To borrow Clayton Christensen’s concept, purpose brands are those that can powerfully drill into customers' minds that their product/service is the best solution when they need to "hire" something to get a job done.
E.g. IKEA exists to help me furnish my apartment quickly and cheaply. DryBar exists when I want to feel like I'm pampering and doing something for myself. Amazon exists when I need to purchase anything and want it to be priced competitively and delivered to me fast.
Some of the strongest purpose brands even become verbs, inextricably linked with a specific job. It’s tough for brands to stick around without being tied to a specific job, and consumers’ jobs don’t often change.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia can give a glimpse into the future for Kylie Cosmetics and other influencer brands.
In the 90s, Stewart leveraged her prominence from books and TV to create a business with publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising segments, all centered around her persona as a homemaking goddess.
In today's digital world, with compressed hype cycles and without the benefit of multi-year retail or broadcasting contracts, celeb-underpinned brands can fade even faster.
There's Preserve (Blake Lively), StyleMint (Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen), and many other companies that may have gotten significant initial traction as a result of celebrity involvement, but that most of us have forgotten.
Social media has made it easier than ever to attract an audience and build widespread influence, and the barriers to entry to starting a new brand are lower than ever.
The result is an unprecedented number of new influencer-driven media/product companies--but with potentially shorter lifecycles and lower defensibility.
To ensure sustainability of her company, Kylie could aim to create cosmetics that deliver a real improvement from what else exists out there.
Though she's diversified her consumer touchpoints (reality show, social profiles, her own app, etc.), the underlying focus of her company is still the same--it's on her.
Stated another way, the major job that her products help consumers do now is to feel like they’re accessing a piece of Kylie. There's nothing wrong with that, and the consumer affinity she’s built is incredible, but what happens when individual popularity inevitably wanes?