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Paris Hilton: The Branding Secrets Of The OG Influencer

Brand Development

Paris Hilton started out being known as a hotel heiress, but over time she’s used her influence to build an empire.

This begs the question: how did Paris Hilton become "famous for being famous," and what can traditional branding experts and emerging influencers learn from her?

In this article, our Florida SEO marketing specialists will discuss all that and more.

The Rise of Paris Hilton's Notoriety

Paris began her career by being famous. She wasn't known for any particular skill set—she was just famous. Before reality television, Hilton resembled reality stars in some ways. She began her career as a fixture on the Hamptons social scene, and it wasn't an "event" until Paris arrived.

At the time, she hadn't yet developed her persona or camera-ready signature look. It was still possible to photograph Paris without makeup and perfectly coiffed hair.

That said, Paris was a visionary who was well ahead of her time. She noticed an intense desire among the general public to learn more about her. She understood the message and began living The Simple Life.

The Simple Life poster
Photo from The Movie DB

She gave fans access to her life in a way that no other socialite had ever done before. Paris gave the audience a glimpse into her personal life, and she surely did not disappoint.

"We started a whole new genre of celebrity that no one had ever seen before," Hilton said in a 2017 interview with W Magazine.

Over the years, Paris has built an empire and gained followers of all ages. She has established herself as a brand and an entrepreneur—eventually transcending the Hilton Hotel brand and establishing her own global identity.

So, what did Paris do to get to where she is now, and what can brands learn from her?

Paris Hilton's Top Five Branding Secrets

A company's branding strategy may differ depending on the industry. What sets Paris apart is how her brand has remained relevant for more than two decades. Here's what our Florida SEO marketing experts believe you should do to replicate Paris Hilton's branding success:

1. Learn How to Ride the Wave

Paris got lucky with the timing of her stardom, as she was a pioneer of both reality television and the social media wave. New media communication technologies are not invented every day, but businesses should try to capitalize on what they can, as Paris did.

For companies, it is crucial to be at the forefront of these trends and be a leader in this ever-changing market.

TikTok, for example, is at the forefront of media and communication technology. TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to upload 15- to 60-second videos and easily edit them with popular songs and sound effects.

Many businesses have joined TikTok to stay current with trends and capitalize on the app's current popularity.

The Washington Post is an excellent example of a company that uses this branding strategy. During the pandemic, the media giant hired an employee to document the effects of the pandemic and upload them to TikTok.


North Korea on Thursday reported its first coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began almost two years ago. 🥯

♬ original sound - We are a newspaper.

His videos received a positive response from the TikTok audience, which helped kickstart the company's account on the social media platform. The Washington Post now has 57.5 million total likes on its videos and 1.3 million followers on its account.

While this may not directly translate into increased sales, it does raise brand awareness among a relatively young audience.

RELATED: Brand Awareness Tactics For Successful Businesses In 2022

Pro Tip: Today's changing trends are tomorrow's norms. If a meme is going around, jump on it and be one of the first to help spread it. Because the world moves quickly online, it is critical to be quick and take advantage of these trending opportunities to stay at the forefront of what is popular, as Paris did.

2. Show Your Authentic Self to Your Audience

Paris distinguished herself and built her brand through her unapologetic honesty. Despite living a glamorous life by day, she still argues with her friends and cries on her show. She proves that, despite being a celebrity, she is still a human being.

It’s important for brands to incorporate the human element into their social media campaigns.  

For instance, take a look at Warby Parker's Instagram page. They recently posted a video with lifestyle influencer Katie Duke, showing her journey to find a new pair of glasses at one of the company's physical locations.

The video is compelling because it takes viewers behind the scenes. Showing how the in-person eyewear selection process works provides an unscripted glimpse into the way that someone can navigate one of the company's physical locations.

Brands and audiences can develop a sense of authenticity and trust by allowing fans to see the messiness of behind-the-scenes product creation, making jokes about the brand, and showing empathy and care for consumers.

Pro Tip: Make the most of your social media's incredible interactivity. When people comment on your posts or discuss your brand's content, don't be afraid to interact. This can foster trust and friendship between your brand and the consumer.

3. Tap Into What Motivates People

People watch entertainment for one of two reasons:

  • For a playful motive
  • For an aspirational motive

In either case, people try to copy the brand or its qualities. People watch and follow Paris because they want to be like her, or to be entertained, or both.

It's easy to post mindless things like funny, simple videos and pictures, which can be a fantastic way to get people to follow the brand.

But it's even better when people follow the brand because they want to embody the brand’s traits. This makes them more likely to get involved and buy the product.

Peloton, a fitness brand, is an ideal example of a brand that posts with an aspirational goal.

This post helps people see that they can get in shape while also becoming a member of an exclusive community that cares about them.

Pro Tip: Switching between posts with a playful and an aspirational motive could make people want to follow the brand and try to be like it and buy its products.

RELATED: Types Of Content Marketing To Grow Your Brand

4. Identify Your Brand's Cultural Meaning

Like Paris's self-brand, many companies and their products have cultural significance. She represents to her followers the perfect look and beauty: fashionable, relaxed, friendly, and relatable.

Brands have broader cultural meanings that are transferred to the consumer and become part of their identity. The consumer helps promote that identity by purchasing and representing that brand.

As we've seen, Paris is a cultural opinion leader in fashion and beauty, and she both follows and creates trends.

RELATED: The Best Paris Hilton Cultural Resets

Businesses could replicate Paris's strategy by staying on top of trends related to their cultural meaning.

Take a look at what Target did by collaborating with the trendy Magnolia and creating the Heart & Hand collection, thus staying on top of what is chic, clean, and stylish.

Vans is another fantastic example of a brand that understands its cultural significance, in this case by embodying the skate subculture.

In addition, advertising can also create cultural meaning by connecting a product to a specific cultural purpose.

Pro Tip: Instead of bland, straightforward advertisements, having a solid and consistent voice, as well as inspiring emotional and cultural connections through posts, may help build customer loyalty and eventually sales.

5. Match Your Company's Personality With Your Products/Services

The perceived connection between the brand and the product being sold is one of the most powerful conditions that make a brand extension effective.

This is evident in Paris and her multibillion-dollar company, Paris Hilton Entertainment, which includes her:

  • 45 branded stores
  • 19 product lines
  • 27 fragrances

These are associated with fashion and beauty. Paris is a cultural leader in both, so the perceived fit is perfect.

Harley-Davidson is an excellent example of a brand that understands how to match its personality with its products. When a person purchases a Harley Davidson, that identity is associated with being tough as nails and the nonconformity of being a member of a biker gang.  

These meanings are transferred to their consumers, who display them as part of their identity; one can learn a lot about people by looking at what brands they buy from. People will purchase items with a specific cultural significance. When they consume them, the product and its attributes become a part of their identity.

Pro Tip: To reach more than just direct followers, always remember to create shareable content that fits your brand's personality and is worth talking about. Once you've established your brand's personality through consistent, shareable content, your customers will undoubtedly identify with what your brand represents.

This Is Paris

A lot goes into branding, and these elements have contributed to Paris being a very effective brand.

Instead of dismissing her fame and success as a lack of talent, consider Paris's accomplishments. Companies can use these same strategies to help build their brand as a business tactic and leverage their fame as an intangible asset to gain a competitive advantage.

She is more than a ditsy celebrity; she is a branding genius.

The Final Branding Secret

We hope that our Florida SEO marketing experts were able to effectively share with you the branding strategies that Paris has used. Please take note of our pro tips so you can also implement these strategies to grow your brand.

Given the competitive nature of the digital space, we understand that building one's brand is no easy task. If you're having a hard time building your own empire, don't hesitate to ask for our help.

At Digital Resource, our experts will assist you in growing your brand by implementing strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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