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Following our session with an influencer recently, who explained that amongst her poised photographs she enjoys sharing honest and natural content with her followers. I began to think about how much their world is on display to the public and wondered how they make the decision to keep certain things private.

A family who know everything about being in the public eye and the centre of media attention are the Kardashians. Like them or loath them, they are arguably the most well-known and powerful people on the planet. They have successfully created a recognised global brand though their long-standing reality TV series and have diversified into various clothing, make-up and merchandise lines.

The youngest of the Kardashian clan was the subject of recent speculation about a rumored pregnancy.
For months there were stories of said pregnancy but with no proof or confirmation from the Kardashian camp. This influencer had her fans on tenterhooks. Here was Kylie, someone who has previously been very active on social media, choosing to not disclose any information to her followers about this immensely personal subject, leaving them wondering what was in fact true. Whilst it is true there is rarely smoke without fire, surely, the public would know such a thing about a reality star whose very fame was built upon people knowing everything about their life? How could people have known the colour of her latest lip kit? Who her sisters were dating? What country her family had chartered a private jet to that week, but not known about this? I concluded that it was a true example of an influencer strategically and effectively withholding information that she deemed to be too private to share with the world. But would doing this be to the detriment of her following?

All was revealed when Kylie confirmed that not only had she been pregnant but had since given birth to a child, telling the story of her past 9 months through a sentimental and well edited video journal posted on her social media.

Worth an estimated 50mn dollars, having made more money than any of her sisters, she has built an established  brand. She successfully uses her social media as a marketing tool, as many influencers do. Brands will inevitably at some point go through a period of significant change, in this case comparable to Kylie’s pregnancy, where they may not wish to disclose sensitive information. It is key that all stakeholders understand the desired messaging. The Kardashians maintained their public image by ensuring all had the same clear brief to not confirm or deny anything. No stakeholder made it harder for any other by confusing that message. Arguably the brand was enhanced by saying less rather than more. Further to this, even people outside of the family circle were willing to respect the wish to keep this secret. In their campaign with Calvin Klein, the brand agreed to partake in this shared messaging by allowing Kylie to pose in a way that did not obviously display her body.

Even amidst a time of uncertainty, no brand wants to halt sales or remove themselves completely from the public eye. Whilst it is true Kylie reduced her social media activity drastically, she was still vocal about her make up brand and her family still took part in major ad campaigns.

A successful brand and influencer should have control over their image to the public and speak to their audience. How fitting then, that when Kylie Jenner eventually announced her child to the world, it was in the form of a video diary, beautifully edited with a soundtrack, and voiceovers. She had managed to completely tailor how this announcement was portrayed. She coupled this with a Twitter message, explaining why she had chosen not to share this time publicly to the world. Even though this choice seemed out of character, as someone usually so willing to over-share, fans praised her honesty and respected her right to privacy.

So here we are, and Stormi Webster (Jenner’s daughter) is now one month old. Kylie has already snap chatted her post baby body, her social media followers have increased, and she seems to have emerged stronger than ever from her brand’s delicate period of change and uncertainty.

 

Rachel Smyth, Account Executive

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