This post was originally featured on FastCompany.com. The original blog, written by Nick Nanton and JW Dicks can be found here:The Kanye And Kim Kardashian Lesson In Personal Branding: Combining Audiences For Impact
Hip-hop star Kanye West may bea musical genius–but hes definitely not one of the most liked celebrities around. Hes infamous forinterrupting Taylor Swifts acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, as well as otherpublic displays of bad behavior. When even the president of the United States goes out of his way tocall you a jackass, you know you might have an image problem.
Keeping all that in mind, you might think Kanyes days as a mainstream celebrity are over. And yet, who do you continually see in online gossip headlines, as well as entertainment TV shows? Kanye West. And why? Because, of course, hes datingKim Kardashian.
To sayKanye and Kimhave different followings is to understate the obvious. The former has a pack of fervent music fans, the latter has a huge reality TV base.If one were to be cynical, one would say they only got together to grow their respective audiences–by tapping into each others celebrity status to burnish their own. (Not that theres anything wrong with that!)
Actually, its a time-honored tactic in show business to team up to increase the popularity of both parties. Think about two of 2012s biggest hits,The AvengersandThe Expendables 2. Both realized a lot more box office profits simply because a whole lot of popular heroes were together for the first time ever and their fans came together in movie theaters as well.
And, by the way, it happens in politics too. Recently, ultra-liberal DemocratCory Bookerteamed up with ultra-conservative RepublicanBill Fristto make national appearancesfor the cause of anti-obesity. Whether these two are both seeking to raise their profiles or are genuinely concerned about this issue (or, most likely, both), its clear they got together to make the biggest impact possible–by combining their very separate audiences to dramatic effect.
This works for business branding purposes as well. When you partner up with the right person–someone who has their own strong following and/or unique talents–the combination usually packs more power than each individual has on his or her own. Even more importantly, you also get access to that persons specific audience.
For example, were honored to be able to work on book and TV projects with such marketing and business heavyweights asBrian Tracy,Dan KennedyandJack Canfield. But its good business forallconcerned, because these greats get renewed exposure to our network in a whole new context–and our network, naturally, feels privileged to work with these legendary figures.
So think about who you can partner up with on a new project or business that could bring your product or service to a whole new audience–namely, somebody elses. And keep in mind the following guidelines,suggested by Entrepreneur magazine, when you start searching for the right someone to join forces with:
1. Do they share your values?
If you and/or your business represent certain values, you dont want to work with someone who doesnt have the same affinity with those values–or, worse, openly contradicts them. You not only risk angering your base, you also risk undermining your whole business! The only exception to this rule is when, like Frist and Booker, you come together to support a cause bigger than the both of you.
2. Do they complement you and your business?
You dont want to work with someone who does the exact same thing as you; you want to work with someone who has skills and assets that complement yours. Otherwise, that person could steal your thunderandyour business. When you work with people that bring something new to the party, however, they make you look like youre bringing added value to your customers.
3. Do they help you do your business better?
Sometimes a partner can actually fill in a critical hole in your business, such as improve your delivery system or offer a useful product extension of what you already provide. This isnt an absolute necessity when it comes to choosing who you work with–but it is a definite plus to be on the lookout for.
4. Willbothof you benefit?
When a partnership is unbalanced in this department, things have the potential to turn ugly. Resentments build quickly over one person feeling like theyre getting merely breadcrumbs, while the other is gorging on a loaf and a half. Both of you should know, going in, how this joint venture is going to do good things for each party–otherwise, youre most likely headed for an unpleasant ending.
Celebrity Brandingalmost always benefits when more than one celebrity is involved. When you pick the right partner, you increase your credibility, your fan base and your star power. But there is one catch–and thats that two negatives do not make a positive.
For example, while Kanye and Kim may have made a big media splash when they hooked up, they may have also inadvertently increased their number of individual haters. Why? Becausethey both have huge negative Q Scores(the measurement of celebrity likeability), leading some news commentators to speculate as to whether they may actually have createdthe most toxic couple of all time!
So double up–not down–and double your success in the process. All it takes is the right partner to expand your market base and your influence.