Confession: I love celebrities.
I read People.com daily and I am obsessed with being “in the know.” Having recently joined the lotus823 integrated marketing agency, I quickly made it apparent to all of my fellow loti that I love celebrity gossip and can talk about it for hours. Personally, I like to think that my ability to build relationships with the media for brands circles back to my celebrity stalking skills.
For instance, did you know that Linda Thompson, who appeared on a few episodes of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is not only ex-wife to David Foster (important since his current wife is a cast member of this series), but is also mom to Brody Jenner and ex-wife to Bruce Jenner, who is married to Kris Jenner, matriarch of my beloved Kardashians.
Celebrities keep themselves in the news by developing or being the spokespeople of products that mirror their lifestyle. Being a communications professional and focusing on branding, I oftentimes find myself questioning, “Why did this celebrity start hawking a product that has nothing to do with their brand?”
The strongest example and the one that most comes to my mind is Lindsay Lohan and her ill-fated leggings brand, 6126. Lindsay is known for many things – being a cute child actress, having teenage tiffs with Hilary Duff over Aaron Carter, and evolving into a beautiful adult with a penchant for an out-of-control lifestyle. What doesn’t make sense is why she developed a leggings brand. Sure, who doesn’t love a comfy pair of leggings and if they are stylish to boot then that is awesome, but where does this fit into you being an actress?
My top pick for the best celebrity brand is the Kardashian family. The Kardashian clan is a group of marketing powerhouses. The girls in particular – Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney – have undoubtedly made a fortune on being lifestyle brands. People want to dress like them so what do they do, they develop the Kardashian Kollection. Knowing full well that their target audience – teenagers and 20-somethings – do not have the funds to buy Versace-priced items, the girls sell their brand in Sears.
Besides clothing, the family sells fragrances and makeup, and also attaches itself to other brands as well, including Quick Trim. They also have become brands in themselves.
As a celebrity-obsessed integrated marketing agency, what can we learn from these two product pushers?
- Stay consistent with your brand’s message. As a celebrity, a company, or an individual, it’s crucial that whatever you attach your name to is synonymous with your key messaging. If a healthy lifestyle is part of your brand, it would not make sense to talk about eating at Heart Attack Grill.
- Audience is key. One thing Lindsay did correctly was she developed a product geared at her target audience – teens and 20-something females. However, with her negative press, no one is going to want to wear a product with her name on it. The Kardashians always keep their audience in mind when developing products or serving as a spokesperson. To meet your goal (i.e. attract more customers, build a presence, whatever), your target audience is of the utmost importance.
- Build a loyal following and stay engaged. One of the reasons the Kardashians are so successful is because they have built a loyal following. The girls are all active on social media and tying in with their key demographic that is also social media heavy, the girls have built a following. According to Twitter Counter, Kim Kardashian is in the top 20 of most followed people on Twitter, with 18 million followers and counting. With audience in mind, the Kardashians have used social media to build their following.
We can learn from anything around us, even celebrities. Who do you think is a strong celebrity brander? Do you have any great branding tips to share? Let us know!
Author: Beth Gard
Beth provides public relations counsel and leadership, consistently generating strong coverage for her clients. She has garnered placements in and built relationships with publications such as USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Parade, and TWICE. She has developed winning client entries in award programs, including the InfoComm Best of Show Awards and rAVe Readers’ Choice Awards. Beth’s work has also directly resulted in award wins for lotus823, including the PRSA NJ Pyramid Award and the PR News Agency Elite Awards.
Prior to joining lotus823, Beth held positions with Burson-Marsteller and Gutenberg Communications and she holds a Masters in Communication & Information Studies.