Kim Kardashian West’s SKIMS were initially envisioned as Kimono, but the brand confusion – and cultural appropriation concerns – led the mega-star down a different path. One that social analytics helps brands identify the first time around, to avoid this sort of confusion and its corresponding price tag!
Kimono, Oh No
Kim, who is fond of naming things using a play on her famous moniker (think: Kimoji and KKW Beauty), worked for a year to create the name for her newest line of “solution wear.” It wasn’t “shapewear” as it was intended for bodies that work, and come in a wide array of sizes. “Kimono” was to be a size inclusive breakthrough in the space.
And while the clever integration of a famous name is typically a smart move, coming at this particular culture with undergarments (of all things) was poor planning times two.
KKW told The New York Times that her Kimono “was meant to be ‘a nod to the beauty and detail that goes into a garment,’ [but it] quickly became the subject of online charges of ignorant and offensive misuse.”
She’s a social media pro though, and after assessing the outcry, came up with a new name that seems an even better choice considering main competitor, Spanx.
SKIMS for the Win
As announced on her Instagram, Kim’s new name (for the social media win) was SKIMS:
Her fanbase wasn’t even mad at her – and if they were, it surely didn’t affect sales. SKIMS made $2 million within minutes when it launched on September 10.
So, it’s a good thing she had this backup plan – or was able to come up with a solid Plan B so quickly. And at least this one isn’t a name that already exists in some odd and unrelated fashion. Or in a way that could cause confusion, or unrelated trending sentiment online to confuse potential brand partners and investors and such!
Well . . . kind of. SKIMS is also the abbreviation for Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). And there’s a good bit of conversation happening around it from time to time.
Mind you, this is nothing compared to attempting to trademark “Kimono” to sell underthings, but it’s still something for a brand to be aware of. Otherwise, when sourcing social sentiment, a tool offering only surface insight may give a brand a sense of something amiss, when it’s just . . . a miss.
This is all fun and games for brands, till someone decides not to fund that next idea without expensive background research as they don’t trust your methods. KKW may not have that problem to contend with, but you can be certain that most brands absolutely would.
Fortunately for SKIMS and other Kim creations to come, NetBase’s Next Generation Artificial Intelligence-powered analytics, offers clickable insight. And just being able to click isn’t enough, of course – once brands do, they’re able to explore insight in a variety of ways. Let’s explore a few.
Tracking Conversations to Uncover Insight
A marketer might be quick to dismiss trade treaties as unrelated to “Solution Wear,” and that would be a mistake where KKW is concerned. Exploring “Armenia” offers a humanitarian snapshot that her PR team should play up:
And the #VanessaBeecroft hashtag (from word cloud above), which is capturing more conversation than Kim herself, is a nod to the famed photographer. She appears to be taking all the SKIMS shots for Kim.
Brands with the budget, seeking to raise their awareness meter, would want to potentially capture a spot on VB’s calendar for some imagery of their own. Or maybe find another, equally mesmerizing and influential visual artist to partner with. Online has become increasingly visual, of course, so these partnerships make sense for any brand, really.
And that’s another way to avoid brand confusion – connecting with influential folks in a given space to see what insight they offer before committing to an expensive and ill-advised branding/campaign path!
Avoiding Brand Confusion with Influencer Marketing
Although Kim is her own best influencer friend, there are lots of other influential folks out there that even a celebrity would do well to partner with. They’re super helpful when it comes to understanding relevant, real-world conversations in a space.
Not everyone can be influential in everything they touch, like multi-talented Miss West. But they could certainly have a better “wo/man on the ground” viewpoint to offer a brand. Or just something fun and relatable that Kim’s voice may be missing:
Or s/he could offer insight that’s worth its weight in retweets. Something that could be the difference between spending thousands instead of millions on a costly branding mistake. Lots of brands find that dollar amount significant, after all!
And once found and partnered up, capturing partner channel insight is simple to do in NetBase. It’s a way for brands to ensure things are going as planned from an engagement standpoint.
We know that not every influencer is as amazing as his/her Instagram feed may lead one to believe. Our influencer monitoring abilities allow brands to quickly separate the influencers from the inflaters:
And then seeing whose conversations resonate is helpful too :
Suffice to say – brands can (and should) avoid confusion by using social analytics tools to guide them. Tools that are super easy to navigate, while monstrously powerful on the back-end. Brands appreciate having this power when they need it – which is increasingly every day! Having social analytics on their side saves lots of time and money.
Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how it can do the same for you!