, hawking products almost daily to millions of eager followers.

To begin to fully understand the belly of the beast that is the Kardashian marketing empire, take a look at Vox journalist’s, Liz Scheltens, analysis of their social media marketing technique.

The Parasocial Interaction theory, as explained in the video, focuses on the way audiences interact, relate to, and develop relationships with a celebrity. This leads to the resulting marketing power that when Kim Kardashian recommends an eyeshadow at least a good handful of her 80 million Instagram followers are going to buy it. If people are today’s publishers, then celebrities are prime time television.

While this theory may be contained to just explain the deep effect public icons can have on their audiences, the marketing tactics that are used by this clan are a good lesson in social etiquette and networking for any B2C brand looking to increase their social media audience. So let’s breakdown how to hone that Kardashian marketing strategy and get something useful from this clan of selfie-snapping, reality star titans.

Relatable Brand Voice - K is for Kindred Konnection

“People are very very good at recognizing the source and the persuasive intent. That’s why the majority of advertising is really not successful.”  - Jennifer Lueck

Below is an example of Kim Kardashian advertising Lumee smartphone cases and Yeezy footwear to her followers through Snapchat videos. She showcases the smartphone accessories while in a design meeting, rather than through a scripted commercial, just as she would showcase them to a friend. 

In the next Snapchat, she’s laid out the latest collection of Yeezy footwear, and much like a kid who has just opened his or her birthday presents, she gushes about the shoes as she scans over them. Some pairs of footwear are standing upright on display, some are on the their side, and some only display one of the pair. Her approach feels honest and, her excitement to personally wear them, genuine. She has advertised smartphone cases and a shoe collection, without outrightly doing so.

This approach works because her love for these material goods is, in fact, genuine, as she’s known to use them religiously. Thus, these videos seem like a recommendation from a friend, i.e word-of-mouth marketing, rather than a promotional post. But make no mistake, these are ad campaigns. 

Word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54%.

For startups with a heavy presence on social media or in the blogosphere, formal, corporate speak can be alienating to followers. Professionalism, for these types of startups, can be conveyed through promptness, being well-informed, and offering useful insights all while using the same voice commonly used to chat with friends and family. This can humanize your brand and make your team seem relatable and friendly.This strategy is also often referred to as, “writing as you speak.” In posts, utilize personal pronouns “we” and “us” or possessive pronouns like “our” to identify the actual team behind the brand. Social media is about connecting person-to-person, so hiding your team behind your company name in posts (ex. Launchway Media now offers …) feels alienating to clients and a bit insincere. Your posts should convey your intent and your intent should not be to pitch promotional copy every other day but to communicate useful ideas pertaining to your marketing or your service, while using an honest tone of voice.

K is for Konsistent Kontact - Engage With Followers 

Once customers’ have been engaged enough to comment or provide their own content to your social media channels, keep the conversation going by responding to them as you would a friend and ask curious questions or provide well thought-out answers. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated and to sound like a person, rather than a faceless brand. While celebrities like the Kardashian have no way of interacting with each and every fan, they certainly try:

If your company services receive a review, find that person and message them back. Ask if they could expand on what exactly they liked or disliked about your product. If the person is in the same city, and it’s feasible, even offer to meet up with him or her for a coffee in exchange for an extra trial with your product. 

These are your clients and they should be completely integrated into the company equation. Small businesses that regard clients as consumers of a service, rather than friends taking part in the company’s journey, undoubtedly lose out on a very informative and useful relationship. Be friendly and personal, rather than promotional.

Promotional Response:

Personal Response:


Unique Access - K is for Kreative Content

To continue the friendship seeds that your marketing team has now sown with your social media audience, maintain a consistent stream of unique access content. This is a huge anchor in the Kardashian clan’s ability to maintain their viral posting power.  Unique access content is personal content that audiences would not have had access to any other way than through you. The Kardashians take this to an unprecedented level, sharing moments in doctors’ appointments, spouses sleeping, etc, etc.

This content feels so personal that it seems like a private look behind the scenes, even while they share it with tens of millions of people. Nothing is seemingly off limits with this family and that’s why their audiences feel that they know them. Your business can do the same. We all want to be voyeurs at heart and when you offer content that feels like it’s coming from behind the curtain, viewers will click just to see if it’s worth observing. Offer behind-the-scenes moments of how the business runs, share an inside joke frequently told in the office, even share screw-ups, i.e. when things go wrong or orders get mixed up, (provided that it won’t detract from the reputability of your product). Providing a consistent stream of unique access content will strengthen the friend-like dialog that you’ve initiated with your audience, creating a base of honesty and loyalty, which your customers will appreciate and reciprocate.

To recap, this clan has learned to build a following off their personal relationship with their customer base alone, and that’s a skill that every small business would hope to perfect. These tactics on social networking etiquette can help any type of brand become more relatable and strengthen their relationship with their customer base.