In today’s world, there are people who see Kanye West as the messiah he himself thinks he is. These are the people who actually believe that he is the greatest artist that has ever lived, a man who puts the likes of Michelangelo, J.S. Bach and T.S. Eliot to shame. And then there are those who think he is nothing but a silly hip hop artist with a few decent songs under his belt.
For us, while it generally doesn’t matter who and what Kanye actually is, perhaps this fact shouldn’t be overlooked: Whether we’d like to admit it or not, Kanye knows more about his "market" and his potential "market" than any celebrity living today. And while he can definitely teach us much more about marketing and brand promotion, Kanye can also teach us heaps about keeping our customers happy and, to an even greater extent, interested.
Never Forget about Quality
One thing that people have begun to lose sight of, mostly due to Kanye's own questionable decisions and actions, is that Kanye has actually been producing quality music for more than 15 years now. In fact, one might say that he has been putting out some of the best popular music over that same period. You can hate everything about Kanye, but Jesus Walks is a song that can stand against timeless classics because it is one.
Our first Kanye lesson of the day is that maintaining quality should always be at the core of any business-customer relationship. You can go all out with thrills and frills, but if there is nothing solid at its foundation, this relationship will never become everything it can be. Getting down to the very basics is usually a good idea.
Traditional Values still Matter
We live in a world that is getting more and more cynical with every day that passes and one might think that traditional values such as family, religion and common decency can only hurt a business these days. In reality, however, this is not the case (yet) and most people still care about those core values. It is far more likely than not that your customers also still care about them. This is why your business should always project a certain respect for these traditional values.
Kanye knows this very well and if we are being totally honest, we have a feeling this is one area where he is also being honest. We really have a feeling that he cares about his family and his beliefs in certain things. Anyone who has ever heard a few of his songs knows how much Kanye cared (and still does) about his late mom.
Don't be Afraid to Change
If there is one thing Kanye was never afraid of, its change. And we often overlook this about him. Unlike some artists that have been doing the same thing for years and even decades, Kanye has always tried to do something new. Sometimes it didn't work. Sometimes his attempts may have been outright silly, but that never slowed him down. He changed because he thought it would make him a better artist and isn't that the point of being an artist?
If your goal is to keep your customers happy and interested, a little bit of change can go a long way. This is not saying you should give your brand a complete overhaul every few months -- believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much innovation. However, bring a bit of change into the way you do things every now and then.
Take Advantage of Technology
Ask people to come up with a way to put together Kanye, technology, and customer relations and they will immediately go to, for example, using Twitter to improve your customer relations. Probably. And really, Kanye is the master of using new technologies to promote his brand and cause controversies that will get him in the majority of water-cooler conversations around the world.
However, Kanye's relationship with technology is far more than that. For example, fortune has a great article on how Kanye is effectively patching his latest album The Life of Pablo as if it were software. This is something completely new and revolutionary. This is a smart use of technology. If you want to stay relevant in today's world and really ensure that your customers are happy and interested, using new technologies is a must.
All in all, there is plenty that Mr. Kanye West can teach us all about making customers happy and engaged. In fact, you might say that he is the master of it.
We're still not crazy about his fashion line, though.
About the Author
James D. Burbank has spent years in the trade show industry, seeing how businesses from all over the world engage with their customers. He is currently the Editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog.Follow on Twitter More Content by James Burbank