According to new book, The Kim Kardashian Principle by Jeetendr Sehdev, social media stars aren’t just celebrity flotsam – they can teach us about transparency and marketing too
What comes to mind when you think of Kim Kardashian? Kanye West? That photo? According to “the world’s leading authority on celebrity branding”, Jeetendr Sehdev, business leaders ignore social media and reality stars at their peril. Kardashian, he says, lives by the principles of ‘Selfie’, and in The Kim Kardashian Principle: Why Shameless Sells – celebrity exposé meets self-help manual – he outlines them via a handy ‘backronym’.
Kardashian, says Sehdev, is “a true game-changer” in celebrity terms, having redefined traditional perceptions of what people consider successful and sexy. A “new-school feminist”, she’s championed some tricky causes, and in common with other devil-may-care millennials has an innovative and unrepentant attitude.
According to Sehdev, seven out of 10 young people describe their relationship with today’s YouTube stars as intimate and personal. He advocates a Kardashian-style candour, vulnerability and honesty, which audiences respond to positively: “If you want to connect, you have to be overexposed.”
This section is all about uncompromising leadership – and the author offers some surprising advice, particularly for buttoned-up British readers. With sub-headings provocatively titled “Love Your Haters”, “Aim to Offend” and “Nice Guys Should Finish Last”, Sehdev suggests “standing up for your beliefs” if you want to be a success.
“Flaws are fascinating, so embrace yours,” says Sehdev, who also quotes Leonard Cohen’s celebrated lyric, “There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in”. As psychologists have discovered, people relate more positively to those who behave imperfectly, and today’s audiences crave “authenticity and real imperfections”.
After the surprise appearance of Leonard Cohen, Sehdev throws another curveball, introducing notorious warlock Aleister Crowley, whose “Do what thou wilt” message (as Sehdev puts it: “Whatever you do or feel, do it purposefully”) is right on-point here.
In this final chapter, Sehdev pulls all the preceding lessons together to spell out how best to make your mark, proactively, through building your self-esteem, self-belief and realness. “Kim doesn’t sit around waiting for things to happen to her; she goes out and makes them happen.”
The Kim Kardashian Principle
by Jeetendr Sehdev is out now, published by Piatkus Books, £13.99