Accelerator on her Brand

This is the fourth in a series of four articles each looking products and brands and utilizing the recent Caitlyn Jenner launch as illustration.

The launch

The June 1st “Call me Caitlyn” piece in Vanity Fair magazine was the official public unveiling and launch of the “I am Cait” product. However, this was preceded by an extended period of speculation in the media leading up to the Bruce Jenner 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer on April 24th and was then followed by numerous staged events leading up to the July 26th debut of the first in a eight part “I Am Cait” television documentary series on the E! Network chronicling her new life as a transgender woman.

In Caitlyn J – #Megabrand? (III)  Important Pre-launch Considerations, I outlined a number of factors to be considered when launching a product. I want to review a couple of key elements in more detail here that are specifically relevant to the “Caitlyn” product launch.

Ensure that the Product addresses an unmet or poorly met market need – In other words will customers actually need what the product is offering or in Caitlyn’s case is there audience interest?

Since winning the decathlon Gold medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Bruce Jenner (now known as Caitlyn Jenner) has been a well-known American sports personality having been inducted into numerous athletic halls of fame such as the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986. Jenner has since become a reality TV and media star since first appearing on the E! Reality show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” which first aired in October 2007 and which in 2014 averaged ~ 1.3 – 2.3 million viewers per episode.

As part of the major E! Network / Kardashian Franchise, Caitlyn Jenner has a large potential audience base with significant potential for the spin-off series “I am Cait” series and a ready-made vehicle to promote build awareness and interest in the “Caitlyn” launch.

A more important audience from Caitlyn’s perspective, is the estimated 7000,000 transgender women and men in the US, many of whom are suffering discrimination, and violence, an attempted suicide rate of 41 percent compared to 1.6 in the general population, a 14 percent unemployment rate (double that of the national average), 44 percent report that they are underemployed and 15 percent report a household income of under $10,000.

Certainly, this is the audience that stands to gain most from the Caitlyn brand and who Caitlyn has clearly addressed on her website, in her public speeches and by her choice of public events since June 1st.

Ensure appropriate and consistent allocation resources before, during and after a product launch:

Taking into account the audience interest, revenue potential of the Caitlyn product / brand, Caitlyn’s estimated net worth of ~100 million and the strong promotional support and financial backing of the E!, network, it is unlikely that the Caitlyn product launch will fail because of lack of consistent and appropriate investment.

Allow adequate pre-launch preparation time and product Launch Time

Given that Caitlyn Jenner has spent considerable time and resources to make her gender transition she has made that transition public in her own time and in her own way.

Equally, it is unlikely that she will withdraw support prematurely as she has already demonstrated by her transition, that she is in this for the long-term.

Additional elements of a successful product launch:

  1. Clearly differentiated product positioning & Messaging:

It is obvious that Caitlyn wants to use her unique high profile position in American society to complete her transition from a man to a woman in a very public, candid, dignified manner as a way of providing inspiration, hope and strength to many, not least of those in the transgender community who do not have the resources and strength to transition as openly as she can.

She wants to focus on lowering the rates of suicide and attempted suicide and other issues faced by the transgender community.

Her website and show focuses on her transgender journey and her goal “to be true to herself”. She co-wrote her July 27th post with Katharine Prescott, the mother of 14 year old Kyler Prescott, a 14-year-old transgender boy who not only dealt with transgender issues, but also suffered from severe depression leading to his suicide.  Her goal is to highlight the problem of suicide in the transgender community especially for transgender youth.

She appears to be positioning herself as an advocate for the transgender community and the website contains inspirational messages and resources.

  1. Strategic Product marketing plan:
    1. Clearly defined brand objectives and goals
    2. Strategic and tactical plan(s)
    3. Strong product Positioning and messaging
    4. Strong product Marketing Team
Vanity Fair -Caitlyn Jenner- Its all about confidence in your brand.

Caitlyn Jenner -Vanity Fair. Its all about confidence in your brand.

The “Caitlyn” product launch appears to be integrated, coordinated and smoothly orchestrated.

  1. Integrated Product Marketing Campaign across multiple channels:
    1. Traditional Media:
      1. Print:
        1. Vanity Fair – July 2015 by Buzz Bissinger and photographs by Annie Leibovitz
    2. Electronic:
      1. Radio / TV:
        1. 20/20 2 hour special with Diane Sawyer April 24th 2015
        2. “Keeping up with the Kardashians: About Bruce” May 17th & 18th 2015
      2. Websites June 1st 2015
        1. Caitlyn Kenner My Story Blog: June 1st – present
    3. Social Media:
      1. Product Facebook page: June 1st 2015
      2. Product Twitter page: June 1st 2015 Instagram:  June 1st 2015
      1. Public Events:
        1. Human Rights Campaign in San Francisco: June 5th
        2. NYC Pride: June 29th
        3. ESPY Award(Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) July 15th 2015 –Winner of the V Foundation Arthur Ashe Courage Award
        4. On stage with Boy George and Culture Club: July 24th
    4. 1st Episode “I am Cait”:  July 26th


Success Metrics:

I doubt if there is a marketing professional alive that would not be envious of the “Caitlyn” product pre-launch and launch exposure and awareness. On the face of it, Caitlyn and her launch team appear to have been very successful. However, it is difficult to ascertain what metrics they might be using to measure their success.

Nonetheless, we can look at a few of the success metrics available in the public domain:

  • 20/20 2 hour special with Diane Sawyer April 24th[1]
    • Estimated audience between 17.1 and 20.7 million
    • Highest 20/20 total viewers since the March 17 2000 interview with John and Patsy Ramsey which accounted for19.6 million viewers.
  • Vanity Fair – July 2015[2]
    • According to a spokesman Vanity Fair’s website netted its largest ever single-day audience, with over nine million unique users clicking on the site to see the Caitlyn Jenner cover.
    • This apparently included 13.1 million “organic video views” for a behind-the-scenes feature of the Leibovitz. Caitlyn Jenner photoshoot.
    • According to the Alliance for Audited Media, which tracks magazine and newspaper circulation, Vanity Fair’s total paid and verified circulation through the 2nd half 2014 was 1.2 million with single-copy sales (16% of its circulation), selling an average of 193,107 copies per issue. Final Circulation numbers for the July 2015 issue do not appear to be available on 7/25/15.
  • “Keeping up with the Kardashians: About Bruce” May 17th 2015: 8 million in the 18-49 age group with a total of 4.2 million viewers and was the most watched Kardashian premiere since September 2012[3]
  • “Keeping up with the Kardashians: About Bruce” May 19th 2015 55 million viewers[4]
  • Facebook[5]: June 1st 2015 – 188k 1st day followers. Vanity Fair Photo had 35k likes and 5,000 shares.
  • Twitter: June 1st 2015 – more than one million followers in just four hours.
  • Instagram: June 1st 2015 –375K 1st day followers
  • ESPY Award[6](Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award) July 15th 2015 –Winner of the V Foundation Arthur Ashe Courage Award – 7.7 million viewers overall, up 253 percent from 2014 telecast. The ESPYs broadcast on ESPN garnered about 2.2 million viewers, for a total of ~10 million people.

Caitlyn Jenner -Vanity Fair

Caitlyn Jenner -Vanity Fair-Looking Forward to a successful Brand

This analysis does not take into account all of the other publicity and exposure generated by the Caitlyn launch, such as national and local news coverage, celebrity endorsements and good wishes, corporate product sponsorship endorsements, magazine articles, social media conversations, internet searches and conversation around the world.

From my perspective the product launch appears to be very successful and Caitlyn and her product marketing team are to be congratulated for a stellar start. I look forward to watching how they capitalize on the successful product launch to build the Caitlyn megabrand!

If you have enjoyed this article please

  1. Read the other articles in the series:
    1. Caitlyn J – #Megabrand? (I)  Products & Brands
    2. Caitlyn J – #Megabrand? (II)  Pre-launch vs. Post-Launch
    3. Caitlyn J – #Megabrand? (III)  Important Pre-launch Considerations
    4. Caitlyn J – #Megabrand? (IV)  Product Launch
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  3. Contribute to the discussion