Drake’s 4th studio album which dropped on April 29th, was needless to say, highly anticipated.
He is one of the best at what he does, undeniably. There are those who insist he is a fad that will wash over, but there is literally no ignoring the fact that he has dropped six albums over the past 6 years and every single one of them has gone platinum, or multi-platinum and usually in the first week of sales. The projections for the first week of sales for the “Views” album are averaging around 1 million copies, and I think it is safe to say that will be reached, if not surpassed.
This past week was a record best for Toronto’s own, with 630,000 album unit equivalents sold in the first night of sales.
Yes, you read that right. The. First. Night. Of. Sales.
Drake may very well be the “6 God”, as he self-proclaims. He is a master at building brand equity, generating leads, and nurturing those leads to the fullest extent possible.
But what is his secret to his marketing efforts, or his anti-marketing for that matter?
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Drake has been on top, and isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Drake’s last mixtape, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” came without warning. On February 13th 2016, one minute fans were scrolling their timelines looking at photos of other people’s dinner, and then BAM, an iTunes link to purchase Drake’s new album had gone viral.
Many pre-established formalities for a star of his magnitude were skipped over for the release, which left many confused as to whether the release was considered an album or a mixtape. Many speculated the album to be an undercover shot at Birdman and the Cash Money label, and it left people wondering if it would be his last album with YMCMB.
The way this album was released hinted that it was possibly compiled of old album leftovers, with a few new tracks, spit out to simply fulfil his contractual obligations to the Cash Money label.
But was this speculation granted? Or did Drake calculatively release this album the way he did for a purpose? If so, what was the strategy here?
With the CN Tower being probably the most iconic and associated symbol of Toronto, the ‘Views’ album art was an intimate choice, and the dedication to Torontonians was a nice touch too.
This album will definitely – like the others- take over the internet, and it will take up most of your timeline in the face of memes, gifs and other digital social media content for at least the next week or more.
Drake promotes his albums in a way that is quite personal to his audience. He shares clips, early releases, and other specials. But most of all, he dedicates his work and represents his city which builds a certain type of rapport with his fan base. Drake’s dedication to Toronto creates a reciprocity of dedication that he receives back from his fans.
People like people who make it big and don’t forget where they came from. He uses that knowledge to his full advantage.
Many artist do not become successful or popular just because their music is good. To be perfectly honest, the correlation today between talent and success is dwindling. It appears as though an artist that has talent today it’s seen as a bonus, not the prerequisite requirement for fame and fortune. Due to this, many celebrities require elaborate marketing schemes with a team full of marketers solely focused on establishing and nurturing their brand.
But not Drake.
Why is this?
VP of Marketing at Sony Music, Bill Richards sums up Drake’s marketing philosophy with one question “What Would Drake Do?”.
It really all starts with the music and ends with the fans. It is all about content and nurturing.
Drake doesn’t ever go straight to the radio with an album. Instead he releases tracks one by one to his audience. Giving them a little bit more with each release. He creates relevant and rich content, that draws his fans in.
He garnishes free promotion via shares, likes and comments as his methods are largely social media directed. Drake maintains a high level of content while keeping public relations out of eye view, if Drake has a PR team, he doesn’t want us to know about it. He even uses his “invisible audience” (those who lurk but don’t like) to build his brand.
Ultimately, Drake develops organic leads by making sure people like what he has to say. Or, by ensuring he says what people like.
When people like what you have to say, or can relate to it, then they engage with likes and shares. This strengthens the brand by establishing awareness, credibility, reputation and customer satisfaction.
When it comes to marketing, Drake knows the phenomenon, and manipulates them very well.
Drake if forever strategizing as he recognizes this is vital for any business, and that efforts that are uncalculated will generate haphazard results.
I have become convinced that Drake has developed his marketing so well, that he can literally choose when he does and doesn’t promote himself, and he will STILL succeed.
So what can we take from the 6 God to better our own B2B or B2C marketing endeavors? Well, for starters, just know there are no rules or steps. There is no guideline, or pre-set map to follow to promotional success land. The best conclusion I have drawn is that to market your content properly, focus on your target audience.
By nurturing your already established and solidified leads, much of your marketing ends up done for you, almost effortlessly.