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How to Build a Brand Empire Like Nicki Minaj

Whether you know her from her quadruple-platinum album, her Pink Friday fragrance, her M.A.C. lipstick, her OPI nail polish, or as a judge on “American Idol,” chances are you’ve heard of Nicki Minaj by now. She is taking the world by storm, and by no coincidence.

While her multi-colored wigs, outrageous outfits, and wild alter-egos might make Nicki seem bizarre and crazy, her every move is a calculated step in her plan to achieve a world dominating empire. Don’t let her wacky style fool you — Nicki Minaj is a smart, savvy business woman, and here are some quotes straight from the Barbie herself to prove it.

Have a plan

“Everything I do, I do with business in my head. If you’re not savvy, this business will eat you alive. A lot of people see it as a big party. And when that party is up, what are you going to do?” – Nicki Minaj in an interview with ‘The Guardian’

Whether she’s collaborating with other artists on a new track or planning a new clothing line, Nicki Minaj has her career planned out to a T. Everything in her life and career so far has all been a part of her plan to take over the hip-hop industry.

nicki minaj1Set your goals high

My goal in the beginning was to buy my mother a house. Now I realize, Okay, if I really focus and become a key player in business, then I can build an empire. I’m thinking of a legacy that I can be proud of and wealth that my grandchildren can use to go to college. So world domination— in terms of providing for my family— is absolutely my goal.” – Nicki Minaj in an interview with ‘Elle’ magazine

No matter what business venture you are pursuing, don’t settle to be good. Be the best! Yes, it’s true that setting specific, attainable short-term goals is the only way to actually achieve them, but you should have a vision for your future and reach for the stars just like Nicki.

Protect your brand

“I just have to take control of my brand because longevity is very important to me, and I wasn’t just going to please a couple of people then look back, and think ‘Wow, what did I just do to myself?’” – Nicki Minaj in an interview with ‘Elle’ magazine

When Nicki broke into the hip-hop business she wasn’t just looking for her 15 minutes of fame. She’s in this industry for the long haul and she understands the impact that any wrong move can have on her brand. She made a point early in her career to not collaborate on tracks with artists who only wanted her to sing sexually explicit lyrics. She knew that she had to be in charge of her brand’s image and put her best foot forward as she was just starting out in the business. Now that she’s achieved superstardom she’s more free to let her freak flag fly.

Nicki Minaj's fragrance, Pink Friday

Nicki Minaj’s fragrance, Pink Friday

Be involved in every aspect of your brand

“The fragrance people wanted to choke me toward the end, but I’m hands on with every single thing that has my name attached to it. … My lawyer gives the same speech to everyone who wants to do business with me now, … ‘Nicki is not one of those artists who allow her representatives to make descisions for her.’” – Nicki Minaj in the April 2013 issue of ‘Elle’ magazine

Nicki Minaj was involved in the production of her fragrance from concept to conclusion. She knew that the fragrance would reflect on her brand, so she wanted everything about Pink Friday to capture her style. Her next business venture is a clothing line for K-mart, and she’s said that she chose to partner with K-mart specifically so that she could make stylish, but affordable clothing for her fans, or “Barbz” as she lovingly calls them.

Demand respect

“My advice to women in general: Even if you’re doing a nine-to-five job, treat yourself like a boss. Not arrogant, but be sure of what you want— and don’t allow people to run anything for you without your knowledge. You want everyone to know, Okay, I can’t play games with her. I have to do right by this woman.” – Nicki Minaj in an interview with ‘Elle’ magazine

This is probably the best advice Nicki has to offer, especially for female entrepreneurs. But for anyone just starting out in any industry, it’s hard to be taken seriously. As a newcomer it’s crucial to command respect by being confident and speaking your mind. They always say treat others how you’d like to be treated, but it’s important to treat yourself how you want to be treated, too – like a boss!

Photos of Nicki Minaj, I Am Still Music Tour 2011Be fearlessly unique

“Just go for it! Stop limiting yourself! And that’s a great feeling. It’s a great feeling to not box yourself into anyone’s limitations or ideas or judgments.” – Nicki Minaj in an interview with ‘The Guardian’

If anyone can prove that it’s crucial to be unique, it’s Nicki Minaj. She has a style and sound unlike anyone else, and that’s exactly what she needed in order to break into the business. Your brand isn’t going to go anywhere if you simply copy everyone else. You can’t be afraid to break the mold and forge your own path. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t limit yourself to what has already been done before.

Never give up

When asked if she had any advice for struggling artists, Nicki Minaj stated simply, “Your victory is right around the corner. Never give up.”

Nicki Minaj faced plenty of trials and tribulations on her way to superstardom. If she had given up after her mixtapes were rejected from thousands of producers, she’d never be where she is now. So if you want your brand to be successful, you have to fight for it tooth and nail.

Still a little skeptical of Nicki Minaj being a good role model? Then this video of Nicki Minaj meeting her biggest fans Sophia Grace and Rosie on Ellen is a must-see.

What do you think? Which of these tips is most useful for you? Are there any other tips you think we can learn from Nicki Minaj? Sound off in the comments below!

Expand Your Brand!

Photos courtesy of carnivalridexx and NRK P3, and TheMusic.FM.


Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Serenity

    I think I got a cavity from watching that video!!!! So sweet! I have always loved Nicki. I know she can be an acquired taste for some, but I respect where she came from and the fact that she has built her empire brick by brick with her own two hands! I wish my better half could see that too! Oh well, great post about her, you nailed it!

  2. Kurt Vor Broker

    Alright Jenna you achieved the impossible and actually made me like Niki Minaj a little bit. The Ellen clip is really sweet. I can’t wait for those girls’ parents trying to explain to their sweet innocent daughters what “Minaj” is short for.

  3. Roxanne Krause

    LOVED this write up. I’m a brand junkie. best bit for – “Protecting your brand” – vital for every business, no matter how big or small.

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