Kim Kardashian Learns and Teaches a Lesson in Ethical Marketing

Kim Kardashian recently took the beauty world by storm by launching her very own makeup line. As expected the line of 300 000 units sold out in minutes earning Kardashian $14 million in sales.

Following her younger sister Kylie’s success in the beauty business, Kardashian’s success does not come as a surprise. What is thought-provoking is that this success comes despite Kardashian facing major backlash just days prior to the launch over promotions pictures depicting blackface.

The pictures in question were certainly not the best execution to display Kardashian’s line, and it goes without saying that a bit more market research or hiring models of diverse skin-tones could have saved Kardashian the initial public outcry.

Despite a poor taste in promotions, what is noteworthy is how Kardashian chose to handle the criticism. Immediately following the complaints, Kardashian was quick to go on record to accept responsibility, apologize, and make adjustments to the images. While her actions may appear as standard protocol following a PR crisis, it is debatable whether another brand would have been able to recover from the backlash as quickly and successfully as Kardashian.

The world will always have an opinion about Kardashian, but regardless of whether you like or dislike her, it is hard for anyone to deny that Kardashian is an absolutely brilliant business woman. She has worked tirelessly over the years to build a brand for herself. Undoubtedly, the name Kim Kardashian today is synonymous with self-expression and empowerment. Presenting her life as an open book  puts Kardashian in an extremely vulnerable light, however it also helps make her appear more relatable and authentic so when controversies do occur she appear sincere in her apologies.

In no way is this a post defending Kardashian’s promotional pictures for the KKW make-up line, but there is a lesson here marketing ‘gurus the beauty industry can learn. As beauty serves a societal need, products must connect with audiences. In order to create products which connect, the focus must be on building relatable brands with carefully curated content and a consistent dialogue with your market. Kardashian states to have learned her lesson in ethical marketing, but has the rest of the beauty industry?

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