Wayne Lapasa

Sharing my Digital Marketing thoughts one post at a time.

Are Kanye West’s Tweets damaging his career or just a vehicle to promote his next album?

Kanye West

Kanye West

Recently hip-hop artist and fashion designer Kanye West re-emerged on Twitter.  The outspoken rapper has remained quiet on social media for almost one year until now.  Many have known West to have temper tantrums, be outspoken and stir headlines.  His latest press have alienated his public perception more than ever after praising US President Donald Trump in his tweets.  While many predict he is on the verge of a major breakdown, here are three reasons why I think Kanye is in promotion mode.

He is an artist

Mr. West’s body of work cannot be overlooked. He is a 21-time Grammy award winner and has provided countless hit songs and albums as a producer and an artist himself.  His artistry branched off into the world of fashion with his Yeezy line, including his partnership with adidas, who helped the three stripes brand over take Jordan Brand as the number 2 shoe company in the United States.  As an artist, he expresses his thoughts in music and his visuals through his clothing. With Twitter, he’s using the platform to create a dialogue and engaging others whether his opinion is popular or not.

He is creating a buzz for his new album

Kanye was not happy with the album sales of his 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo.  A lot of it stems from the album being only exclusive to TIDAL.  He has since had a falling out with the JAY-Z owned streaming service, which many claimed hurt his bottom line sales in term of availability to the rest of the Spotify’s and Apple’s of the music industry.  So what better way for people to get Kanye talking about him and his music through Twitter?  While his thoughts are free speech, what he’s really doing is to help build a promotional vehicle for his upcoming album Love Everyone, which is scheduled for a June 1st release.


Not even John Legend can stop Kanye.

He likes to feed his own ego

Nobody loves Kanye West more than himself.  He is a confident personality and is looking for approval.  What we know about ‘Ye is that he is a creator, a producer and designer by trade.  He believes in his own ideas so much, that he’s willing to defend them no matter how controversial they may be.  Even his own close friends disapprove of his alliance with Donald Trump, but he wants people to express their opinion just like he has.  It’s ok to agree to disagree with Kanye West. He has built a career on sheer talent.  And while his artistry cannot be questioned, he accepts that his own antics are always met with bi-polar results.

End Point

People tend to jump to conclusions and question why people do what they do.  What are they motivated by?  What causes them to react and behave the way they do?  Kanye West is no different.  Even if he never released any more music, he’ll be considered as one of the greatest music artists of all time.  Despite his current climate of controversy, Kanye is going to  be Kanye.  You can consume all the hype that makes him who he is…you can continue to buy into all the crazy stuff that he tweets.  Or you can see the bigger picture.  He’s here to create anticipation for his next album.  He is releasing product in his own way and is ok to trip and fall regardless of public perception.  A free thinker will take chances despite what others say because its their path and its their story to tell. This is the life of Kanye.

Kanye West  / Charlamagne Tha God interview (05-01-18)

Will Smith is using Social Media to re-introduce himself to a new generation with great success

Will Smith

Entertainer Will Smith unquestionably is one of the most popular and successful actors since the early 1990’s.  The rapper turned actor gained fame on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air sitcom for six seasons, before transitioning into one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.

However, in recent years his star has dimmed a bit.  Questionable movie roles and lack of audience interest finally caught up to Smith.  His days of grossing $100 million+ for eight straight films in the 2000’s were long gone.  Fast forward to 2018 and the movie industry has a new generation of fresh faces that have exploded onto the scene.  Even an established, charismatic and charming personality like Will Smith has seen his fair challenges.  The two-time Oscar nominee found his career at a crossroads with not so stellar box office receipts in recent years.

Instead of fading off into the sunset and walking away from the movie industry, Smith recently turned to social media to remind fans about the Will Smith brand.  Let’s look at what he’s done with digital in just a few short months.

Leverages social media influencers

On the December 14th, 2017 taping of the Ellen show, Will Smith promoted his new Netflix film, Bright. With the assistance of day time talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres, she playfully got Smith up to speed with how to use Instagram and take the best images.   One of Will’s signature traits is his humility, being able to make fun of himself on screen and in this case, he demonstrated it flawlessly.  It also didn’t hurt to have Ellen’s combined social media presence of over 180+ million followers help welcome Will to the ‘gram.

A little over one week later, Will Smith teamed up with YouTube star Lilly Singh aka IISuperwomanII to help produce a comedic video on Internet lingo.  The playful sketch saw the Independence Day actor poke fun of himself again, learning the ins and outs of social media language that his children Jaden and Willow use on a regular day basis.

Creates must see content

Even at age 49, Will Smith has found his way into reconnecting with his fan base.  There was already a coolness factor built into him and even as a parent, he has found many ways to stay relevant.  For instance, he uses his Instagram platform to share great life stories.  Instead of showing off materialistic items, he inspires millions by providing words of wisdom to everyone from all walks of life.  Smith might be older these days, but he’s still charming, he still has your attention and he continues to generate a positive light with his presence.

Will recently launched a YouTube channel to document his behind the scenes access of upcoming projects.  The channel is basically an extension of his IG platform, with a more vlog like feel that documents his comedic side, as well as travelling and exploring other countries around the globe.  While many might have thought Will had lost a step or two and was out of touch with his core audience, him joining these two social platforms allowed him to remind others of his iconic personality.  His not so lucky streak of under performing films in the entertainment headlines became his identity for a while.  Was he washed up?  Did he still have what it took to entertain the millions?  Now with his emergence on social media to such huge fanfare, the new strategy allows Smith to reconnect with fans and help launch his next projects with better leverage.

10 Million – THANK YOUS to my New Instagram Fam! . Obrigado | Gracias | धन्यवाद् | Grazie | شكرا | Merci | Danke Sehr | 谢谢 | Спасибо | ありがとうございました | ‎תודה | Ευχαριστώ | Mahalo | Gràcies | 감사합니다 | ขอบคุณครับ | Tak | Hvala | Děkuji | շնորհակալություն | Dankie | Faleminderit | Takk | Dank je | Tänan | Kiitos | Köszönöm | Ngiyabonga | Terima Kasih | Paldies | Ačiū | Благодарам | Grazzi | Баярлалаа | Dziękuję | Mulţumesc | Ďakujem | Tack | நன்றி | teşekkür ederim | Дякую | Diolch | Murakoze | ممنون | გმადლობ | Asante | Sag boluň . (Extra special thanx to you @roger.avary)

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on

If you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em

With someone with such a vibrant personality like Will Smith, him joining Instagram and YouTube was a long-delayed process.  Originally he refused to cave in and join the trend.  But once he saw the power and success that the medium could have on an entertainer’s career, he finally gave it a shot.   The days of promoting a product were no longer surrounded by mystique – but rather by providing the consumer with more insight and access to the endorser.

Probably one of the greatest examples of this is Dwayne Johnson.  The former pro wrestler known as The Rock saw his film career elevate to unprecedented heights by being building his fan base with social media marketing, by being transparent with his audience and listening to them.  Upon entering the acting world in the early 2000’s, Johnson aspired to have a career like Smith, different but bigger.  18 years later, he recently surpassed Smith in total career box office gross numbers.

End Point

While Will Smith continues on with his two new platforms to get the public re-energized for his film career (he already had a Facebook page ran by his management), the key take away is that it allows him to connect to an entirely new generation of followers in the smartphone era.

In addition, the strategy behind Smith’s decision to star in a studio like film on Netflix was brilliant.  Some might have thought it was a demotion or a risky career move, but in the long run it could prove to be a future trend among other actors.  Netlix is the new medium and cultural trend.  And while consumers still watch movies in theatres, the water cooler conversations that take place the next day are centered by which Netflix content they consumed at home.

To stay relevant and to be consistent, you must take on an adapt or perish approach.  Will Smith knows his strengths as a personality,  so while his staying power value fell may have waned, he quickly got it back on track thanks to social media.  By mid-February, he landed number 1 on the Top Actors Social Media Ranking list in just eight weeks.  We will see how Smith does with future projects going forward…it’s safe to say he’s on the right path.

Will you give Vero a chance?

Vero

This past week, a new social media app made some noise called Vero.  I know what you are thinking…do we need another app to consume our daily lives?  Maybe we do, maybe we don’t.  Are you tired of using the same social media platforms?  This might be of interest for you.  It has a very clean and polished looking interface.  While Facebook has had a 10+ year run and Instagram just behind it with 8, competition always helps improve the existing products.  Here are few reasons why you might want to give Vero a chance.

Select which audience you want to share your posts with.

Select which audience you want to share your posts with.

Chronological Feed

This is probably the biggest request many users wanted back.  Facebook who also owns Instagram added algorithms to their feed a few years ago on the basis that your post would show up at the top of your app based on engagement (likes, comments).  And while some like to live in the dark and just creep away, others just want to see the posts arrive in traditional style, from newest post to oldest.  Vero brings that back.

Vero provides you with your own stats usage.

Vero provides you with your own stats usage.

Vero gives you multiple options

Some of the most frustrating parts of an app like Instagram is that it is a link less application (only to be seen in the bio section).  Vero incorporates weblink sharing including recommendations for movies, books and music.  They let you buy stuff without leaving the app.  Also, when it comes to viewing Instagram images, you have to hold your fingers to do a pinch zoom…with Vero you can simply zoom in once and it will hold your zoom for as long as you like.  This little small practice is a welcome addition for the user.

Vero provides a clean and polished interface.

Vero provides a clean and polished interface.

Ad Free

Say goodbye to sponsored posts and content that you never wanted to see in the first place.  Probably one of the highlights of Vero is that they don’t want to fill your feed with advertisements that you know you are going to scroll past anyways.   This is going to be a huge sell among users who are tired of seeing ads.  This is especially evident on YouTube where you have to wait a few seconds before you can view your desired content.  I wonder how Vero is going to make their revenues though lol.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, Vero has entered the social media game in a big way.  They originally launched three years ago, but the owner behind the app is billionaire Ayman Hariri and he is looking to make a huge splash.  Time will tell how Vero fares with social media users.

Personally, I am all in favour of new competition entering the marketplace, if they have a purpose and are different from their counterparts.  But I won’t jump on it until I know my own circle of friends start to download the app.   Will Vero sway people who have grown tired of the FB, IG’s and Snaps of the world? We will see if people will catch on with this app.

How Ronda Rousey used Social Media to hide her WWE debut

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey (image credit: WWE)

This past Sunday, women’s MMA star Ronda Rousey shocked the wrestling world by showing up at the conclusion of the WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.   As one of combat sports’ most recognizable figures, her new career switch into the world of professional wrestling caught a lot of mainstream fans off guard.  Let’s examine how she used social media as a decoy to throw off the public that she was not going to appear at the Royal Rumble.

Tells TMZ she’s off to film a movie in South America

On Thursday, January 25, 2018, just four days before the Royal Rumble, Rousey was approached by TMZ at the airport.    Knowing that this footage would most likely be shared on social media through blog sites and smartphones, the former UFC women’s champion welcomed the paparazzi’s questions.  She was coy about her eventual jump to WWE, but truthfully did board a plane once the interview concluded.  It had been previously reported in the fall that she would be filming Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg in Atlanta and Columbia.   This set the table as an early confirmation that Ronda would not be appearing in Philadelphia, the site of the Royal Rumble.

Enjoying some #Colombia cuisine with the #mile22 crew 🍵 #ajiaco

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on

Uses Instagram to prove she’s actually in Columbia

For those who thought Ronda would not honor her movie commitments,  she posted a video on her Instagram account.  Dated Saturday, January 27 at 5:49 pm eastern time, Ronda was seen having dinner with the film crew in a Colombian restaurant.  This should have seemed to be enough to convince her fans and the MMA/wrestling audience that appearing at the Royal Rumble was just not going to happen.   Probably the icing on the cake was that her make up artist posted a picture of Rousey in her trailer on Sunday, January 28 – the actual day of the Royal Rumble event.

With Instagram, unless the live video feature is enabled, you can never really tell if the images you see on the platform are in real time or post dated.   People in general assume images are recently uploaded within a few hours of them being taken.  In this case, kudos to the Ronda and the WWE for using the platform to show that while fans will flock to Instagram for information, they can easily fool the public at the same time.

Ronda Rousey’s pre-recorded ESPN interview airs moments after the Royal Rumble

WWE’s relationship with ESPN allowed a mainstream outlet to help boost coverage of their signing of Ronda Rousey to the world.  The legitimacy of the sports broadcaster, known to break big sports new stories, immediately ran this interview following the conclusion of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.  WWE Shop also started selling the walk out t-shirt Rousey wore within minutes of the Rumble finishing on the WWE Network.  It is safe to say that her debut was calculated and had been planned for months leading up to her debut.

Ronda Rousey's Twitter analytics

Ronda Rousey's Twitter analytics

Ronda Rousey’s Twitter analytics via Sysomos

Conclusion

Social media is a powerful tool.  In this day and age where people are looking for information online, it can also be used a tool to misguide as well.  Ronda Rousey’s arrival in professional wrestling comes at a time where the industry is featuring more female talent than ever before.  While she did not compete at the Royal Rumble, WWE is saving her in-ring competition debut for their biggest show of the year.  Look for her to be heavily promoted in the main event of WrestleMania, this coming April.

For a sports entertainment company like the WWE, they are constantly using digital to communicate with their audience.   Personalities take to their social accounts to help build their rivalries.  They keep interest in their storytelling by keeping the consumer engaged.  And in the case of Ronda Rousey…where her debut could have been botched or leaked, WWE is a shining example of how a company can utilize social media and protect a surprise, which is no easy task in today’s digital world.

Ronda explains how she left Columbia to make it in time for the Royal Rumble

Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut at the Royal Rumble

 

2017 Year In Review

Wayne Lapasa

November 2017: Work Christmas party portrait

2017 is a wrap! What a year it has been.  This blog is going to be short and sweet compared to other posts.  I just want to take a quick moment to review this past year, highlight some key things that I’m really happy I achieved.

Word Press

Word Press

Blogging

Since the fall of 2016, I started using Word Press again, mostly for school assignments.  Once the school year term ended in April 2017, I still continued to use the platform to share my thoughts on all things digital.  It has allowed me to publish content and to build up my writing portfolio in the process.  Employers can also easily search through the archives to see what my writing style is and what I can bring to the table.

Honestly, I hadn’t touched Word Press since late summer 2012, so to be able to do this and get reacquainted with this platform was fun.  I will only be using this site to publish my thoughts on a monthly basis.  The reality is that I’m busy and pre-occupied with work and life.  And besides this domain, there’s other social media channels I am on regularly where you can find me as well!

Wayne Lapasa

December 2017: 💪🏻 Kris Kringle friends party

Back to the gym

When you have a celebrity as big as The Rock preaching that exercise is his daily anchor, I totally get it.  For me it is too. I don’t boast about it on social media, I just do it.  People tend to comment how I post a lot of foodie pics, yet I am in great shape.  The reality is, the work is being put in – I choose not to broadcast it.  The gym is sacred ground, it’s like a church to me.  Treat it with respect and you will see the results.

When school finished in the spring, you would think that more time would open up for me to get back into the gym.  I fell into a bad gym funk.  It actually made it harder for me to get back into the groove of things. I even switched gyms in the summer and was not able to motivate myself like I used to.  I regularly keep a gym journal on how many times I go to the gym.  From May to September, I only swiped my gym key 41 times.  That is embarrassing considering there were 163 total days in that five-month span.  For me, enough was enough.  It was time for a change.  There were three months remaining in the calendar year and I was not going to wait till the new year to get my butt in gear.  A light bulb switch in my head went off.  I am proud to say that I regained my consistency in the fall.  I just refocused and rededicated myself.  For the final 92 days of 2017, I went to the gym or did some sort of physical activity 76 times.  I went to the gym on average of five days a week.  This is no easy task given how busy one person’s work schedule can get.  There was one week where I was sick as a dog and I still went five times pushing through.

Going to the gym is a personal challenge of mind over matter.  To be healthy, you must incorporate fitness into your lifestyle.  But to build a lifestyle, you must build consistency.  Those two keywords are synonymous with one another.  To many, doing any sort of physical activity is considered torture.  The true testament is to ensure your mindset overrules any physical limitation you are feeling.  Once you can change the way you think, you will not dread working out.

Graduate Certificate Information Session 2017

July 2017: Seneca College alumni at the Graduate Certificate Information Session

Going back to school

The decision to go back to school has been highly documented in a previous post on this website.  But for me, it was my most favourite and personal post to publish. To add some other insight that I didn’t include in that write up, procrastination was a major factor in such a long layoff on not returning to upgrade my education.  In fact, in the summer of 2014, I almost contemplated towards a career as a realtor.  I started to read a few chapters of the books my mom had and I eventually concluded this was not the path I wanted to take.  I’ve always been a firm believer that patience is a virtue and that good things come to those who wait.  I simply cannot be rushed into something.  And if you don’t have that gut instinct that this is what’s best for you, don’t second guess yourself.

Attending school while working full time and graduating with honours was a great accomplishment.  What I am most proud of the most, was that my whole family was able to come to my convocation – including my dad, who missed my 2004 graduation at York University because he had to work. You are forgiven Dad! Xoxo.

Wayne Lapasa

December 31, 2017: NYE ’18

Outro

These are three highlights that I wanted to mention as this year comes to a close.  All of them are somewhat tied to digital, but more on a personal level for me.  Blogging was something I had done for five years straight…only to take a five-year break as well.  Going back to the gym was inspired from visuals I saw on Instagram and helped me refocus in that area.  And getting a post graduate certificate in social media was the icing on the cake for me.  Having that said, I just want to take this time to wish everyone a happy new year, wishing you all the best for 2018!

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