The Kardashian Effect: The Power of Influencers on Consumer Demand

Posted by Mitchell Communications Group on March 31, 2016


When most people think of the Kardashians or Jenners, images of too-tight Herve Leger dresses, fancy sports cars and lip filler injections come to mind. All too frequently they are ridiculed in conversations or discussed at water coolers in dialogues that begin with “Can you believe what (insert Kardashian or Jenner family member name) did…?”

As much as people in general would like to mock or criticize them for their actions, fashion choices, etc., what they don’t realize is that the notorious brood is playing us. “Us” being an opportune word for consumers in the American retail marketplace.

What we may or may not realize is that the K/J dynasty is subconsciously directing our buying decisions via a multitude of platforms – their incredibly popular television show and most notably their social media channels. Kim even recently launched her own brand of emojis. Within minutes, the number of people attempting to purchase the “Kimoji” app allegedly crashed the Apple App store (it’s reported that this was due in part to 9,000 downloads per millisecond). 

To take this a bit further, we have to look more at how what they like and promote is directly correlating to sales:

  • After posting about a onesie on social media, Kylie and Kris were able to shut down a relatively unknown company with organic web traffic.
  • The Kylie Jenner Lip Kit has sold out multiple times in less than 10 minutes.
  • The Jenner family involvement in H&M Balmain sales has created a consumer purchasing frenzy.

As they say, the proof is in the numbers and there is no indication of this family slowing down any time soon. Their ongoing decision of brands to align with will continue to change the shape of what Americans eat, how they dress, how they express themselves via text and truthfully, what they will do next is anyone’s guess. Through consistent coverage and visibility they are seeping into the general public’s unconscious and becoming a part of the ever-evolving cultural phenomenon of what it means to be a “celebrity.”

As publicists, we have to take this information and make it applicable to how we approach our day-to-day client challenges of staying relevant and top-of-mind for earned editorial coverage. Personal feelings aside, this family is what the majority of Americans are talking about – if not aspiring to – and it is up to us to develop impactful strategies of aligning with notable individuals to get our brands “the most bang for their buck.” 

Mommy bloggers are not holding the clout they used to and the influencer realm is always evolving. Fashionistas like Chiara Ferragni and Olivia Palermo are being tapped by major consumer brands like Pantene Pro-V and Nordstrom; two brands that are nationally recognized and highly regarded, not just in New York or Los Angeles. Brands are now taking a chance and realizing that they can and should integrate aspirational individuals, like the K/J family, into their widespread campaigns in order to generate buzz.

Again, it comes back to us as publicists and our responsibility to our clients to not only be ahead of trends, but ahead of the curve on strategy. How can we challenge ourselves and our brands to be more forward thinking in the emerging influencer platform?


Mitchell is a full-service PR agency. We’re best known in the industry for our expertise in three core areas: Consumer Marketing, Brand Reputation, and Hyper-Local Activation. Ready to talk about how the power of PR can change your business?

Get In Touch

Topics: trends, influencers, consumer marketing