This morning, Kim’s short Instagram post on @variety -with this quote- went viral. No doubt, you can already guess the divide in the comments. One side is supportive. The other side says the Kardashians’ activities do not qualify as work.
What is work nowadays, anyways? Bands make music. Sounds fun. Is this work? Athletes play in games. Is athletic competition work? Artists draw, paint, sculpt, digitize. Is that activity work? There is more. You get it. The rise and significance of “Creator Economics” and those that purchase their product or inspirations have forever altered the definition of work- and our perception of it.
Today’s post also struck a personal and professional note with me. Earlier in my career, I was the brand manager for the Kardashian’s first ever skincare collection. It was a totally different time then. Timing relevance is key to understanding the environment then. At the time, none of us knew what the future would hold for this budding social phenomenon called the “Kardashians”. We do now- but trust at that time, we definitely had no idea.
Social media was just taking off. TV was still a static device-there was no streaming. No Netflix. Glossy magazines totally controlled the ideas and distribution of fashion and beauty. Reality shows on cable were a brand new concept.
The Kardashian brand became a part of the meteoric rise of all things digital in media. Everything was so new, happening really fast and there were no historical benchmarks. So, as a marketer, it was really difficult to know what media activity was a good or a bad idea. The solution? They did it all. It was very hectic. The schedule was grueling. Late nights, early morning calls and a lot of travel.
There was a pivotable marketing moment where I truly realized what the internet fostered. We did a test on website traffic. We all assumed that the website visitors would track from major markets like Los Angeles and New York. Could not have been more wrong. Traffic was mainly from the heartland, with the second and third tier markets throughout the middle of the country plowing in huge numbers. It was distribution and reach like never before. Smartphones and social media apps fanned the excitement.
I have managed a lot of celebrity brands. Scheduling is always hectic. Last minute cancellations were unfortunately, not uncommon. Not the case with the Kardashians though. During my tenure, they kept their commitments. They never acted like they took the fast-forming meteoric ride for granted.
What was it like to work with them during this time? Fantastic. They were all very kind – and available. Kris was a very active manager. I will never forget the time she took a call from me. That was not so unusual – except for the fact that she was on a live set as they were photographing Kim for her very first Vogue Magazine cover shoot.
That commitment to work will always stay with me. Kim may have an interesting point.