Make no mistake, Kanye West is a one-of-a-kind musician, performer and pop culture icon – just ask him yourself. He has created a personal brand that is all his own and, while his attitude may rub some the wrong way, there are a few lessons we digital marketers can learn from his experience.
Define Your Brand’s Personal Style
Whether or not you dig his shutter-shades and graphic Ts, Kanye’s unique personal style sets him apart from other artists. Just as there are always new musicians trying to make it big, hundreds of consumer brands are hopping on the social media bandwagon trying to get noticed every year. To cut through the clutter, find the online medium where your target audience is already engaged. There, showcase the personality of your brand and highlight the product/service offering that differentiates your company from others.
No one can forget the infamous Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards where Kanye upstaged the Best New Artist. While many found his behavior disgraceful, he has taught us two important lessons here. First, Kanye has shown us that being unapologetic for who we are can strengthen a reputation, for better or for worse. While he may have issued an apology to Swift after the fact, many believe it was too little too late. When it comes to marketing a brand online, keep in mind that actions speak as loud as words. Second, he taught us what not to do when trying to showcase a brand’s position on a specific issue. When interacting with your audience, be true to the personality of the brand and emphasize transparency, but adhere to political correctness. And avoid running on stage at an industry awards ceremony to make a point at all times.
Generate Strong Content
If you are going to be unapologetic, then make sure you can back it up with strong content. While Kanye’s foot has been in his mouth more times than he’s been nominated for a Grammy, fans are able to look beyond his behavior when they hear his music. A strong brand personality is a great way to attract an audience base, but once they arrive they’ll expect the brand to deliver. Whether you are launching a Facebook contest, hosting a webinar, or promoting a company microsite, make sure the content is fresh, showcases strengths or core offerings, and reinforces the company mission.
Give the Audience a Taste to Keep Them Coming Back
To grow your audience base, give them a reason to continue coming back. Kanye has done just this with his new “Good Fridays” program. In August, Kanye announced that he would offer fans a new, free MP3 download every Friday until Christmas. This tactic has not only encouraged a broader audience to give his music a try, but gives them a reason to return to his site each week. Taking a cue from Kanye, marketers should consider ways of offering consumers a taste of their brand’s “secret sauce” through an online portal. For example, mommy bloggers might be interested in a coupon to try a new baby product. These sneak peeks don’t need to be anything over the top, but should resonate with the target audience.
Kanye might not be on the top of your list of roles models, especially when it comes to digital communication. However, by paying attention to what he has done right and what he has done very wrong, you might learn a thing or two about launching a social media campaign.