Brand Audit: Paris Hilton A Brand Inventory She is famous for her party life, the countless number of scandals she has been involved in, her growing collection of Chihuahuas including Tinkerbell and Bambi and her catchphrase “that’s hot”. Paris Whitney Hilton (PH) the American socialite, celebrity, heiress, model, media personality, business woman, designer, singer and actress (Wikipedia. 2009). PH was born in New York City on the 17th February in 1981. She is the oldest of four children of Richard and Kathy Hilton(Wikipedia. 2009).
Thanks to her great-grandfather Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton hotel chain, PH is the shared heir to a family fortune estimated at $300 million (Bio. com, 2008) PH moved between several exclusive homes in her youth, including a suite in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, and the Hamptons (Wikipedia. 2009). After graduating from high school, PH pursued a modeling career. In 2000 she appeared in publications as GQ and Vanity Fair and on runways for various New York designers. PH underwent extensive plastic surgery, hair coloring and tinted contact lenses in her attempt to reach fame (Bio. com, 2008).
Her life as a celebrity kick started in November 2003 where a four-minute, night-vision sex video (1 night in Paris) of PH appeared on the Internet. She was having sex with her then boyfriend, Rick Salomon. PH handled the situation in her stride and released the movie on DVD, and it became one of the bestselling pornographic DVDs ever. So the movie far from destroyed Hilton, it made her. (Guardian, 2005). Many would have said that the video couldn’t have appeared at a worse time: it was less than three weeks before the debut of The Simple Life, the Fox reality series starring Hilton and her best friend Nicole Richie. cbc. ca, 2008). The first episode of The Simple Life had amazing 30 million viewers (CBC, 2009). But what some people afterwards call the biggest publicity/marketing stunt in the world, was the stepping-stone for PH’s career. If it simple was a boyfriend who wanted revenge or it was the biggest publicity/marketing stunt in the world – only PH knows! Today, against all odds and years after the sex video scandal which most people thought would make an end to PH, she is a successful business woman, more powerful than ever and the it-girl! Though in between the business success different scandals have sneaked up on her.
She has had a turbulent love life with different men such as the model Jason Shaw, the Greek, Paris Latsis and Benji Madden (Bio. com, 2008). She has been taking for speeding several times and driving with too high blood alcohol level. And After violating the terms of her DUI probation, driving at 70 m. p. h. without her headlights on in a 35 m. p. h. zone and driving with a suspended license, she was sentenced to 45 days in jail (4 May 2007). After serving 22 days in detention, with credit for her good behavior, she didn’t have to serve the whole 45 days’ sentence and was released (IMDb, 2009).
While other celebrities who would be damaged by a jail term, once again the scandal did not hurt the blond haired girl. Paris Hilton is still one of the strongest and most lucrative individual brands in the world. And her brand value has only gone up in the wake of all the jail-related publicity (Portfolio, 2007). Product-related Attributes PH has since she was a teen marketed and celebrated herself and done everything her own way. There is no doubt about that PH is her own best product. She is the queen, the first to really use the paparazzi to create her as a star.
She understands what they need of her, and she gives it to them; she smiles, poses etc. She knows that the best way to handle the paparazzi is to use them, and go wherever they go (CBC, 2009). She is a media darling, but she is still scandalous enough to hold people’s attention. She describes the brand Paris Hilton Inc. as a girl’s fantasy life, and that it is about having fun, being fashionable and always promoting it (CBC, 2009). – Her beauty and blond look – Her turbulent party and love life – The scandals – Famous for being famous – Her glamorous upbringing and title as heiress Her style and personality – Her gift to market herself and ability to use the paparazzi to her advantage Brand Portfolio PH’s brand consists of her being a model, actress, recording artist and now businesswoman. Today PH owns two companies with several different product lines including a line of 4 perfumes which has been and still is a big success; Paris Hilton, Just M, Heiress and Can Can. She also has a line of jewellery, which she sells through amazon. com. Furthermore she has a denim and sportswear, a shoe, a handbag, a perfume, a hair extension, a jewellery, pet-accessory and sunglass line.
She has published two books: “Your Heiress Diary – Confess it all to me” and “Confessions of an Heiress” which is full of self-parodying advice to future wannabe stars, and has been a bestseller, at more than 100,000 copies and it is now on its 12th print run (Paris Hilton Just Me, 2007). She has started her own music label, Heiress Records and in 2006 she released her first album Paris. The album flopped, but some of the singles “Stars Are Blind” & “Nothing In This World” became big hits (Paris Hilton Just Me, 2007).
She co-owns the Club Paris nightclub in Orlando, and is expected to roll out a chain of similarly branded nightspots in other cities, including Las Vegas and Miami (Paris Hilton Just Me, 2007). She has appeared in a number of advertisements, movies and sit-coms; Zoolander, House of Wax and her latest movie was “The Hottie And The Nottie” (IMDb, 2009). She has her own reality show “The Simple Life”. The first three seasons were aired on the American channel FOX and the next two seasons were aired on Channel E. At the moment her second reality show is becoming a reality on MTV, Paris’ BFF.
MTV is giving the opportunity of a lifetime to one girl or guy who has what it takes to become Paris Hilton’s new BFF(Paris Hilton Just Me, 2007). She is paid millions of dollars to show up at clubs, to events or shows for just being there (CBC, 2009). Her plans for the future are to go into the real estate business and launch a chain of hotels and restaurants. She is also planning to launch brands of make-up and a men’s cologne. Brand equity drivers: communication, pricing and distribution Communication PH is her own best publicist and therefore handles the communication of the Paris Hilton Inc. rand. She promote her clothes, shoe, handbag, sunglass, hair extension, jewellery and perfume lines by wearing it herself at events, parties etc. She uses the media, the tabloid press and especially the paparazzi to market herself and her lines by being accessible 24-7. She often hits home more times a day between the different events to change outfit. Fore example when she was released from jail, she turned the releasing into a catwalk and walked out of jail in her new denim line and thereby promoted her brand in front of thousands of cameras (CBC, 2009).
She also promotes her products through ads in magazines and commercials on television. She promotes her movies, DVDs, album and books by signings in different malls or at Kitson or performing at clubs. Pricing When it comes to PH herself she is worth estimated $250 million (CBC, 2009). The prices, she is offered just for showing up to an event, at a club or a party, are unbelievable, we are talking millions of $ (CBC, 2009). Or what she is paid for being connected to a company’s product or guest starring in a sitcom or series. All free publicity for the Paris Hilton Inc. brand, yeah actually paid publicity!
She is a girl, who knows her price and she never compromises with it. She knows that she is her own best product. Distribution Many would think that PH shows up to all events possible, but she does not, she carefully chooses the events, she participates in. It is very important that the events she attends tally with the image of the Paris Hilton Inc. brand. The same thing is valid when it comes to where and how to distribute her product lines. At the moment PH uses indirect distribution, and these channels and co-operators are chosen carefully. Competitors PH’s competitors are women celebrities like her.
At the moment Britney Spears and the Olsen twins are her closest competitors. Lately Britney Spears has been involved in a lot of scandals and the tabloids and the public have therefore been very interested in her. The Olsen twins are doing really good as a brand and attract a lot of young girls with their movies and line of clothes. Other women who also can be considered as PH’s competitors are: Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Kimberly Stewart, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie. But it is a fact that PH at the moment is the it-girl and none of the above-mentioned women are able to compete with her.
A Brand Exploratory Customer Knowledge PH has used her and the media-world to establish herself as a brand and become one of the most famous people in the world. Typical consumer brand associations for PH might be: glamorous, sexy, trendy, wealthy, blonde and scandalous. Brand mantra Paris Hilton Inc. ’s brand mantra is “That’s hot”. A catchphrase which PH uses daily when she likes something. She had the catchphrase “That’s hot” registered as a trademark on the 13th February 2007 (Washington Post, 2007). Mental Map Sources of Brand Equity Which sources give the Paris Hilton Inc. brand equity?
Herself: PH herself gives her brand equity. She is the one promoting the brand by turning about to events all over the world. She is one of a kind and this attracts a lot of peoples’ attention. Her personal image designs the line through the entire brand. The Scandals: From her first day on the celebrity scene PH’s life has been full of scandals, and it is a fact that PH became famous because of a sex tape. And there is no doubt about that the scandals are what keep PH alive and attract peoples’ attention. Media: PH and the media go hand in hand. PH could never have become a brand without the media -they created her!
She is using the media to develop her brand and the media is using her to sell magazines, stories, pictures etc. – in a way you can say that they have made a smart business contract – a win-win situation. The Customer-based equity pyramid (CBBE) The customer-based brand equity pyramid for Paris Hilton Inc. is a little stronger on the right side than the left. Paris Hilton Inc. has focused on both the superior product attributes and the imagery associated with owning and wearing a Paris Hilton Inc. product. But there is no doubt about that PH image is what makes the brand strong to the consumers.
They buy the products because of PH, and they are willing to pay a premium price, because she has developed uniqueness around herself and therefore also the brand and its’ other products. To design the customer-based brand equity pyramid for Paris Hilton Inc. I decided to do a survey. I handed out 30 questionnaires and got a lot of useful answers back. My key findings were that everybody knew who PH was and they also knew a lot of her products. I asked what peoples’ opinion was about PH, they answered that she was one of a kind and that she was the perfect combination of scandal and glamour, others thought she was too much.
I asked which word/feelings they would associate with PH, some words were repeated a lot: blond, glamorous, scandalous, successful, trendy and unique. 10 of the 30 asked responded that they were loyal consumers of the brand and that they preferred the brand compared with similar brands. Paris Hilton’s inheritance has disappeared PH was born into a rich life and she has her whole life been sat to inherit a lot of money from her grandfather Barron Hilton. But in December 2007, PHs grandfather Barron Hilton pledged 97 percent of his 12 billions DKK. to a charitable organization founded by his father, the Conrad N.
Hilton Foundation. His grandchildren will inherit the last 3% of his fortune. He cited his father’s actions as the motivation for his pledge, but rumour has it that he did it because of PH’s bad behaviour and did not want her and the other grandchildren to inherit so much after all the bad PR, they had placed on the Hilton Hotel brand (MetroXpress, 2007. ) So now it looks like PH has been made almost disinherited. She is still going to inherit a great sum of money, but it is a fact that she cannot just lean back anymore, now she has to work and show her business skills and make her brand a long term success. Recommendations ) Continue to make headlines It is very important to the Paris Hilton Inc. brand equity that Paris Hilton continues to be interesting to the public and the media. The biggest danger to the brand and its equity is if Paris gets too normal. Her fame has been built on scandals – they have created the empire she has today. Her entire life has been a tight-rope walking between being the beautiful glamorous girl on the red carpet and the sexy, scandalous party girl at nights. So it is very important to PH that she continues to make headlines – it is a fact that her brand has grown more popular with each new negative event in her life. ) Paris Toys Small girls love dolls like Barbie and Bratz, and another fact is that they love the “real doll” PH. I think PH should take advantage of this and make her own toy line for small girls. The products should be dolls that look like PH, her closest friends and her pets. In addition to the just mentioned also PH’s clothes, shoes and accessories should be manufactured. In this way PH gets the girls’ attention in an early age and maybe have their loyalty for the rest of their life. 3) A Paris Hilton Talk Show As all other first ladies like Opera and Ellen – Paris should have her own talk show.
But her talk show should be different than the others – like she is it herself. People love to hear about PH and her friends’ crazy life. She could develop a talk show that like her does not go with the flow. A talk show that has its’ focus on scandals and glamour and not on people doing good acts, poverty, soldiers in war etc. 4) Open Paris Stores At the moment PH’s products are sold through third parties and the Internet (amazon. com). PH should consider to opening her own chain of stores. In these stores she should sell her different product lines.
The location of the first stores should be in metropolitans and later also in bigger cities. The stores should be furnished in PH style: a mixture of girly, pink and trendy. 5) Consider co-branding in connection with her men Men see Paris as a sex symbol and desire her. Paris should take advantage of this – she has already made a perfume for men. It has not been so successful, but I still find the idea usable, it just needs some adjustment. I think the best way for PH to succeed with a line for men would be to do co-branding with brands for men, for instance with HugoBoss, Armani, Ed Hardy etc.