If your like me and had to do a double take to figure out who is on the cover of Adweek… it’s none other than Miss Kerry Baby! See why this fashionista thinks branding is so important
You’ve partnered with so many brands. How do you determine which ones make sense for you to join forces with?
There isn’t an algorithm that I plug a brand into. It really is about having an authentic, organic excitement and connection to it and asking myself, is this work that I would be proud of? Do I feel like it will be as rewarding as it is time-consuming? Because for me, none of the partnerships that I’m in are me [just] being the face of something. I am extremely hands-on and integrated in each of my relationships, so it has to be worth it for me. … I worked with companies earlier in my career where I knew very early on when it wasn’t a match for me. I’m grateful for that wisdom because now I know how to make those choices.
As part of finding that fit, do you say to those brands, “This is who I am and the show I’m on, and I’m active politically, and you need to be on board with that”?
Yes. I’m not interested in partnering with brands where I have to conform to match their brand identity. If somebody doesn’t want to work with me because I do a speech at the Democratic National Convention, that’s fine.
What led to your Apple Music ads with Taraji P. Henson and Mary J. Blige?
That came together through friends of mine: Steve Stoute, who is the head of Translation Marketing, and is like the brother I never had, and Jimmy Iovine at Apple Music. Steve felt like people know the Olivia Pope side of me, and the real-world White House side of me, and the magna cum laude Kerry who gives speeches at commencements, but they don’t really know hip-hop Kerry and Kerry from the Bronx, the way Steve does. He felt like that was a part of my brand that I wasn’t doing a good enough job getting out there. There aren’t a lot of products and a product space that live in that part of my identity that I would necessarily want to partner with, but Apple Music was a no-brainer.