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Nicki Minaj vs. Cardi B

Most of the time when you think of Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, you think Music, Women in Hip Hop, Beefs, and Trends… But, when I think of them, I think of “character” vs. authenticity, and the influence their brands have on society particularly young girls. And exactly what message they are sending?

Nicki Minaj stepped into the game as a “character” becoming a life size Barbie; the toy, coined on being perfect.  She altered her appearance, used a stage name, adopted pink as her color, created a voice that authenticates her character and created “Nicki Minaj”.  As someone who is building and managing a brand, I’m constantly studying other brands. I must say, Nicki and her team have done a phenomenal job creating and establishing her brand.  They committed to it and executed it to perfection. Every touch point communicated urban, hip hop Barbie.  They played to their target audience and millions of girls around the world bought in.   In a time when being perfect and celebrity was the name of the game Nicki Minaj nailed it.

Cardi B on the other hand came in as CARDI B.  Instead of playing a role or creating a character, she came in as herself.  Proving the power in being original and authentic.  Yes, she may amplify her personality by adding a little sauce on it for the cameras and audience, but let’s be honest, sometimes a little extra is needed to grab the audience’s attention.  She is also demonstrating that being perfect is not necessary to succeed and/or be a successful brand.  She shows the world her imperfect self and the world accepts her with open arms; loving and hanging on her every word, post, and idea…  Fans are drawn to her because the time of being the perfect and mysterious celebrity is over, it’s become about relatability and originality.  Fans want to feel connected and be able to relate to entertainers, public figures, athletes (basically all types of “celebrities”).  Cardi B is leading the charge in the new world order and inspiring others to do the same.  She is empowering us to feel comfortable in our own skin, crooked smile and all.

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Nike’s 30th Anniversary Branding Efforts #Justdoit!

Nike’s 30th Anniversary Campaign has caused shock waves throughout the Twittersphere, headlines, and cash registers. Nike was met with both blow back and support for naming Colin Kaepernick the face of their 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. People are reacting emotionally to what Colin did; but this campaign is not about that… Embracing more than any one single act, Nike is using this opportunity to stand with and support their iconic athletes who truly communicate what their brand is all about.

Nike is strength, power and endurance. And they’re willing to be a little provocative and risky in communicating their message. This time, their Marquee Athletes and what they stand for have perfectly aligned, and Nike is bold enough to market it. Kaepernick’s courage to “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” embodies their iconic message. He just did it… Another major Nike athlete, Serena Williams stepped onto the court in her empowering shero costume because it made her feel like a superhero, and then dedicated the outfit to new mothers, the real sheros. Nike showed their support and belief in Serena with the “you can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpower.” This couldn’t come at a better time as she is in finals of the US OPEN. Serena is just doing it! Though the actions of these athletes are different, one common thread is that they are rebellious, determined, courageous, memorable, and disruptive. Twenty years from now you will remember Kaepernick and Serena, and everyone will remember Nike’s purpose-driven campaign that marked 30 years for JUST DO IT!