The times they are a changin’. Today’s digital world is said to be evolving quicker than the Industrial Revolution. Brands are constantly being told of the importance of keeping pace or risk falling behind their competitors.

Much of the focus has been on having the latest tech in order to maintain a competitive edge and have access to the newest platforms. But all the gadgets and gizmos, from AI-enabled martech to IGTV, will merely be bells and whistles if your company mentality is stuck in the past.

Brands don’t live in a separate sphere to that of society. Ignoring what’s going on in the wider world puts brands at risk of becoming irrelevant or facing a serious backlash. And if you still believe there is no such thing as bad publicity, you certainly haven’t been keeping up.

Kardashian Khaos

Not so long ago, the Kardashians were an impenetrable force to be reckoned with. Whether you’ve loved them or loathed them, there was no denying that the famous family have been a strong example of brand power. They capitalised on digital platforms and created an empire that could rival Darth Vader’s. Perhaps the most social media savvy of them all is Kylie Jenner – she may be the youngest of the clan but she realised the power of her social media following and is now set to be the youngest self-made billionaire (use of the term self-made is certainly up for debate).

But are the forces of change finally making a dent in that Kardashian armour?

The family is certainly no stranger to scandal and they’ve continued to bounce back, or seemingly breezed right on through the eye of the storm, many times before. Momager Kris Jenner is a well-oiled crisis management machine who has helped steer the family back to safe waters. But this time, it feels like there is something different in the air.

In the last 18 months, the Kardashians seem to have been making more faux pas than selfies – from Kendall’s tactless Pepsi ad to Kim’s ‘irresponsible’ lollipop ad. And it seems they’re facing a turn in the tide with the attitudes of their followers.

Just this week, Kim Kardashian has come under fire yet again for sharing videos of her famous sisters commenting on her recent weight loss. Comments including “I’m really concerned. You don’t look like you’re eating. You look so skinny.”

Needless to say, people were quick to voice their concerns over these damaging comments. And, perhaps most frustratingly, it seems the Kardashians aren’t listening. As a global brand, the Kardashians have a lot of power. And, as Uncle Ben once said: “With great power comes great responsibility.” But it appears the Kardashians didn’t get that memo. While society is pushing hard to move forward, the famous family suddenly don’t seem as ahead of the times.

Trouble ahead?

So, is this really the beginning of the end for the Kardashians? Or do we all just simply long to see their failure that we’ll grasp onto anything we can? Only time will tell, but these last few months have proven to be an interesting observation.

Once seen to rule the social media world, they can’t stop getting themselves into hot water online. The family seem stuck in a Calabasas bubble – instead of keeping up with themselves, they should try to keep up with their audience.

Learn from their mistakes

Whether they’ve realised and carried on regardless or not, times are a changin’. Luckily for brands, there are lessons to be learnt from the Kardashian’s recent mishaps:

  • Keep up with your audience – Your followers today might not be the same in a year’s time. That’s not to say that they’re no longer fans of your brand, but life changes and their personal and professional life might have transformed dramatically over that period. This means they’ll have new goals and face new challenges. You can’t truly know your audience if your data is out of date, so keep checking in.
  • Listen to your audience – Social media platforms allow brands to engage in conversations with their customers. If your followers are telling you they’re unhappy with something – be it a one-off post or a campaign – don’t just ignore them, listen to them and take action. Otherwise they’ll go elsewhere.
  • Look after your digital footprint – Kim’s Instagram profile usually has a slick aesthetic that isn’t just thrown together, but her recent Insta stories seem to far removed from this look. You need to be consistent with your brand, both online and offline.
  • Get outside your brand bubble – Life is pushing ahead outside your windows. Whatever social movements are taking place, even if it’s as something small as the whole of England becoming football fanatics, you need to keep up and realise what impact it is having on your audience.

Marketing might take place in the realms of social media, in a video, or in print, but don’t forget that the real world is influencing and shaping your audience. To make sure your brand’s message stays relevant, speak to M2 today.

Photo credit: JStone /

Ben Hollom

August 6, 2018