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Will Kim Kardashian drop 'West' from her last name? Brand expert weighs in on potential business impact

Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal breaks down what's next for Kim Kardashian West as the reality star officially joins Forbes' coveted billionaire's club.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Kim Kardashian West has had a record-breaking year. The reality star officially inducted into Forbes's coveted billionaire's club last week. But her impending divorce from rapper Kanye West could have implications for her booming business. And Allie Canal is on top of it all to walk us through the numbers. Allie, this is not something that we have talked about or I've actually thought about, but she does have her name across a lot of these brands. So even from that standpoint, how significant are the implications?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: You're right. Let's talk about KKW Beauty, which is her cosmetics company. She owns 72% of that company. She sold a 20% stake last year to COTY. And it's very heavily branded with KKW. In 2014, when she married Kanye, she legally changed her name to hyphenate it to Kardashian-West. And then that moniker, KKW, really took on a life of its own. Not only do we have KKW Beauty, she also has a perfume line, KKW Fragrance. And a lot of her fans have really associated Kim Kardashian with KKW.

So I was curious to think about, well, what happens if she ultimately decides to just go back to Kim Kardashian and drop the West name altogether? Will that impact her brand? So I did go ahead and speak to a brand expert, and he said it's very important for Kardashian to slow it down a little bit and make sure that this is a business decision and not an emotional one, especially since KKW Beauty is sold both online and in stores. That creates a lot of logistical challenges. If she were to go ahead and do a complete brand overhaul, that would impact printing, shipping, in addition to SEO, URLs, the website. And that can all take a lot of time and a lot of money.

So we said what a good middle ground could be if she ultimately decides to change her name is just to repurpose the meaning of the W. So instead of it meaning Kim Kardashian-West, perhaps the W could stand for worldwide, Kim Kardashian Worldwide. And that could be a way where you could still maintain the brand identity, but also change the ultimate meaning.

And we've seen corporations do this before. For example, in 2013, AARP rebranded from American Association of Retired Persons to An Alley for Real Possibilities. So this is certainly something that has happened before. But in the case for Kardashian, it's not a question of whether she can go and create waves and make this change known. She has 214 million followers on Instagram. I personally believe that her fans are going to follow whichever way she chooses. It's more so the logistical challenges moving forward.

So, we'll see what happens. There are e-news sources that say she's not sure yet. If she does keep it, it's going to be for her kids. The divorce seems to be going well so far. There is not a lot of mudslinging, which is always good since both of these names are huge, Kanye and Kim. But again, we'll just have to wait and see. I think she should just keep it, cut her losses, and keep it simple.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, nothing personal here. As we know, the Kardashians are adept at making business decisions. That's what this one might be. We'll chalk it up as a business decision. But Allie Canal, appreciate you bringing us the latest there on KKW.

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