What’s in A Name: Ye, a mini-case study in personal branding

If you haven’t heard, Kanye West has legally changed his name to Ye. This is a prime example of the growth of a personal brand. There are a few different layers to this move ( like personal reasons and publicity) but let’s focus on the branding aspect and how this could lead to more money for him.

This name change is a case study in brand alignment and authenticity. When Ye started, he was a rapper - that was his identity. Today his brand has grown well beyond that to include a fashion and sneaker company. As a result, his audience today doesn’t necessarily associate him with “Kanye West,” the rapper.

For years he has been referring to himself as “Ye” (it was even the title of his 2018 album) so legally changing his name feels almost like a formality. But he is announcing to the world that Ye is more aligned with his identity and how his audience views him. 

This move shows authenticity, which will grow brand loyalty and brand alignment. This, in turn,  increases his brand recognition, especially as he develops his branded house. That authenticity and increased recognition are precisely how this can be seen as a money-making move. 


How can this be a lesson as you build your own personal coaching brand? Focusing on being authentic to who you are is vital to building strong brand equity. Your audience is savvy and can tell if something feels off. Are you living up to the values you say are important to you? Is your messaging aligned with your ideal audience? Are your visuals reinforcing the rest of your brand or have you outgrown it? If you realize any of these elements are not authentic to who you are, it may be time for a rebrand.

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