Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Giving up is way harder than trying.” – Learn how creativity fueled this icon’s influence in music and fashion! [Monday: Marketing Marvels]

February 12, 2024

Rap music has evolved into a global phenomenon with a profound influence on culture, society, and music. 

This connection became even more pronounced in 2009 when an influential rapper founded Yeezy, a multi-billion-dollar fashion line

The name of this rapper?

Kanye West!

Photo from GQ

West was born in Atlanta, Georgia on June 8, 1977. He began his music career in the early 2000s as a producer for artists such as Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Ludacris. In 2004, West released his debut album, “The College Dropout,” which won him his first Grammy award in 2005 for Best Rap Album and gave him worldwide recognition.

His subsequent albums also received critical acclaim, such as: 

  •  “Late Registration” in 2005
  • “Graduation” in 2007
  • “808s & Heartbreak” in 2008
  • “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” in 2010
  • “Yeezus” in 2013
  • “The Life of Pablo” in 2016
  • “Ye” in 2018
  • “Jesus is King” in 2019
  • “Donda” in 2021

As one of the rap industry’s most decorated artists, West has won almost every music award there is to win. So far, he has bagged a total of 24 Grammy awards, 17 Billboard awards, 7 Music Television (MTV) awards, and 3 BRIT awards. Additionally, he has sold 160 million music records worldwide. 

Following his success in the music scene, West decided to venture into the fashion industry. As a rapper, he often talked about his passion for fashion, including his stint at clothing brand Gap during his teenage years. 

He launched his own Yeezy brand in 2009 and made a collaboration with Nike to produce the highly sought-after Nike Air Yeezy. These sneakers quickly became a sensation, with people camping overnight outside Nike’s retail stores worldwide just to get a pair.

The retail price for a pair of Nike Air Yeezy ranged from USD 200 to USD 300 in 2009. Now, the resell value for the shoes has skyrocketed, with some pairs costing over USD 15,000. 

[Trivia: The most expensive Yeezy shoes were priced at USD 1.8 million through Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, and collectibles. This was the pair West wore at the 2008 Grammys.]

Photo from CNN

Yeezy’s collaboration with Nike ended in 2013 because West eventually became unhappy with the lack of creative control he had… plus he wanted to earn more money from his designs. He then decided to partner with Adidas in that same year, explaining the transition in an interview with Hot 97

“The old me, without a daughter, might have taken this Nike deal because I just love Nike so much, blah, blah, blah. But the new me, with a daughter, takes the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family.”

In 2015, West and Adidas released their first shoe collaboration, the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750. Continuing from the Air Yeezy line, the Yeezy Boost 750 seamlessly fused elements of sportswear, street style, and high-end fashion. 

The drop of this iconic shoe was limited to 9000 pairs only, which were swiftly sold out in just 10 minutes!

… and as this genre continued to gain popularity and mainstream acceptance, so did its influence on the fashion industry. In fact, fashion has a history with rap music as both have played a significant role in shaping and reflecting trends, societal norms, and individual identities

Photo from Kitsociety

Until 2022, West continued releasing sneakers under the Yeezy-Adidas partnership. The limited quantity of his releases generated hype around his products and helped create a sense of exclusivity for his brand.

While the partnership has ended, items produced under the collaboration are still being sold by resellers at high prices today. West’s music is also still being played by millions of people, with loyal fans waiting for his next release. 

Key Lessons from Kanye West’s Career

West’s journey from his early days as a music producer to his meteoric rise in the music industry, along with his groundbreaking Yeezy brand ventures, is a testament to his unparalleled creativity and ambition. 

His journey also offers valuable lessons for brands in the realm of business and marketing. Here are some of them: 

  1. Prioritize authenticity and creativity.

Throughout his career, West consistently maintained control over his creative vision. This was evident when he parted ways with Nike and moved to Adidas, a brand that allowed him greater creative freedom.

Lesson: Creativity is a critical factor in building a unique and authentic identity. By giving artists, designers, and creators the freedom to express themselves and their vision, brands can tap into these individuals’ artistry and produce innovative, authentic products that resonate with consumers.

  1. Generate hype and exclusivity.

The Yeezy brand is a prime example of how hype and exclusivity can drive demand and brand loyalty. By releasing limited quantities of his sneakers, West created a sense of scarcity that fueled consumer enthusiasm. 

Lesson: Strategically controlling product availability and marketing limited-edition releases help create excitement and anticipation among consumers. This not only boosts sales but also builds a dedicated fan base.

  1. Strengthen audience connection.

West’s ability to express himself has fostered a strong connection with his audience. Moreover, his journey from humble beginnings to meteoric success resonates with many, making him relatable to fans.

Lesson: Building a strong personal brand and forging a genuine connection with consumers are potent marketing tools. These not only help attract customers but also create a loyal clientele.

As you embark on your own business and marketing journey, remember that true connections with your audience and the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape are essential. 

So, stay rooted in your brand and consistently evolve to connect with your audience. By weaving these lessons into your brand’s marketing strategies, you’ll be walking a path towards enduring success!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Mondays: Marketing Marvels”

Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some brand or company’s marketing strategy. 

… only for the audience to later find out that its product was a flop, or worse, that the brand or company went bankrupt.

The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole. 

What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?

At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the roles of marketing and communication are always paramount to that success. 

Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies, marketers, and communicators. 

However, the difference between our articles and the numerous ones out there is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place in keeping with a person’s leadership skills in the area of marketing and/or communication.

We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve. We all make mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.

Hope you find this week’s topic interesting and helpful. 

Stay tuned for next Monday’s “Marketing Marvels!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Special Projects
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by VX Dynamic

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683