There have been a lot of headlines this week about the internet’s favourite love/hate relationship. That is, of course, the one that we all have with Kylie Jenner. Regardless of your stance, I promise you that you have an opinion about the sisters who have become the Aristocracy of the social channels. Wherever you live on the scale of love to disgust, there are some fairly significant things that we should all sit up and take note about the reality that is the Jenner/Kardashian dynasty:

What they’ve done is own their own media. In the exact same time period that Kylie rose to power, attention shifted away from a few primary entertainment/news sources (ABC/NBC/Blockbuster, etc.) and onto our mobile devices. All that she did was recognize that and create what is now one of the world’s most powerful communication platforms.

Let’s consider just how substantial her media empire is for a second:

mood because the SUMMER COLLECTION launches in 1 hour! 3pm pst only on ??

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

Want more substance? Kylie tweeted that she just wasn’t that into Snapchat anymore. The value of that company shifted by $1.3 Billion on the same day.

So What?

We can do one of three things with this information:

What I’m not saying is that any of this stuff is easy

What I am saying is that this digital/social stuff is not and has never been a side of the desk thing. It is the most valuable item on many brands’ balance sheets (Red Bull, GoPro, Dollar Shave Club) and still, in 2018, most brands are offloading it to some poor under-resourced agency or junior person.

Mostly, I just wish that people could remove their personal feelings about the right/wrong of the sisters’ wealth, take a step back and recognize: There was a gold rush for our attention, they scooped up a massive amount of it, now they’re reaping the benefits. 

Meanwhile, many of our brands were renting attention space from traditional media owners and wondering why they’re getting lapped.

Invest in attention, create something worth sharing, own at least a sliver of the share of voice and allow yourself to see Kylie Inc. for the media lessons that it’s shown us, rather than for the judgment that allows us to so quickly write it off.

One last thing about the sisters and social channels

Kylie crept up on us. The mainstream media world was so focused on Kim K, but somehow Kylie doubled Kim’s revenue last year. How’d that happen?

Kim shows up in all of the places that we expect a celebrity to be. She’s on TV, she has a famous husband, and she posts to her Instagram news feed a lot.

Kylie, on the other hand, built her fame in the corners of social media that some of us don’t like to talk about: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, the places where the “kids” are hanging out and the suits hadn’t figured out how to invest yet. 

In case it’s not painfully obvious by now:

This digital media stuff is not a cost centre. It isn’t a toy to communicate with the youngest percentage of the audience. It is attention, which is one of the most valuable things that we can be investing in. When we reframe the conversation from likes and followers to attention and value, it can change everything about the way that we allocate resources and set goals for our digital/social teams.