Regardless of the Kardashian/Jenner clan’s negative thoughts and opinions, one thing is for sure: they are experienced at using their is their celebrity status and influence to connect with people worldwide.
With over 250 million social media followers and a 900 million dollar empire, Kylie Jenner has shown that she has the business intuition to succeed in her business in the fashion and cosmetics industry and to use PR and marketing to reach her target audience effectively.
From her childhood on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” to being the business mogul she is today, Jenner has been in the public eye for over 13 years, which she has used to her advantage when it comes to gain visibility for her company.
This article will look at how Jenner has incorporated PR and marketing into her business strategy to become the youngest person to be featured on Forbes Celebrity 100.
1) Finding the right audience
Digital PR has made the process of researching target audiences a lot easier; companies and individuals can scroll through social media platforms and run their analytics to find out everything about their target audience.
With that in mind, Jenner did an excellent job when marketing and doing the appropriate PR to generate media coverage and gain sales. Jenner and her team did the relevant market research to see what type of people were engaging with her content, where they were doing it, and how Kylie Cosmetics could better connect with them.
“Kylie is a modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer.” – Peter Harf, chairman of Coty
2) Great organic content
After narrowing down a target audience, companies need to create content that will pique their interest and retain their interest. Through social media and her company’s website, Jenner provides customers with user-friendly platforms and creative content.
Customers tend to stick with one company when purchasing items is whether the process is simple and user-friendly. Especially for a predominantly online-only business, Kylie Cosmetics needed a website created to provide a quick and easy shopping experience. While the website is not groundbreaking or original, it did provide customers with just that.
The website itself can be seen as an extension of her social media presence. It is clear and accommodates impulse purchases by having a prominent call-to-action button beneath each product photo.
Along with that, she also gives off the impression of being authentic on her social media accounts that she uses to promote Kylie Cosmetics, post photos of her family, her travels, and other moments of her life. We go a bit further in detail further on in this article. For her business specifically, Jenner also uses social media videos to educate her community.
In Jenner’s case, she intuitively knows what type of content she should be posting. Some startups and entrepreneurs may not have the reach or financial budget to achieve Jenner’s media coverage level. Still, with some help from the professionals (which Jenner has as well), they should begin getting attention for their brand.
Jenner outsources many responsibilities to other businesses and individuals; startups can do that as well by looking to PR agencies like Pressfarm for help. Pressfarm works with companies to create newsworthy content to initiate a relationship with journalists and media outlets. They also provide companies with access to their PR database of over 75,000 media contacts so that they can find their perfect media match. Since the Internet has proven that digital PR and marketing are also essential, Pressfarm helps companies increase their online visibility in relevant search results across major search engines.
3) Connection with the audience
Customers will generally gravitate towards a company that they have an emotional connection with. As many PR and marketing articles will state, when a company presents a story or message that resonates with audiences and connects with them on an emotional level, they are more likely to gain visibility and generate sales.
Jenner could do this through the TV show she is in with the rest of her family. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” has been on the air since 2007 when Jenner was just nine years old, and it gave exposure to the entire family, which has helped them with their other business endeavours.
When Kylie Cosmetics first launched in 2015, audiences had already connected with her and her entire family. They had an emotional connection with every member as they showed every aspect of their lives, both good and bad. For Jenner, individually, it allowed her to understand her target audience and to reach them. Since millennials and Gen Zs make up most of her audience, it was straightforward for her to connect with them because she was just like them. Jenner is part of her target audience’s demographic, which is why she knew right where and how to market to them.
4) Social media
Kylie Jenner is the epitome of influencer marketing. Even before Instagram became the platform that has made influencer marketing an essential part of any marketing strategy, Jenner established her brand to make it a necessary part of her strategy.
While many beauty and cosmetic companies that have a presence on social media have to turn to others to help promote their products, Jenner simply needs to use her face to showcase her products.
Kylie Cosmetics was successful from the get-go because her social media followers were real fans that wanted to know everything that was going on in her daily life. Since her audience was already looking at her social media content, Jenner used it to create her new collections. Her strategy is relatively straightforward for anyone looking out for it; she carefully places product shots in between photos highlighting her personal life to change things up and present something unexpected. She also shows behind-the-scenes footage of trips to her cosmetics factory, tells fans about upcoming collection launches, and promotes her sales through her selfies and videos. Also, she uses social media videos through YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat to showcase her collections. With this content, her followers and others can learn how to recreate her looks and have new makeup tricks.
Not only is Jenner an influencer herself, but she also uses influencer marketing to connect with experts and influence in the industry to help promote her brand. She knew that her celebrity status would only take her so far; she needed to convince people to buy her products as she was emerging into an already saturated fashion and cosmetics industry. Since she wanted to reach a wider audience, she looked to popular YouTube beauty influencers like James Charles and others to gain respect and recognition from the online beauty community. From a personal standpoint, Jenner has collaborated with many designer brands and other companies to connect with that audience.
Through her social media experience, she also knows how to stir up attention through radio silence. Since she always has new content and posts every day, fans were confused when Jenner seemed to disappear for some time. There were occasionally product posts, but nothing that would divulge her personal life. It turned out that Jenner was pregnant with her daughter Stormi and only revealed it after her baby was born. While that may not seem like a big deal for many, Jenner maintained public interest for herself and her company through effective social media marketing.
5) Dealing with controversy
Jenner and her family are no strangers to controversy and the public eye, and it seems like the world knows everything they are doing and when. We are tuned into their lives whether they like it or not. As much as that may seem slightly insensitive, the old saying “Any publicity is good publicity” says otherwise.
Jenner has had to deal with internet trolls, negative press, false rumors, but she has still managed to be the successful businesswoman she is today. She can even create a bond with her fans, and with $630 million in sales since the launch of Kylie Cosmetics, the negative press can keep rolling in because it doesn’t seem to matter. Jenner remains focused on providing the fashion and beauty community with exclusive access to her products and life.
However, one controversy that seems to have stuck with Jenner is when Forbes decided to pull her billionaire status. While critics and the Kardashian-Jenners’ mention tend to get some disgruntled looks, people are still intrigued by the cash that the family generates. Forbes declared Jenner a self-made billionaire in March 2019, a statement which they later retracted after further investigation into its financials and Jenner herself. Their research showed that Jenner and her marketing manager and mother had exaggerated the size and profitability of her business. Regardless of whether she is a billionaire or not, it is evident that Jenner and her family got the media attention. She is still one of the highest-paid influencers and celebrities in the world.
6) Crisis management
Along with controversy comes crisis management. Before she became a businesswoman, Jenner faced controversy when she appeared on Instagram with bigger lips. At first, she denied getting any surgical enhancement and went on to launch Kylie Cosmetics. Jenner began selling products that she attributed to her new lips. She has since admitted to lip injections, but that has not stopped people from buying her product because of the influence she has on her fan base.
As mentioned in the Forbes incident, Jenner received some negative publicity after that. However, it is just a small hurdle that she had to cross in retrospect to her entire career.
After Kylie Cosmetics products were launched, Jenner again received negative press when conspiracies started showing up online that her products contained an almost identical formula to another makeup brand’s product. But, Jenner made it clear on her social media platforms that while her company and Colourpop shared the same manufacturers, Seed Beauty, her products had a formula that Jenner created and was exclusive to her brand.
Seed Beauty has played a considerable role in making products that feed curiosity and turn them into commodification. The cosmetics company has helped Jenner launch her products at the speed that she does because rather than spending months or years trying to develop a product, Seed Beauty wants to get their makeup out as fast as possible. However, this business model has caused some people in the beauty industry to question the brand and the message it is trying to portray.
“The [Kylie Cosmetics] makeup line glorifies her full lips, putting them front and center. The marketing doesn’t revolve around the products themselves- their texture, longevity, colors, pigment pay-off, etc. – but it revolves on Kylie as a beauty and style icon.” – Celia San Miguel, founder of beauty site Sicka Than Average.
However, despite any controversy or negative reviews, they do not impact sales for the company.
7) The impact of celebrity
As mentioned previously, it seems that whatever Kylie Jenner and her family does, we all know about it. For this reason, it appears that Jenner has become an untouchable force in the world of PR and marketing.
The whole idea is to use PR and marketing tactics to build relationships with journalists and gain media coverage. For Jenner, she already has that, which is why she could get sales for her company from the get-go. The whole Kardashian/Jenner clan has been in the tabloids for the past 14 years. They have been to exotic places, worked with some of the most famous designers, been invited to the most exclusive parties, and gone through some pretty traumatic things, all documented for viewer’s pleasure. Yes, they are known for being a family that is “famous for being famous,” but it is no doubt that they monetized that to the extreme.
8) Building demand
Through social media, Jenner has been able to build demand for her products. Other strategies she’s used include creating “limited edition” stock and having pop-up stores drive more attention and want for the products.
Since Kylie Cosmetics is predominantly an online-only brand, the hype about a pop-up store was immense. It gave skeptics and customers hesitant to spend money based on online images and reviews alone, a chance to test products in real life before they commit to purchasing. Existing customers and fans were also able to get the experience of shopping at a storefront.
She also signed an exclusive distribution deal with beauty retailer Ulta to expand her business. Because of Ulta’s mix of affordable and higher-end makeup products, Ulta seemed like the perfect fit for Kylie Cosmetics because of its access to many different audiences. Not only was Jenner able to access a wider audience, but Ulta was also able to get a brand that required no marketing push because of Jenner’s ability to communicate with a large number of people.
“She did well online, but there’s only so far that that can take her. She probably realized: ‘If I want to get big, I’ve got to scale and to do that, I need a partner. ‘Ultimately, she wants to grow her brand, and she needs this store presence to do that.”
– Shannon Coyne, equity research analyst at BMO Capital Markets
While Kylie Cosmetics now has it’s the signature collection available at all times, Jenner has maintained hype about her brand by creating limited-edition collections based on essential times in her life or collaborations with her other famous siblings. She has done plenty since the beginning of the company, but one that still stands out is her 2016 Valentine’s Limited Edition Lip Kits that sold out in just 10 minutes.
9) Expansion of the brand
What started as a cosmetics company that just sold lip kits has now become a full-fledged cosmetics and skincare brand. Through her product’s popularity, Jenner decided that she wanted to expand her company to include all types of makeup, tools, and skincare.
With Kylie Cosmetics’ success and her knowledge of the beauty industry, Jenner expanded her Kylie Cosmetics empire with Kylie Skin. She decided that with the knowledge she obtained to building her first company, she would launch another one separate from it.
Along with that, Jenner announced that she was selling 51% of her company to beauty giant Coty. Whatever doubts existed before about Jenner not being a billionaire were erased when news broke that she was selling shares that would value her business at about $1.2 billion. It not only helped Coty get a social-media-savvy brand to reach a different audience, but it also gave Jenner a chance of expansion and much money.
10) Having the right team
Every successful company has one key element – the right team backing it. Anyone who knows the family is very close-knit and tends to collaborate quite a bit when it comes to products and endorsements. Having “momager” Kris Jenner, there is also a definite benefit since she is the one that makes the final decisions when it comes to big career moves for the family. It is clear that Jenner’s team behind her, whether it is family or companies that help develop her brand, work together as one cohesive unit to gain exposure for the brand.
A winning team that shares the same values and understands the key components is essential because the message should be the same throughout any venture.
Kylie Jenner has become an untouchable force through her social media presence, influence, and ability to use PR and marketing to shed light on her life. Her business success may partly be attributed to her celebrity status. Even so, her ability to understand her role and how it can play to her advantage has played a big part in her success. She is the epitome of influencer and social media marketing and continues to educate and inspire people worldwide.