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The Kardashians: Marketing Lessons for Every Business Owner

Business marketing lessons from the Kardashians

The Kardashians may not have any meaningful significance, but it's tough to deny their commercial relevance. The family is a well-oiled marketing machine: when you consider their four television shows, chain of clothing stores, book deals, and fragrances – to say nothing of endorsement deals for everything from pistachio nuts to sneakers, and a wedding worth $17.9 million for broadcast rights alone – the Kardashians can justifiably call themselves a lifestyle brand. As much as we hate to admit it, business owners can learn some marketing tips from the Kardashians. A few key lessons:

Accept lemons, make lemonade. 

It’s no secret that the Kardashian family rise to celebrity fame was the result of Kim Kardashian's sex tape leaked in 2007. However, there is a business lesson that can be derived from the debacle. When Vivid Entertainment bought the rights for $1 million and released “Kim Kardashian: Superstar," Kardashian first sued Vivid for ownership of the tape, but was later persuaded to drop the suit and settle with the company for $5 million. Mortfiying? Yes. But profitable? A resounding yes. The Kardashians show business owners that when handed an obstacle, tackle it–it may even be a profitable opportunity.

Keep it in the family. 

Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner has been criticized for “pimping out” her children, but the mother’s shrewd dealings may be a smart move. Of the 10% manager fee Kris takes from her family members’ earnings, daughter Kourtney says, “We’d have to give it to someone else; I’d rather keep it in the family,” and Kim states, “She has this vision for us, and she makes it happen.” In fact, it has been reported that Kris “makes it happen” to the tune of $65 million a year. What can business owners learn from this? When the goal is to build wealth, keep it in the family – all of it.

Talk yourself up. 

As Barbara Walters recently explained, the Kardashians are maligned as much as they are beloved because they are “famous for being famous." Regardless, the Kardashians are massive earners because they have presented themselves as important to television, profitable for companies, and valuable for consumers. When Kris Jenner says, "People love looking at the growth of a brand" in regards to her own family, we are also inclined to see them as an established, lasting symbol. What can business owners learn from this? Projecting confidence is the key to success – take it from the Kardashians.

Franchise Buyers Don’t Need a Lawyer – Yeah Right!

These excuses are usually first heard when I meet with a franchise owner who is now asking for advice regarding their dissatisfaction with their franchise relationship. Too late. That is, sometimes it is too late to help them.

Big Sandwiches Equal Big Profits at Potbelly's Sandwich Works

The Potbelly’s train is firing on all cylinders and has successfully penetrated the uber-competitive fast casual sandwich sector. Potbelly sells a basic sub (PBJ, Pizza, etc) with relevant options (health, supremes) and offers an awesome dining experience. Their main target demographic is the lunch market, and their lunch lines are often out the door. Their menu includes soups, shakes and salads in addition to subs and the old-wood decor and live music make for a warm, neighborhood feel. Atmosphere is only the beginning though. Their products are well-crafted and satisfying. The quality of their ingredients is a cut above, yet price remains similar to that of their competition.