July 15, 2015
Reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians has provided me, and millions of other devoted connoisseurs of the show, seemingly countless hours of mindless entertainment every Sunday for nearly a decade. But, was that entertainment really so mindless?
Beneath the elaborate plots and quirky discourse lay some interesting lessons to be learned about branding, management, and networking through watching KUWTK. Don’t believe me? Don’t just watch. Check out my full list of the 8 entrepreneurial lessons you can learn from the Kardashians!
1. There is no autopilot
Management of the family-owned clothing store, Dash, serves as the centerpiece for many of the show’s most memorable episodes. Recently, the show followed Khloe as she put on a team-building retreat for the LA store’s employees. The store’s manager had expressed concerns with the formation of cliques that were isolating certain employees, and Khloe came to the rescue with an effective and highly entertaining solution.
Moral of the story? You have to be hands on! No matter how much you trust your management, it’s still imperative that you stay involved and invested in the success of your company.
2. Sensitive news needs a strategy
As we came closer to Caitlyn’s debut, the Kardashians saw the advantage in leading us to the final unveiling on their terms. The clan took action and created a series of episodes, television interviews, and magazine covers to strategically break the news. They understood the need for transparency and met it with a carefully crafted release of facts and information.
Be as transparent as possible with what’s going on in your business. Understand when to break important news and do so in a way that has the potential to yield the most positive outcome possible.
3. Control the contract
Kris Jenner, the Executive Producer of Keeping up with the Kardashians, didn’t go into the show blinded by the potential for fame, and because of this won’t leave it without significant profits.
Know what you’re getting into and find a way to effectively protect yourself by maintaining significant stake in what happens throughout the life of your project. Fellow reality star turned mogul, Lauren Conrad, offers up an interesting read in a Forbes article with great insights on maintaining control of your personal brand.
4. Hire who you trust
Most of the employees who work closely with the Kardashians have been family friends prior to all the fame. Why? Because the Kardashians have to do their best to maintain close relationships and at least some level of loyalty with those they bring to the top to avoid getting burned.
People you bring to the top with you should be people you know. Trust is never certain, but you’re far better off working with someone who has proved their loyalty from the beginning than someone who is just jumping on a successful bandwagon.
5. But don’t trust too much…
Another notable Dash episode involved Kim’s undercover investigation to get to the bottom of a theft problem at the New York store. She set up cameras throughout the store then planted a shoplifter to identify the problem. She found that employee training was the issue and addressed the problem head on after management had failed to do so.
Stay connected to your business; check out your options for security, then compare costs and invest in a quality system. This will help you effectively identify and solve problems at your office or storefront before they cost you monetary loss.
6. Listen to your consumers
Naturally, a Dash Kids line was introduced as the family realized potential growth in this market. Dash Kids started with clothes targeted at girls only. After hordes of social commenters demanded a boys’ line, the Kardashians delivered.
Listening to your consumers is key. Watch your comment feeds and identify trends in the feedback you receive. There are lots of tools available to help you monitor your feedback without spending hours scouring the web!
7. Use your network, don’t abuse it
Kendall Jenner went from lesser-known little sister to full-blown supermodel in less than a year. The first chunk of the transformation happened in just one episode when Kris called her old friend at Wilhelmina Models to get Kendall signed. She started her first of many major modeling gigs later that week!
On the flip side of this, connections were nearly ruined in another episode when Kim set up a workshop with Kendall and the industry’s leading runway coach before Kendall was ready for runway.
Networking can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. Reach out to your connections when the timing is right. Never risk your relationship on a premature move.
8. Never drop a deal last minute
In a recent episode, Kris caught some flak from her daughters for agreeing to host her birthday party at a Las Vegas nightclub. She wanted to back out, but thousands had already been spent to promote her appearance. So what did she do? She put on her big girl pants and did the event!
You learn that you should never back out of a deal last minute, but also that you should weigh your options and make decisions carefully. As awesome as an opportunity may sound at first, you should take your time to sleep on any important decision and come back with a clear answer.
Love them or hate them, you have to admit the Kardashians know a thing or two about building and maintaining an empire. Their climb to the top included several crazy events like a sex tape and a notorious murder trial, but their reality show revealed the real catalyst to their success–the Kardashians themselves. More than just a collection of pretty faces, the Kardashian clan has the business savvy to understand that grabbing the audience’s attention isn’t enough;you have to continually work to keep it. That’s a valuable lesson for anyone trying to build a following of loyal customers.
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