February 20, 2016

Case Study: Kanye West

“Imma let you finish” – Kanye West

That sentence alone became one of the most recognisable quotes in modern pop culture. When West (fondly known as Yeezus or Yeezy) took the stage and interrupted the country music princess Taylor Swift during her first ever VMA win, he almost ruined his career.

Today, West keeps an A-List consistency almost as much as his wife (Kim Kardashian West) who is repeatedly “trending” and Google’s most searched person. Did someone say power couple? His brand now encapsulates more than just music.

West continually succeeds as he releases his own fashion line, numerous collaborations, a new album while he is gracing the cover of Vogue magazine with his new family #THEWORLDSMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOUPLE. Given that West has arguably one of the worst reputations in Hollywood, how does he stay relevant?

He keeps the public interested, why? Because he’s organic

Thanks to social media, West is still able to be “Yeezy” without ruining his reputation. With a Twitter following of 19.1 Million followers, West is able to control his fans. Being honest and outspoken is what the Yeezy fans appreciate. Typically, West does this by speaking his mind. West often rants about almost every topic his mind ponders. He regularly calls out other celebrities or just erupts in self-worship.

Every time Yeezy rants, he breaks the internet.

In 2009, West had to go to great lengths to create positive publicity, retain his image and remain likeable. Now, he can speak his mind while keeping his brand intact. West often publically apologizes for speaking his mind too irrationally and being more eccentric than usual. It’s coming straight from West himself instead of the media.

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Kanye publically apologising for his Grammys behaviour

Celebrities’ engaging with fans on a personal level via social media is a new obsession. With Twitter, his fans are able to engage in his world unlike before. West is able to elevate above the media’s representation of him and his behaviour. Fans almost feel privileged to follow him. This keeps the public wanting more. Every time Yeezy is brought to mainstream media attention, fans await the next set of tweets.

In 2015, West almost interrupted another artist, Beck, when he won an award for Album of the Year. Afterwards, he took to Twitter and apologized leaving his fans with an impression of a sweeter Kanye than the media portrays.

Reputation management is something all businesses must deal with on a regular basis. West stays true to himself by not conforming to normal society. He takes significant movement to transform and take criticism gratefully whilst remaining authentic. You could possibly use this approach on bad Facebook reviews. Staying dedicated to your brand and business, while restoring bad publicity is an enlightening lesson to learn.

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DM by Kanye West, Paris fashion week 2012

In 2012, despite West’s loathed position in society, he fulfilled his goal of entering the fashion world. He collaborated with Giuseppe Zanotti on a series of footwear which debuted in his first collection at Paris Fashion Week. West recently hired out Madison Square Garden to debut his latest album and release his newest season of Yeezy by Adidas.

A stylish, post-apocalyptic inspired line of high-end active wear

West knows what his target audience is looking for. This is an extremely valuable lesson in marketing your brand. You need to create valuable content that your fans actually want to consume. Studying what your audience desires will always keep you on top. This takes time yet it is definitely priceless. Your motivation to continuously adhere to your audience will create the most success. The internet is West’s biggest outlet for marketing his work. Immediately after announcing anything West is working on he has fans buzzing.

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Yeezy by Adidas, Season 1, 2015

Ranging from $300-$2,500 AUD the label is not exactly inexpensive, yet West has fans waiting in anticipation for a chance to purchase their own fragment of the Yeezy collection.

What can we as business owners learn from West’s marketing strategy?

He is clearly a very passionate man. He is extremely in touch with the modern world and the internet, understanding that the next generation is the generation in which he is required to market toward. He rebels against the media and concentrates on his fans, disregarding the hate which is hurled in his direction. Focusing on his goals, creativity shines through his work, continually working on unique ideas and betraying the “normal” approach to fame. If you take this diligent work ethic to any business venture and simply never stop creating. You will succeed.

Even if you don’t necessarily reverence West’s work, there is no denying how intelligent his marketing strategy is. It works, plain and simple. After years of improving, West trusts his brand and his name to create the elevation he needs. Nonetheless, any publicity is good publicity and West is the utmost ideal example. If you engage into West’s world, negatively or positively you’re feeding profit.

Society considers “Yeezus” a bad influence; I think he’s a genius.