Kanye West. The name, for many may trigger feelings of anger, frustration, or even confusion. Regardless of how he makes you feel, there is no denying, his music career has been hugely successful. He is one of the best selling artists of all time and boasts a total of 21 Grammy wins. Recently, he has embarked on a new creative venture, fashion. Kanye West has collaborated with many fashion brands from Louis Vuitton to Nike, but his contract with Adidas has elevated his output to the next level and has been a success in terms of sales and acclaim.
Success comes from more than just skill and creativity. You can have the best product, but how are customers going to know if you do not know how to market. Kanye West is a culmination of skill, creativity, and lastly marketing expertise.
Kanye West the brand, Kanye West the company, has many products; albums, merchandise, shows, concerts. From a marketing perspective, he knows how to collectively promote each of his products with impeccable timing. Let’s take his album release as an example, when The Life of Pablo was set to release, he made sure to release his fashion line Yeezy Season at the same time. He understood that if one product gained momentum, it will be easy to piggyback off that momentum and promote another product. What way to best promote each product simultaneously? Have a fashion show where the music score is your own album. He timed everything so he can gain maximum promotion for his products.
Reflections of his expertise go beyond just that. His album prior to The Life of Pablo, Yeezus, had a similar “piggyback” method. Straight off the pages of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Kanye West had his own “golden ticket” in his CD’s. Back in 2013, his highly demanded shoe, the Red October’s were one in a million, practically impossible to attain. They were a thing of urban legend. The buzz (hype) around the shoe was unreal, the shoe resold for tens of thousands of dollars. How did he utilize the hype to hype his album release? Offer the chance to win the Red October’s with the purchase of the CD. Kanye West placed 5 tickets in CDs so that anyone had the chance to win the shoes. This created hype over more hype and helped the album with sales.
Kanye West has maintained relevancy since 2004. A feat that is highly difficult when there are so many young up and comers in the industry. How does he accomplish this? He stays in the press. A brand a product’s personality, and Kanye’s personality is what keeps him in the press. When you think of Kanye you may think, arrogant, crazy, or big mouthed. These personality traits translate to brand identities, and they are the reason he is still talked about. From his telethon Katrina controversy all the way to his Taylor Swift controversy, it still remains the same. He is still that arrogant, big mouthed guy. Many negatives can be said about him, but he is a master at sticking to his brand which in turns maintains brand awareness.
So what did we learn?
Lesson #1 Timing is everything
Lesson #2 Perpetuate the hype
Lesson #3 Stick to you brand to maintain brand awareness