5 Branding Lessons From Drake

“Started from the bottom now we here [and so can you].”

Unlike Drake, your brand doesn’t need goofy dance moves paired with backlight neon-colored walls (or maybe it does!). You might not be going from “zero to 100” or rebranding the Toronto Raptors, but Drake has more than over-emotional hip-hop songs to offer. Since dominating his side of the music industry for so long, the “6 God” has done what many have failed to do: Stay relevant, stay authentic, and continue to create consistent success. Since 2009, the Canadian has managed surpass rap’s previous king, Jay-Z, by producing the most number one hip-hop/rap records on the billboard charts.

But this article isn’t about bowing down to Drake’s musical skills. Here are five lessons you can learn from Drizzy Drake to cement and grow your brand.

  1. Challenge the norm — Don’t be afraid to challenge new ground.
    We live in a hyper-competitive world. Every brand, regardless of size, is battling to stay at the forefront and reach new audiences. When Drake arrived on the scene, rap music was heavily dominanted by American-born artists, building their credibility on how “street” they were, or how much “street cred” they had. Drake had none of these. Born in Toronto, Canada, Drake experience both upper-class and lower-middle-class living, and the dangers of the “traditional hip-hop” neighbourhoods such as Compton or South Chicago were as far as they could be. This didn’t stop him, and it shouldn’t stop you. There are 7 billion people on this planet. Don’t let the “norm” stop you from working on expanding your brand’s audience. Seek out new niches, and use your brand’s strengths and unique traits to appeal to people you may not have expected to be interested in what you do. After all, almost everyone has heard of Drake, regardless of how much they love or disklike his genre.
  2. Be authentic, and don’t be scared to be honest.
    I’m no Drake afcionado. But from what I know, he has never been afraid to be himself and project his honest emotions and true personality through his lyrics — wether they be about ego, love, or heartbreak. This authenicity has allowed him to maintain his brand’s consistency, and his loyal audiences, and new audiences, will only continue to appreciate him more. Don’t feel the need to revert to the typical pop-star tactics ala Justin Bieber. In a society filled with smoke and mirrors, honesty is almost always rewarded. “I don’t really have a gimmick or a ‘thing.’ I’m one of the few artists who gets to be himself every day.” — Drake, Why Do You Hate Me So Much? (The Guardian)
  3. Embrace your quirks.
    In a lot of ways Drake is a dorky guy. Just watch the video for “Hotline Bling.” To Drake, none of this quirkiness matters. Not only does it not matter, he has successfully used his goofiness to create greater and greater appeal. People love relatability. Don’t be afraid to show your oddities — not only does it make you look more transparent, your audience could love you for it.
  4. Influence. Communicate. Be Grateful.
    If your brand doesn’t live on social media it should. Hopefully it already does. And if it does, don’t forget that it’s called “social” media. Drake has used his brand to become an influencer (look at the new-ish Toronto Raptors logos and jerseys), and he always communicates with other members of his industry and his audience. Wether it’s through shout-outs in songs, to interactions through Twitter and Instagram, Drizzy Drake is always creating and maintaining connections: connections that make his audience grow and establish his name in the forefront. On top of this, the “6 God” also makes sure to show thanks to those who helped make him successful, or show him praise, or simply provide support. Like in life, gratitude and appreciation is always enjoyed. Established connections, interact with others online and through social media, and when you do, always express thanks!
  5. Continue to grow and evolve. 
    Many hip-hop/rap artists of today only do one thing: rap. This is where Drake stands-out. Not only does he rap, he is also one of the few who also sings. So much so, he even hired a vocal coach to help him better and perfect his skills. Your brand is built off your strengths, and they may bring you success, but don’t forget to constantly build and evolve your brand. Wether it means branching off to new types of content, such as video, or breaking into a new social media platform, keep growing. Nothing stays the same anymore, and developing will only help you adapt and stay strong.