Featured | June 2, 2016

Five Things Brands Can Learn From Kanye West, the Marketing Master

Kanye West is a bit nuts. Come on, admit it, you think so too. Most of us think his Twitter rants, flesh-coloured fashion line and the names he has given his children are a bit weird.

Though, we must admit, his music isn’t bad – he’s always on the stereo at Liberty HQ – and despite his kookiness (or perhaps because of it), we’re all talking about him.
So, are Yeezy’s extroverted activities all part of an elaborate marketing ploy to sell his wares? Or are they merely a by-product of Mr Kardashian’s uber-creative mind? Well, that we don’t know, but there are a few tips brands can adopt from Kanye in order to get noticed.

Lesson One: Create a Buzz at the Right Time

Of course, you can just release a product or advertise your services when they become available or you need the money, but Kanye does things a little differently.
After his recent Twitter rants, where he got into it with his ex, Amber Rose, then with Wiz Khalifa, oh and let’s not forget that exchange with Mark Zuckerberg, Yeezy killed two birds with one stone when he held a ‘listening party’ for the release of his new album The Life of Pablo. 
What was so clever about this event is that this party was at his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show in the 18,000 capacity, iconic landmark Madison Square Garden. And anyone who loved following his Twitter meltdowns wanted a ticket.

He struck while the iron was hot, releasing a fashion line and a new album while he was the latest news. That’s something you can do with your business. Integrate your marketing campaigns and align them with major events and the annual calendar. Plus, make sure to create some reactive content if a relevant news story breaks.

Admittedly, you may not be able to pack out a stadium for the announcement of your latest product, but careful timing may get you a few more website conversions.

Lesson Two: Be Confident in All That You Do

You can’t deny that Kanye West is confident. For crying out loud, Yeezy named one of his albums Yeezus. He literally thinks he’s the god of all music.
He’s also come out with corkers like:
‘I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.’ 
 ‘I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.’ 
‘ I’m the closest that hip-hop is getting to God. In some situations I’m like a ghetto Pope.’ 
OK, admittedly Yeezy crosses the line from self-confidence into egotistical arrogance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be confident in your brand.
Here in Britain we’re used to being a little reserved; it’s our culture. But how will your customers learn about your brilliant new product or service if you don’t tell anyone about it? Use promoted content, pay per click ads, onsite blog posts and guest blogs to get the message out there about what you can offer. And if your brand demands a brash, cocksure tone of voice like Kanye, then go for it.

Lesson Three: Exclusivity Sells

Only manufacturing a limited amount of stock may seem stupid, but rather than harming your profit margin, it can actually encourage higher mark-ups. Over the years, Kanye has taught us that exclusivity sells.
Yeezy initially announced that The Life of Pablo would only be available on streaming service Tidal and his Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers were given a very limited manufacturing run. Needless to say, the shoes sold out quicker than you could say My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Whatever your brand, getting people talking about you can increase demand. Limited-edition products work particularly well in fashion and the beauty industry.

Lesson Four: It’s Who You Know

Scroll through Instagram or watch a few stories on Snapchat and you’ll see innumerous celebrity product endorsements. Why? Well, everyone wants to be like their favourite celebs and what is more attainable than purchasing the same clothing or gadget?
Kanye is bezzie mates with megastars like Justin Bieber, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Jay Z, Beyonce… the list goes on. He’s also married to “the most beautiful women of all time” Kim Kardashian, who has more than 70million Instagram followers and 45.6million on Twitter. Now that’s a huge audience!
A following like Kim K’s may be a little out of reach for the average SME, but the tactic of leveraging relevant influencers works for any brand. Why not build relationships with a few well-known bloggers in your industry, enlist the help of a local celebrity, or invest in online PR techniques to build your brand’s trust among those that can do the most with it.

Lesson Five: Be Consistent

Kanye is crazy, but at least he owns it. He knows that this controversial outspoken identity is his brand… and it sells. He keeps it consistent and it’s not so much what he says anymore, but the way he says it that grabs the headlines (see his recent appearance on Ellen here).
Companies also need to be consistent with their brand and marketing efforts. From tone of voice to design basics, USPs to brand messages, keep constant messaging so customers become familiar with your organisation and recognise it for return custom.

I’ma let you finish but…

If there’s anything you think we’ve missed off this list, we’d love to hear it, and if you want to discuss Kanye’s marketing majesty Tweet us @_libertydigital

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