6 Branding Ideas From Jay-Z and Kanye West

Jay-Z and Kanye West released one of the most anticipated albums on the year, Watch the Throne. They were able to leverage paid, earned, and owned assets to create an experience for their fans that led to large sales in the first week.

On August 8, 2011, two of Hip Hop's biggest stars, Jay-Z and Kanye West, released one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Its sales of close to 500,000 albums in the first week wasn't just serendipity. Watch the Throne, on Island Def Jam Records, leveraged paid, earned, and owned assets to create an experience for fans. It went No. 1 in 23 countries on iTunes.

You might even need to have content created on behalf of the client. Don't rule it out. Making content exclusive can be a risk if your consumer is not willing to use the channels that you are offering to acquire your product. This is where it is important to be knowledgeable of your audience's purchasing habits.

On the day of the release, Island Def Jam used Twitter to generate excitement for a pop-up store in Manhattan, simultaneously connecting the digital and physical experiences. But executing a pop-up store or any real-world event to support your online strategy takes a certain budget and planning time. If this is a stretch, research other options to bring the online experience offline in order to make a real-world connection with your audience. Be sure to point people in attendance back to your online properties with signage at your event.

For three days only, fans in New York City were able to see the Maybach featured in the video for the first song off the album and purchase the physical album, amplifying excitement for the video and the album. Securing assets can be difficult, but they can give a big boost your connections with fans. Utilize social media tracking tools you are familiar with to track data for reporting once your project is complete. Through a partnership with Vevo, both the label and the artists were able to be compensated for each of the 5,000,000 views the video received on YouTube.

Island Def Jam limited the number of retail partners to two: iTunes and Best Buy. Are big-name partnerships outside of your reach? If this is the case, utilize your current network to build stronger relationships. Make sure you have accounted for delivery of your product to a larger audience considering everything goes as planned.

Creating buzz in the online world and social media space is no easy task. You will need to utilize your relationships with online editors, bloggers, and the general fan base of your client. Initiate contact, follow up, provide content, and follow up again!

Once you've delivered your message and made all of your cool content available to the public, keep an eye on the conversations across all spaces. Here, you can see seven of the top trending topics on Twitter are song titles from Watch the Throne. Be aware what is going on and being said about your client"but don't interject unless you are providing value to the conversation.

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