It would be very surprising if you haven’t heard the name Kanye West. You’ve been living under a rock for the past 15 years, if the whirling tornado of controversy and music genius that is Kanye West, hasn’t blown through your neighborhood. This ubiquity of the Chicago rapper and producer is staggering, but can also be an example of perfect marketing strategy. Why is Kanye so famous? His beats are amazing and his lyrics are catchy, but is that enough to propel him into the plane of notoriety that he roams in now? Constantly deifying himself with the name “Yeezus”, if you look at Kanye’s public persona and actions, you can see why he may actually be a marketing god.
There are three main aspects of Mr. West that brands can learn from if they wish to help their brand’s awareness increase. These are: timing, consistency, and hype.
Let us begin with timing. Being able to comprehend the mindset of your consumer, and their purchasing habits is crucial for effectively executing a great promotional campaign. Recognizing when and why your consumer’s target audience is most likely to buy or desire something new is key for starting a successful campaign. From interrupting Taylor Swift live at the MTV Music Video Awards, to his abnormal tweets, Kanye is a master at sparking controversy or just eliciting attention. This is then combined with the perfect sense of timing right before the release of an album, new shoe, or clothing line. A company’s advertising efforts should be timed and integrated well enough to garner more attention or increase its impact. After everyone was talking about Kanye’s weird tweets like: begging Zuckerberg for money, and changing the name to his latest album multiple times. Kanye released his album “The Life of Pablo” during his own fashion show at Madison Square Garden in front of thousands of people. In marketing, it should be the same. Each work or piece of content should cohesively work together. It should constantly engender and grow off each other.
Continuity and consistency is the second lesson from Kanye’s marketing plan. Whether he is talking about how he is a god, a genius, the greatest artist of our generation, Kanye is always consistent with his egotistical rants and banter. His confidence may be seen as arrogance but by not being afraid to say anything, he found an identity that works for him. He understands that it is his brand identity. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” and people are definitely talking about Kanye when he’s not around. Consistency is important as it is a constant reminder and portrayal of your brand’s values, mission, and strengths. Keeping it consistent is very important, and can be vital to gaining the trust and loyalty of customers, or in Kanye’s case, fans. In this case, the difference is minimal.
Third marketing tip from Kanye. It is common knowledge, or at least it has been made clear from the previous two points, that Kanye knows how to get people talking. Take his new album for example. He changed the title multiple times, creating a bigger buzz each time he made a change and getting people excited for its release. Only to release it exclusively on the Tidal streaming service. As well as changing the title to refer to himself as Pablo Picasso (because he has to be egotistically consistent). Trying to cop one of Kanye’s Yeezys? It’ll be tough, because they are almost impossible to get, as the demand exceeds supply. Or at least that is what Kanye wants you to think! In terms of marketing, having your consumers build buzz and hype about your service or product is key if you want successfully sell it. Not only does it increase awareness, but it will also improve brand loyalty and reputation, which is always appealing in terms of attracting new customers. Everyone wants to fit in and be cool, so if there is a sufficient amount of hype behind your brand, then it can definitely be launched into the main stream of cool.
Kanye is definitely a marketing and musical genius, and his branding style should definitely be seen as an example of effective marketing, especially for his brand image. His teachings can be adapted to any company. Kanye wants us all of us to think that this is his natural crazy, and egotistical persona, but maybe he knows branding better than the rest of us.