Why Taylor Swift is a Marketing Mastermind and What Businesses Can Learn

Taylor Swift has taken the globe by storm. Her recent Eras Tour broke Ticketmaster, shut down every city it’s been to (in a good way) and is expected to be the highest grossing tour of all time, with the Federal Reserve just crediting her tour with boosting the United States economy by nearly $5 billion. Generational talents come and go in the music industry, but Taylor has solidified herself among the greats by matching fandoms with the likes of legendary acts like The Beatles and Elvis. Whether you identify as a “Swiftie” or not, you cannot deny the power this young woman has on her fanbase and the loyalty she receives in return.

Full disclosure – I love Taylor Swift, like really love her, and there hasn’t been a joy or sorrow in my life that hasn’t been eloquently captured by one of her songs. And while she’s my number one artist on Spotify, I can’t help but commend the levels of marketing success and brand loyalty she has been able to achieve. From building trust and storytelling to social media mastery, Taylor and her team have nailed the art of marketing and here’s what brands can learn from them.

Pay attention to your audience:

Better yet, be obsessed with your audience. Most brands perform an audience analysis to sweep over their marketing campaign with a broad, tried and tested marketing strategy, but Taylor goes a step farther. Taylor is constantly watching and interacting with her fans online, so much so they’ve even coined a name for it called “taylurking.” This not only allows her to learn about her audience in the traditional sense, but also teaches her why her audience loves her; giving her material to capitalize on. Paying attention to her audience also creates a bond that every Swiftie can attest to… Taylor makes each fan feel special. Whether it’s a lyric, a nicely placed comment on a fan post, or a surprise gift to a dedicated fan, Taylor is constantly interacting with her audience to provide unique experiences. This builds a strong sense of community and trust within her audience that leads to unshakable brand loyalty. Engaging with your audience is a great way to establish brand loyalty, which is the ultimate marketing and brand achievement.

Use social media for good (and a little bit of evil):

Any brand worth anything is harnessing the power of social media. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and is the leading avenue for advertising. But Taylor’s social media strategy is a little more mysterious than a well-placed ad on Instagram. She focuses on the “Endgame” by creating a sense of urgency in every post. She is known for leaving clues about upcoming events in her posts, creating a sense of urgency that frankly leaves fans racing and drooling over every post. While most brands may not have the bandwidth to plan posts out for the next year (or three), keeping your audience on their toes and creating urgency is a great way to increase engagement and hopefully sales.

Be authentic and purpose driven:

This section is two-fold. The first being the younger generations that grew up with technology can see through a phony marketing campaign in seconds. Just check out our blog on Captivating Generation Z: Unleashing the Power of Authentic Content Marketing. Brands want to connect with their true audience and the only way to find that is to be your true self. Secondly, focus on a greater good outside of your brand. Taylor is the epitome of female empowerment and uses her voice to push for changes within her industry (and society in general). She has found her political voice and avidly supports the LGBTQIA+ community. Taylor using her platform for a greater good is not uncommon among artists, but she ensures every cause she supports aligns with who she is and what she believes. This means her philanthropic causes don’t feel forced or like a publicity stunt. They feel genuine to her and her brand, further adding to her authenticity. While we don’t recommend that every brand involves itself in politics, aligning your brand with an organization, charity or even standing for something that you believe in is a great way to build authenticity in the eyes of your audience.

Harness the power of partnerships:

One of the reasons Taylor has dominated the music industry is because she has rebranded and transformed through genres from country to pop, rock and even folk. There are many reasons she executed this so successfully, but a major reason was through partnerships. Taylor has written songs with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton, Kendrick Lamar, Bon Iver, Future and more. This has allowed her to tap into fan bases that expand far beyond her traditional audience. Businesses can take advantage of partnerships in the same way through various charities, organizations, brands and influencers. While brands should stay true to their main audience, reaching outside your target demographic is a great way to grow your business.

Taylor has many superpowers ranging from songwriting to innovating, but her marketing prowess should be included in this list. Her ability to authentically connect with her audience through social media and partnerships is something out of our wildest dreams. While breaking Billboard records has become a common Tuesday for Taylor, her real genius may not lie with her lyrical mastery, but rather her marketing “mastermind”.

If you need help crafting a marketing strategy to speak to your fans, don’t be afraid to reach out to us! https://okeeffepr.com/blog/

Why Your Brand Identity Is Killing You

Your brand identity is your face to the world. It is your reputation and determines whether customers trust your company.

Reputation Matters

Your brand identity is your face to the world. It is your reputation and determines whether customers trust your company, products or services. Most important, your brand is your only guarantee of future revenue.

To grasp the importance of your brand identity to future revenue, I have substituted the word ‘weak’ instead of the word ‘strong’ in these sentences:

  • Our brand identity is weak.
  • Our reputation is weak.
  • Customer trust in our products and services is weak.

I would not like to go to market if my customers perceived my company, products and services this way. When you think of brands that quickly come to mind, do you feel any are weak? Probably not. If a brand comes quickly to mind, chances are virtually 100% it’s a strong brand that is uniquely tied to a product or a service. Weak branding quickly fades into the background.

How to know if your company brand identity is weak or strong?

A strong brand is synonymous with the product or service. Example, the word Tide is immediately associated with laundry detergent, and the word Progressive with insurance. This is as true at the local level as it is on the national. In the tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, the word Frisch’s is immediately associated with fast casual dining. These are no accidents. A great deal of effort built these brands into powerhouse status. Weak brands are forgettable and unrelated to the company’s mission. If your customers or prospects don’t know what you do, then you need to aggressively rebrand.

Another key indicator of a weak brand is recognition. If your company has been in business for a while, then you should be a familiar face at networking events, conferences and business seminars. If contacts you have made in spaces key to your industry keep asking which company you’re with, this indicates you have a weak brand. The same applies to your sales process. If your sales representatives must continually explain your company and its products and services to prospects, your brand is weak.

In the digital world, business is conducted across a variety of channels. Most companies have a website and a social media presence, and engage in some form of advertising and marketing. A strong brand will harness these different channels with a consistent message, leveraging Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media with consistent content that tells their story in a meaningful way. Your website and marketing may be highly professional, but an ill-advised or juvenile social comment can undo years of reputation building. Inconsistent and infrequent messaging weakens the brand.

Your best new customer is an existing customer. Loyalty will always be the cornerstone of a successful brand. But customer loyalty alone does not grow your business. Growing your customer base with new customers is the goal. Failing to attract new customers can happen for a variety of reasons: competition, pricing, quality issues and delivery deadlines, among others. If, however, none of these issues are significant enough to hamper your ability to attract new customers, take a hard look at your brand. You may not be telling your story well.

What can I do to strengthen my brand?

A weak brand does not necessarily mean your business is dead, but it does mean the business needs some resuscitation. Even highly successful companies rebrand to freshen their image. There’s no need to sell the ranch. It’s better to spend a little bit of money to revamp a stale brand than continue to miss opportunities. Here are some basic rebranding opportunities.

The first thing that comes to mind when considering rebranding is a new, flashy logo and updated website. These things will contribute to rebranding success but are not the first order of business. O’Keeffe believes content is king. Telling your story is the very first step. No amount of flashy graphics or slick website design can take the place of creating a message that strikes the heart of what your customer want from you.

Does your messaging resonate with customers and prospects, and is it consistent across all channels? This is the absolute first thing to address. While a graphic designer may tell you to redesign your logo as the first step in rebranding, an award-winning logo will do nothing to tell your story to the right audience in the right channel at the right time with the right message. You can jazz up your logo and website later.

To ensure your messaging resonates, think of the story you want to share with the world about your company, products and services. What is your value proposition? Is yours a story of value, of timeliness, of quality, of price? Then unify your message across all platforms.

Know and target your audience. I once spoke with a prospect who sold fork lift equipment. I asked how he prospected for customers and he replied he advertised in a major league baseball stadium. I’m pretty sure of the 40,000 people in attendance at the game, maybe one or two might be interested in buying a forklift. Maybe not. Do not cast a wide net if your customers represent a small segment.

At the end of the day, a well-crafted message delivered with consistency and frequency to a targeted prospect offering a needed value will lead the way to branding success.

Want help with your brand identity? Connect with us!