Say my Name, Say my Name….

How important can a name be? I mean, after all its just a name, right?

For some, a family name is just a simple detail but for the Kardashian clan it’s a very important commodity. Its actually so important that their livelihood relies on it.

Over the past 10 years, the Kardashians have risen to fame through their real life exposé. By sharing their lavish and privileged lifestyle with the world, this family has built a name for themselves which goes beyond the 4 walls of the home. Like them or not, the clever Kardashians have become a successful international brand. But what is this unique brand and how did they do it?

keeping up with the K

Brand Me, Brand You

As per Iacobucci (2012), a brand begins with a name. However, as described by Dan Shawbel, branding your company is not enough, the world wants to hear what you have to say. This is where the Kardashians are right on point. They have a lot to say and they have a large audience listening to every word, tweet and post. By creating para-social relationships with viewers, individuals are influenced regarding their image and ultimately their self worth (Boon & Lomore, 2001). Each 30-minute show provides a vehicle to further promote the Kardashian brand and upcoming new products. As described by McAlexander et al (2002) a marketer can build a community by sharing the experience with the customer. In the case of the Kardashians, viewers are on the journey with them and although physically not present, are engaged in the details of their life including their business aspirations. For example, the Kardashians clothing line “Dash”, which features in the show, reminds viewers they can purchase clothing to further connect with the brand. Brand association, through Kardashian branded products, play a huge role in tangibly connecting followers with those they admire. Viewers are marketed from both a “service” perspective (intangible products) and also a “goods” perspective (tangible products).

dash 2016

The Marketing Exchange

According to research, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, which commenced back in 2007, has been one of the longest running TV reality series in America. In this self obsessed world, determined to snap the perfect selfie, the lives of the Kardashians have somewhat become fascinating and entertaining to a large demographic of young eons. Image conscious teens are looking for beautiful and inspiring role models and the Kardashians are providing this through their glamourous and successful image. Many may argue that sharing your life with the world is an invasion of privacy however for the Kardashians, it provides a means to further promote who they are and what they can offer to the world. The exchange is simple and easy. As described by Scott Thompson in Chron, it all comes down to utility which motivates people in the marketing exchange. As long as everyone involved experiences value and satisfaction in the process, the marketing exchange is a success. In a sense, both the brand (Kardashians) and the consumers (their followers) win.


Brand Equity 

Underpinning their success, is the value of their brand. By viewing Aakers brand equity model below, its clear to see that the Kardashians have done exceptionally well to establish all five aspects of their brand equity. Their brand awareness is evident through mass media exposure. In addition, their popularity proves that perceived quality, brand loyalty, brand identity and brand association has been built in the hearts of their followers. This can be further measured by their huge social media following resulting in healthy profits from ongoing advertising endorsement deals. All which contributes to and continues to build their personal brand equity.


New products

The product life cycle is an interesting thought when it comes to the Kardashians. Where most products go through the usual introduction to the market, market growth, maturity and decline (Iacobucci, 2012) the Kardashians are unique as they continue to grow and diversify. A contributing factor can be attributed to the physical stages of life each Kardashian sister finds themselves. By appealing to a specific demographic i.e. single and glamorous, young trendy mumma or industrious 30-ish year old, the Kardashians are able to broaden their marketing net thus appealing to wider audience.

Still not convinced or know what the fuss is all about? Take a look at the following video by Vox and you be the judge.

Author – Melanie Power                                                  Student ID: 216163107



Aaker, D.A. (1991), Managing brand equity; capitalizing on the value of a brand name. The Free Press, New York, N.Y.

Boon, S. and Lomore, C. (2001), Admirer-celebrity relationships among young adults.. Human Communication Research, 27: 432–465. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2001.tb00788.x

Dan Schawbel. 2010. How to brand yourself: An Introduction. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 August 2016].

Iacobucci, D 2014, Marketing Management (MM4), Student Edition, South Western, Cengage Learning, Mason USA.

James H. McAlexander, John W. Schouten, Harold F. Koenig (2002) Building Brand Community. Journal of Marketing: January 2002, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 38-54.

Scott Thompson. 2016. What is Marketing Exchange?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 August 2016].


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