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Monday, May 20, 2024

6 PR lessons from Taylor Swift

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Having a solid network of like-minded people who support your brand…is a surefire way for sustainability and to continue being relevant

Global icon and music industry powerhouse Taylor Swift’ Eras Tour is now the highest-grossing tour of all time with more than $1 billion for the 60 shows last year. And she’s only halfway through the tour.

She has overtaken with remarkable speed the previous record held by Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour which earned a gross of $939 million for 328 shows.

In October last year, the 34-year old Swift’s net worth was placed at $1.1 billion, making her the first billionaire to reach that mark based on her songs and performances.

Aside from her charisma and musical brilliance, Swift’s journey from a budding country artist to a music juggernaut is replete with gems of marketing and public relations lessons that brands should take note.

Some are:

1. “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play”—Swift’s ability to ignore negativity and focus on her craft teaches us to stay resilient in face of criticism.

Embracing challenges and persistently pursuing goals resonate well in the marketing world.

2. “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes” —Taylor’s transparency and swift responses to controversies demonstrate the significance of honesty and accountability in maintaining her positive brand image which is exactly how risk and crisis practitioners should address special situations — promptly and effectively.

3. “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”—By acknowledging detractors but not letting them define her, Taylor shows the power of staying true to oneself.

Similarly, brands should stay authentic as this will help them build genuine connection with their audiences, fostering brand loyalty and trust. Authenticity isn’t something that even the smartest PR expert could not fake.

4. “We never go out of style”—Swift’s ability to reinvent her image while staying true to her essence reminds us of the importance of evolving with the times.

She’s brilliant in knowing that to stay relevant, she needs to do constant reinvention like how she uses each new album as an opportunity for her to rebrand herself.

She’s also known to release different versions of her songs and in multiple platforms.

In PR, it is crucial to constantly update your tool kit based on changing market trends and customer preferences for long-term success and sustainability.

5. “Shake it off, I shake it off”—Swift’s resilience in the face of adversity showcases the value of having a positive attitude and moving forward despite setbacks.

In PR, maintaining composure during crises and swiftly pivoting to mitigate damages can help safeguard a brand’s reputation and credibility.

6. “So, make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it.”—Swift has masterfully created a massive fandom—the Swifties, which, according to a survey of the Morning Consult, is 53 percent of the entire US population.

She has more than 500 million followers on social media and an estimated 100 million dedicated, hardcore Swifties globally.

But what Swift does differently is that she elevates her community of Swifties into her “friends” who she shares her joys and setbacks with and are given access to her “secrets” through cryptic messages in her songs.

Swifties love to decode Swift’s “hidden messages” and they’re made to feel like they’re part of Taylor’s inner circle.

Remember the time when Swift invited hundreds of her fans into her many homes for her 1989 Secret Sessions where she gave them first dibs to her 1989 album? Simply brilliant.

In PR and brands, building a community is very important.

Having a solid network of like-minded people who believe and support your brand and help share your narrative is a surefire way for sustainability and to continue being relevant.

I love Taylor’s songs, most of them introduced to me by my Swiftie daughter, Minka.

I agree that she’s one of the biggest stars the music industry has produced.

But her brilliance in managing her personal brand, that’s extraordinary, and I am absolutely a big fan.

(The author is a seasoned PR and marketing practitioner with more than 30 years of consolidated experience in journalism and public relations.)


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