Things we can learn from Taylor Swift’s marketing strategy

Things we can learn from Taylor Swift’s marketing strategy

Words: Belinda Connolly

Her record-breaking run of Australian concerts may be over, but Taylor Swift has left her fans feeling bejewelled – and marketing professionals in awe. Yes, this pop star/singer-songwriter/musician/fashion icon/ground-breaking feminist is also a marketing juggernaut, and there’s much to be learned from the Taylor Swift Strategy.

Shake It Off (AKA adapt or perish)

Being prepared to pivot in the wake of critical audience feedback and brand perception is essential for any brand. As Taylor faced excessive public scrutiny in the mid-2010s she turned her damaged rep into a narrative that spanned a hugely successful album, global tour and merch range. 

The lesson: Every brand will experience setbacks, some bigger than others, but it doesn’t have to define your brand. When a setback happens share your authentic narratives on socials and let your audience know what happened and how you are rectifying it. Your audience will appreciate the fact that you are addressing the issue and putting wrongs right.   

Changing audience sentiment also presents a great opportunity for reinvention. Taylor used this adaptation policy to embark on an entire genre shift from country to pop, with far-reaching appeal. As a business, reinvention could mean embracing social media marketing in a way that you hadn’t considered before.

Authenticity, always

Taylor’s level of stardom means that absolutely every action is met with global coverage – the highs and the lows. Taylor has remained refreshingly honest through every public ordeal, from failed relationships to losing her back catalogue of material; facing disappointment head-on and sharing her learnings along the way.  

Fans love Taylor for it, and wider audiences respect her for it. Everyone can identify with setbacks in personal and professional settings, and the loyalty that stems from that honestly pays dividends. Indeed, by re-recording her back catalogue Taylor is laughing all the way to the bank. Since 2021 it is estimated that she has earned approximately $USD20,477,600 from streams of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) alone. 

The lessons: While authenticity is important when you’re creating positive content and sharing company wins, it’s just important for the challenges (and every brand faces them!). Delays in product launches or restocks? Unexpected hiccups for an upcoming industry event? Being upfront with your audience about what is happening and what steps you’re taking to mitigate a challenging situation is far better than sweeping it under the rug and hoping it will go away – especially if those challenges are public knowledge.  

Surprise & delight

Everything Taylor does makes global headlines and operating at this level of fame means every moment is strategically planned. So, when Taylor crashed the wedding of fans Max Singer and Kenya Smith in 2016 and performed an impromptu concert, the internet went into meltdown. The groom’s sister had reached out to Taylor, explaining that their mother was dying in hospital, so a bedside ceremony was hastily arranged before she passed. The couple later held a wedding ceremony in Brant Beach, New Jersey and that’s when Taylor appeared and sang Blank Space. Quite the step up from the usual wedding singer! 

The lesson: Why would Taylor exert so much effort for a couple of fans? The answer is twofold. First – engaging with already enthusiastic and engaged audiences helps them feel nurtured and appreciated. Second – audiences (or customers) who have had a great experience with you are likely to sing from the rooftops about their positive experiences. The social proof that comes from a small action is proven to max ROI and expands reach to personal networks, where engagement and appeal for your brand is also likely to be high. And if it goes viral? Then that means reach to a much wider audience, without a paid campaign in sight!  

Build a community that supports each other

There’s no doubt that Swifties are a passionate bunch. Their fierce loyalty is rewarded with constant appreciation from Taylor herself; be it surprise appearances (as above), hosted listening parties and constant public statements of gratitude.  

Taylor’s own values are reflected strongly within her fan community. Anyone who’s attended a Tay concert knows the importance of the friendship bracelets – made by fans to swap with each other at events. That unwavering loyalty and camaraderie is the stuff that big brands dream of.  

The lesson: It’s easiest to grow a community with people who align to your values – and once you have them, there’s little that will sway their loyalty so long as they feel valued. Use your community to share messaging; encourage and reward them for their efforts to share your brand news far and wide among their own personal networks. As the community grows, so does your brand.

Keeping community in mind, surprising your audience with small but significant rewards, and remaining authentic at all times is the backbone of successful content marketing, really. Keep these things in mind and your own strategy should sparkle brighter than an Eras concert.

Want a marketing strategy that will create the same type of ground swell as a stadium full of Swifties? Speak to us today!

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