Case Study: Living on the Edges with Post Malone

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement or criticism of Post Malone in anyway. It is purely a recognition of his talent and ability to stand out amongst the noise. An analysis as an artist to be different. As they say in the hip-hop business, Real Recognize Real.

Reasons to Pay Attention to Post Malone:

  1. 2 Youtube Videos with over 400 Million views
  2. Total Spotify Plays: Over 1 Billion
  3. Massive spike to fame
  4. He’s 22 years old
  5. Congratulations” went 5 times platinum

As a marketer, what do I have to gain from analyzing Post Malone’s rise to stardom? Well, what question does he know how to answer better than most? How do you get people to pay attention to you?

I know of two options:

  1. Act randomly and wildly
  2. Act with creative intention

A person can be creative by coming downstairs with socks in his or her mouth – but what’s the point? There must be a reason for your creativity, and your creativity should never detract from your message.

– Leo Burnett

If we are creative with a purpose, we can create something different enough. Just enough from what we are used to consuming that we cannot help but pay attention. We have to check it out because it seems almost unbelievable. Then we have to talk about it to our friends because “you won’t believe what I stumbled across”.

Post Malone’s music is breaking into new flavors of rap, pop, and rock. It is exactly what it should be for a 22 year old with a wide range of musical tastes and for someone who keeps his artistic integrity knowing full well the criticism coming his way. He doesn’t refer to himself as a rapper and aspires to release a country music album by the time he is 40. That mentality is thinking different and will only help draw more eyes to his work.

We talk about what is different because talking about the same old things gets boring for everyone. We resort to talking about weather when neither party has anything interesting left to say or they are too scared of judgement for bringing up a possibly strange subject. We talk about what is different because it is exciting and new.

Be different. Be exciting and new. Don’t be like the weather: a mediocre filler where people have to fake their excitement when talking about it.

Post Malone made the decision to be different from a young age. He knew his path would be filled with criticism and took it in stride. When you have people who adore you, you will also have people who will criticize you. But the critic only judges because they are too scared to create themselves.

“I was an individual, and people don’t like that. People don’t like when you’re different from them and go against the norm. Only you can appreciate the genius that is you. And everybody has a genius in themselves. Because at the end of the day, you’re not going to die with the feelings of these people, you’re going to die yourself. So you just have to love who you are and do what you want to do. Whatever makes you happy, rock on.”

Post Malone 

By taking one look at Post Malone, you cannot put him in a box. He is an individual. One that we have never seen the makings of before. Maybe by judging the book by its cover, you won’t give him a second chance. But he is on the creative edge of music right now and is pushing it to new limits. Regardless of where he pushes it, people are turning their heads and giving him a listen.

People look to the edges for anything new in their life. With so many people on the planet and access to any piece of content currently available (thanks to the internet) there is so much noise. Getting in line and following everyone else no longer works. Being conventional is now a risk. Find the edges of the industry you are in and stake your claim. Command people’s attention. Do so not from a place of attention seeking, but because you know people’s attention is the first step in building a relationship.

So how do you live on the edge of what we know? By knowing who you are and living up to your true self. Be a kingdom of one. Have people refer and brag about you by name. Be or do something so remarkable people can’t help but to talk about it. Something we have never seen before.

I am interested in imperfections, quirkiness, insanity, unpredictability. That’s what we really pay attention to anyway. We don’t talk about planes flying; we talk about them crashing.

– Tibor Kalman

When was the last time someone talked to you about their laundry detergent? I can safely say you don’t remember. And if you do, it is most likely because that detergent was doing something different.

Getting attention is one thing, but doing something with it is another. Right now Post Malone has the attention of millions of people from many walks of life. He has a great opportunity in what he chooses to do with it. So far what we can learn from him is how to get attention in the first place. Because without people’s attention, you cannot get them to listen to your story.

cover photo: Brandon Artis Photography

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