Brand strategist Karen Civil is making headlines on just about every media platform for her endless contribution to the music industry by creating an online presence for major clients like Lil’Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Dipset, The Clipse, Funkmaster Flex and more. Civil is also the mastermind behind Beats By Dre’s marketing, where she served as the company’s social media manager. Her execution of the brand’s expansion on social media caused sales to skyrocket into what is now a multimillion-dollar business. In addition, Civil wears many other hats, including consultant, publicist, reporter and A&R.
Some call her “The Digital Renaissance Woman” but in her eyes, she is just a small town girl from Elizabeth, New Jersey, striving to fulfill her dreams. Civil began her career as a self-employed blogger where she conducted celebrity interviews on her website www.karencivil.com. and has now morphed into a key power player in the music industry. It’s not easy being a Black woman in Hip-Hop, but she continues to break barriers and stigmas with her work ethic. Although Civil is extremely focused on establishing an empire of her own and running Always Civil Enterprises, it never stops her from pouring her knowledge of branding into the minds of young women wanting to follow in her footsteps.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, rolling out spoke to Civil at Glam University’s Girl Power Sleepover held at the W Hotel in downtown Atlanta. In a brief discussion, Civil gave some advice on how to market businesses online and maintain your integrity during the competitive process.
What do you think are some of the best ways for women to brand themselves on social media platforms?
It starts with being authentic and genuine with your audience. I am big on not pushing anything that I wouldn’t do or use. I understand my brand, vision and the story I want to tell. I am not into taking short-cuts like tummy teas or waist trainers. I want my brand to be a lifestyle and very premium, but at the same time relatable. We now live in an era where everybody is rich and for some reason, everybody has a $20K bag. It is great to have those things, but I want the people who follow me to feel inspired and not jealous. Once you figure out your overall message then you can push forward. Do you want to be the girl that’s envied or do you want to be the girl that inspires you? Most people don’t know that I am super shy and timid, but online people think I have a big personality. Make sure whatever you do has an overall message and has value.
I hear you often speak about keeping a small circle of friends. How hard is it to find genuine people in the entertainment business?
It gets very hard. They are so many more takers in the world than there are givers. I am all about people’s spirits and I can catch it quick. It took a few years of people taking advantage or stabbing me in the back to get it and really just all the things that come with life. A new level is a new devil to me. I am in a place where I appreciate the friendships that I have now. I am not quick to call someone a friend. It is OK to have acquaintances and be associates. We make these words sound bad, but it is about understanding everyone’s place in your life. I have a great group of people around me. I value them more than anything.
What motivated you to write your book, Live Civil?
The motivation behind the book was to get my story out there and let people in on the other side of me. People have seen me on social media over the last few years, but they don’t know about the things that have come before this. It has been a 10+ year span for me. A lot of people are still curious about what I do for a living. I have never been one to make life and a career about money. I am purpose-driven and I do whatever makes me happy.