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Ye & Kid Cudi: Branding “Their” Way

Have you heard of “Yezzianity?” If you’re wondering why this sounds like a religion, it’s because IT IS — technically. 

If you become a marketing “god”(lowercase g) like Kanye West (Ye), you’ll have a group of loyal followers create a religion based on your brand. 

Kanye has referred to himself before as “Yeezus.” 

In late August, Ye announced a “new” logo for his clothing line. There was controversy on social media surrounding two apparent similarities.

The all-too-familiar blue rounded logo can be seen via the Pillsbury doughboy advertisements, but there’s something else.

Ye’s ninth album, Jesus Is King, also features the familiar blue outline. 

So far, there has been no official announcement for the reasoning behind the new logo but based on the artist’s past branding techniques, there might be a couple of tips up-and-coming marketers can take away. 

Stay Relevant

Listen, Ye is always front & center in tabloids. He was married to one of the most famous women on planet earth. If nothing else, the man knows how to be the topic of discussion. 

As they say, “there’s no such thing as bad press.” 

Do you know how hard it is to find a suitable work Instagram image of Kim Kardashian?

So what can we learn from a branding & marketing perspective from Kanye’s strategy? 

Well, he has certainly polarized audiences everywhere he goes. Some people are local Ye fans & will buy anything & everything that his artistic mind comes up with. 

While others are appalled at the things that come out of his mouth on social media.

Ye Takeaway

One takeaway from Ye is that you can’t please everybody all the time. 

If you’re a clothing brand like Yeezy, you can certainly lean into your core demo & not care about who your product is not for. 

For example, most people who don’t like streetwear or Kanye are not buying his shoes or apparel. And that’s OK. Because Ye is doing him. 

He’s his true, authentic self, & people still respond to it. So as a corporation, his clothing companies are so closely tied to his persona that the two are almost indiscernible. 

Founders, note that building a strong brand can create huge ROI for your store, business, or whatever you’re trying to build. 

Kid Cudi

Fifteen years into his career, Kid Cudi continues to utilize unique visuals for branding purposes. 

With his eighth studio album coming up, the artist is taking the branding a step FURTHER with the release having its animated special on Netflix. 

Two artists with varying branding strategies. If you want to learn from two unique viewpoints, keep reading. 

If you want to keep customers returning, you HAVE to provide something of physical value. We’re talking merchandise of all sorts (hats, hoodies, jackets, shirts, etc.) 

Maybe you want to go as far as providing backpacks & other tangible items, not every brand offers. You would be scratching the surface of Cudi’s marketing techniques.

Partnering with fashion labels like streetwear professional Cactus Plant Flea Market, Cudi (from time to time) releases merch via Cactus Plant inspired by his albums.

Going Deep, Not Wide

And the strangest part? Streetwear costs money, more than your average merch experience. 

Streetwear can be roped into a similar category as sportswear as it’s made to be comfortable AND stylish. 

However, streetwear is not made on a massive daily scale, unlike sportswear. 

Depending on the designer & all of those technical aspects, specific materials (typically high-grade) are used, automatically increasing the price. 

But the other aspect is that streetwear is exclusive to a release or campaign. It’s a limited edition or limited-time moment for fashion. 

Cudi & Ye have worked alongside Cactus Plant to release unique merch that’s tangible AND related to the artist’s brand. 

As strange as it might seem, bragging about yourself on a grand scale is valid (in terms of marketing). There’s no other artist out there that does this better than Ye. 

He’s spared no opportunity to promote his brand in ridiculous fashions calling himself a visionary and even the next Michaelangelo. 

Of course, the brand must have measurable success to support these claims. 

As we’ve seen repeatedly, brands that want to stand out should spread the word that “they’re” different from the others. 

What Makes You Different?

What makes your brand different? Maybe there are a MILLION things, or maybe there’s nothing. Either way, you want to spread the word that you ARE “that brand.” 

The brand that sticks its arms out the farthest gets the prize. 

Striving for controversy is not always a GOOD thing when it comes to the future of your brand. 

However, Ye has proven the more controversy surrounding a brand, the more likely customers will be invested in it. 

This could mean announcing an opinion on something “hot topic” or implementing a controversial quote on merch. 

Remember, this marketing method can be as harmful as it is beneficial. 

To promote his upcoming album, Cudi lets his artistic side show through his upcoming Netflix special, Entergalactic

The artist stars as the lead Jabari, an artist trying to make it in New York City. That is until he meets his new neighbor Meadow, played by Jessica Williams.

 In a recent article, Cudi explains the heart & soul that went into the special, admitting he “cried at the end.”

Brands need campaigns that are emotionally triggering & powerful in impact. 

Cudi’s album Entergalactic will drop this Friday. 

Side note, the marketing team took a vote, & we have Kanye (6) vs. Kid Cudi (2) when voting on who the better artist & branding person is. 

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