Rapper and entrepreneur Sean Combs has developed an entire portfolio of business interests over the course of his illustrious career. The New York native would work his way up from an intern role at Uptown Records in the 1980s before amassing upwards of $740m in net worth in 2019.
The commercial strategy of Sean Combs has not always been so straightforward and even sometimes as confusing as his stage names from P Diddy and Puff Daddy to Puffy and just plain Diddy. Yet it would be his passion and skill within the hip-hop scene that would see Combs rise to new levels and pave the way forward for East Coast rappers to emulate in the years to come.
The bread and butter commercial interests for Sean Combs always remained within music. As the founder of Bad Boy Records, the artist has been in control of the content he creates and promotes internally. This would feature albums that have gone gold and platinum through No Way Out in 1997, Forever in 1999, The Saga Continues… in 2001 and Press Play in 2006. Solo projects have not stopped Combs from joining collaborative hip-hop productions through guest appearances and even as a producer behind the scenes.
To build the brand of Sean Combs, acting has become a staple for the American entertainer. This would see the artist play a role in Monster’s Ball, Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power, Get Him to the Greek, I’m Still Here and Draft Day. These ventures were still considered side projects as Combs collected a string of Grammy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards.
With Bad Boy Records being home to a home of hip-hop artists for Sean Combs to market to a wider audience, he would expand his business interests to other fields. The sportswear apparel line Sean John would launch in 1999, building connections with major retailers that earn upwards of $500m each year. That would be the basis for another purchase in the clothing industry courtesy of Enyce in 2008, grabbing the enterprise for a cheap $20m price tag.
To create that business concept from the ground up, he knew that his marketing credentials were a key asset. If that was another skillset that was part of his repertoire, why not start a marketing organization as well? This is where Blue Flame Marketing Agency was created, connecting with the likes of Universal Pictures and Fox Searchlight as high-end clientele.
The turn of the 2010s decade saw an explosion in reality television shows geared towards the teen demographic. Sean Combs would be one who took advantage of this trend, designing Revolt TV in association with Comcast in 2013 that would focus on this type of content, offering a healthy dose of competition for MTV in this marketplace.
East Coast rappers love their drink labels and in true Sean Combs fashion, he would have to be at the forefront of a new creation. This would emerge in the form of Ciroc Vodka in 2007 where Diddy would be a brand ambassador and investor as well as a 50% stake in Deleon Tequila. It was the perfect level of brand alignment that merged his nightclub and entertainment persona through these drink brands.
Sean Combs has never been shy to take a gamble and take the good with the bad over the course of his stellar career. As far as he sees it, no one can achieve success without experiencing failure, but his adaptability and instinct for a successful commercial business project has given him the tools to amass an incredible fortune. It is indicative of his savvy across a range of different sectors.