The Kardashians: Principles Driving their Empire

Seeing Kylie Jenner and the Kardashian family becoming insanely wealthy from their endorsements, shows, apps, etcetera, is mind-blowing. An article in Forbes (yes, Forbes) recently showcased Kylie on being one of the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaires. Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian, as well as Kylie’s sister Kendall are constantly on entertainment news, day in and day out.

The way that the Kardashian family has worked their way into popular culture is impressive. What did they do? How did they do it? I don’t know the Kardashian Family personally but there are certain qualities to their meteoric rise that are great lessons to apply on a small or large scale, in our own lives.

Famous for Being Famous?

What is it that they really do? Are they famous for simply being famous? On the surface it sure looks like this is the case. There was a “leaked” sex tape of Kim Kardashian and singer Ray-J back in 2003 that seemed to put her in the national spotlight. Shortly after that, the Kardashians became a household name, especially when Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK) began airing.

So is it that simple? Put out a sex tape, make sure it gets into the right hands and just ride that wave to millions? If only that were true!

Making a sex tape may not be the most conventional starting point when launching a business empire. I’m sure that even thought they thought about different ways to leverage this publicity to the maximum level possible, never in their wildest dreams did they think that they would be this big today.

Crisis WILL Happen, Almost Always Unexpectedly

I am not a religious follower of what’s happening in every single Kardashian or Jenner’s life. From what I do know of them these last few years, Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the clan, absolutely had a large vision for their family and was very business savvy about bringing that vision to life.

Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. She was married to Robert Kardashian, one of the OJ Simpson’s defense attorneys in the trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in 1994. After Robert Kardashian passed and she married Gold Medal Decathlete, Bruce Jenner and had a couple of kids, Kendall and Kylie.

Then one day, one of her daughters’ name is all over the headlines for a sex tape. While most mothers might panic, Kris took a pause and saw a way to turn lemons to lemonade. Imagining how some mothers might completely disown a daughter for something so private being exposed and so public, Kris deserves a tremendous amount of credit for approaching the situation the way she did; looking for the opportunity in a potentially bad situation.

Committed to a Vision

In 2003, reality shows were not a new concept. MTV’s The Real World had been on TV for 11 years and all networks were trying to figure out workable formulas for entertaining and addictive reality show concepts.

It wasn’t until 2007 that the first episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired. Doing the math, it took almost 4 years from when a potential crises was turned into the early beginnings of a commercial and pop culture empire.

Ask yourself if you were able to persist, persevere, and be patient throughout all the planning, throwing around concepts, negotiations, production, even convincing that had to be done to seeing this idea to fruition! Not all family members may have been aboard to have their lives completely filmed, and all privacy thrown out the window. As a matter of fact, Rob Kardashian, the youngest brother of Kardashians had a difficult time being in the public eye. He wasn’t and still isn’t prepared to deal with the exposure that comes with being a famous reality show star.

Kris Jenner was fearless in her pursuit of creating a reality show. It didn’t matter what obstacle was in her path, she was going to make this happen to take care of her family. She pushed through doubt, she pushed through failure and closed doors, and she hustled hard to make it happen.

Provide Value

Value is defined as the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. Value is something that relative depending the individual, situation, or context. What is the value of Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Are they famous for being famous by providing some sort of entertainment value? Based on the success of their show, that answer is yes.

Are they improving the lives of others? Are they making the world a better place? That can definitely be argued. One thing for certain is that the show is a powerful marketing tool for themselves, and it is amazingly effective, when combined with social and traditional media, at getting the Kardashian and Jenner families into the collective media psyche of US viewership.

This way, they can keep selling their brand, their clothing, cosmetics, and designs to a trained crowd that can never have enough of whatever the family puts out. The hustle is strong.

The big takeaways that I always have to remind myself of, every time I get irritated about how much publicity they get, is to stop being a hater and give credit where credit is due. Try to learn from the principles of how they got to where they are. Have tenacity, have a vision. Don’t give up and stay committed to your vision even when the world around you is saying impossible. Keep looking forward and understand the value you provide.

What we make of ourselves and our lives is ultimately in our hands!

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