Kanye West: From Gold Digging to Following God
Published on January 28, 2020, at 10:02 p.m.
by Janie Creighton.
Kanye West’s brand shift appealed to not only his fans but also the public relations industry. The American songwriter, record producer and rapper has successfully rebranded his image from “Gold Digger” to “Follow God.” He mastered the art of rebranding — there is no turning back now. Fans, it is time to say goodbye to the explicit rapper and hello to the holy roller.
After analyzing GetVoIP’s “8 Crucial Laws of Rebranding,” I discovered West abides by the do’s and don’ts of rebranding.
1.“Give your brand a story”
Meet West’s rebrand: He once rapped about sex, violence, fame and fortune. Now, he raps to spread the gospel. In James Corden’s Airpool Karaoke, West shared personal stories related to the development of his new lifestyle and associated his success as a direct result of God wanting to “show off.” For example, West said he was $35 million in debt. After living in “service to Christ,” he had $68 million returned in one year from his tax returns.
2.“Don’t comprise brand equity”
West incorporating religion into his work is nothing new or surprising. In fact, his best-selling album, “The College Dropout,” features a song called “Jesus Walks.” The difference now is that his rebrand embraces a new life of Christian faith. Although he changed his brand, the artist still remains loyal to his fan base through his music. For example, his latest album “Jesus Is King” includes gospel-inspired hip-hop.
3.“Streamline your identity”
If you search “Kanye West” on Google, his personal website is followed by his Twitter profile @kanyewest. He uses both of these platforms to promote his rebrand along with “Jesus Is King” and his Sunday Service tours.
4.“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
In “Airpool Karaoke,” West told Corden straight. He shared his testimony of discovering a life dedicated to living for Jesus Christ. West said he has no shame or regret for how he once was, but his past is now a platform for where he is heading.
5.“Revitalize to broaden your appeal”
West’s new brand remains relevant through Twitter, interviews, Yeezy and tours. He has generated earned news coverage from third-party sources such as ABC7, the Source and Fox News.
6.“Don’t rebrand if you’re just changing the name”
After attending the artist’s performance with the Sunday Service Choir in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I was able to see West’s rebrand in full effect. West embraced his rebrand as a change to the purpose of his life, work and art: “And God said, ‘This is enough for working for the devil, and I’m going to need to use you,’” said West. “The devil is a defeated thug.” West’s rebrand is not a change to his name but a change to his purpose.
7.“Revitalize to broaden your audience”
In order to reach new target demographics, West hosts weekly church-like gatherings across the United States with the Sunday Service Choir to promote his new brand’s mission, vision and values.
8.“Don’t be reckless”
The infographic states, “Don’t make moves that are only concerned with the bottom dollar.” In West’s very own “Jesus Walks,” he raps, “They say you can rap anything except for Jesus, that means guns, sex, lies, videotape, but if I talk about God my record won’t be played, huh?” Clearly, he wasn’t thinking about monetary income when he released an entire album based on Jesus.
It’s official: PR practitioners can now look to West as the rebranding pro. If the American rapper can successfully rebrand his image from fame and fortune to serving Jesus Christ, then there is hope for your rebrand, too.