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Be the Kardashian of Your Brand

Be the Kardashian of Your Brand

This must be the 21st century, because the Kardashians are in the news again. This week, the national kar-nversation began when Amy Schumer guest hosted Saturday Night Live, cracking a few jokes about the sisters and their nipped and tucked gymbot bodies. The next day, Khloe Tweeted a body-positive rebuttal, and headlines declared a Twitter war.

It fizzled quickly, but there was enough old news (Kim’s pregnancy, Kourtney’s divorce, Kylie – now a blonde, icymi! – finding herself), to fill the gap between Sunday’s headlines and Tuesday night’s breaking news: Khloe’s ex is clinging to life and Khloe has rushed to his bedside. The news cycle continues.

Sometimes the public reaction is positive. Khloe can toss off a clever one-liner. Kim and Kourtney have cute kids. Kendall has legit fashion cred. Most of the time, it’s not. I don’t need to list their perceived offenses — just scan the nearest Facebook feed. But there’s no arguing that these women know how to keep people talking about them.

Once upon a time, I found it easy to ignore the Kardashians. I don’t watch reality TV or read tabloids and I don’t engage in many conversations with people who do. I wasn’t a hater, if only because I didn’t care enough about them one way or another.

That didn’t last. Little by little, I got to learn more than I ever wanted to know about this publicity-hungry clan. They began appearing in more upscale publications and walked the red carpets at a higher class of events. They started sharing tips on the things they were best known for (most notably, how to enhance one’s physical assets). And, of course, they took command of every social media channel: constantly one-upping each other with the most likes, the most follows, the most retweets. There’s no ignoring them and they will not go away. Whether we like it or not, we are all keeping up with the Kardashians.

Every brand has the ability to harness that kind of power, but relatively few do. I think of this every year when I fill out the Best of Omaha survey and I have nary a thing to say when I get to categories like auto glass repair or water treatment systems. Having never needed those services in Omaha, I couldn’t name a one. On the other hand, I’ve never, say, used a pawn shop but could see myself writing Sol’s Jewelry and Loan into their respective category because they have donated to auctions I’ve attended, appeared in local media coverage, and show up from time to time on social media channels I use. Simply put, they’re the one I’ve heard of, so they are the one I assume is the best (if only by default).

Next week, there will be new things to learn about the Kardashians. New hair colors to surprise us, new contouring tips to try. Maybe Kim will have her baby and we can all critique his name. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is, people will be talking about them. Will they be talking about you?