Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, we’re obsessed with Taylor Swift – and who wouldn’t be? On top of being a fantastic songwriter and an incredible performer, Swift is also a comms genius. Her Eras Tour is already set to be the highest-grossing tour of all time, netting $1 billion in ticket sales – and each album drop seems to break new records (the previous record often being set by none other than Taylor Swift herself).
There’s no doubt that Taylor Swift has built a brand that’s transformed the world of music, fan interaction and storytelling. With reams of positive coverage to her name, an enviable Share of Voice, and NPS scores through the roof, what PR lessons can be gleaned from Swift’s enduring success?
As a gifted storyteller herself, Swift no doubt understands the importance of Better Stories, Bigger Impact. She’s successfully built a compelling narrative around her ongoing battle to reclaim her masters from her old record company, explaining to her dedicated audience her wish to own her own music after her original masters were sold to a private equity company. This has resulted in record-breaking streams for her “Taylor’s Version” albums – even though they are faithful re-recordings of existing albums. It’s the strength of the story that has compelled so many fans to listen to music that’s often over a decade old as if it were brand new.
Similarly, B2B companies must craft an effective brand narrative for their customers and prospects. This could be the story of how the company was founded, or a distillation of its on-going purpose: either way, customers and prospects need to understand your motivations and buy into your brand.
One example is working with our client Autodesk – a leading global brand in areas such as architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing – to effectively communicate its sustainability message, a key pillar of its brand narrative. We developed a hero story around its work with Coral Maker, which was developing technology for large-scale coral reef restoration – ultimately resulting in a dedicated segment on BBC Click.
Similarly, our client Onfido knew it had to elevate its storytelling from raising awareness around its funding rounds to shaping the narrative around ID verification. This bolder approach resulted in thought leadership appearing in the Harvard Business Review.
Performing the same show night after night across a period of two years is no mean feat, not just because of the stamina needed, but from a PR perspective as well: Swift has consistently kept herself in the headlines without appearing stale. By strategically planning album drops – with announcements often being made mid-concert for added excitement and exclusivity – Swift has been able to create news hooks and keep her brand fresh.
As comms professionals, we all understand the need to maximise results from existing assets. When building a marketing plan, brands must consider how they can keep their narrative innovative and newsworthy. The media landscape is cut-throat, and brands need to be more creative than ever before to get journalists’ attention and get cut-through. As an example, Brands2Life worked with Pragmatic Semiconductor to create Christmas baubles filled with thousands of glittery semiconductor chips to send out to journalists – ultimately resulting in hero coverage in the Financial Times. (We’re sure Taylor Swift, no stranger to bedazzling herself, would be proud.)
The Love Story between Taylor Swift and her fans is the root of her success. So-called ‘Swifties’ are willing to spend hundreds if not thousands on concert tickets, music and merchandise, emboldened by the community they proudly represent.
Crucially, the relationship between Taylor Swift and her legions of fans is not a one-way transaction. Whether it is an ‘Easter Egg hunt’ to work out the name of a new single, or being prioritised for tickets following an album sale, fans feel rewarded for their dedication.
This is something that can be emulated for technology brands. Your customers are your fans, but loyalty can falter if they do not feel valued. With such fierce competition it is important to build a two-way relationship where you demonstrate expertise, honesty and an authentic brand purpose that customers can get behind. This can range from creating a literal community from the ground up – such as Qlik’s Data Literacy Project – to working with influencers to highlight issues close to your audience’s heart, like we did with LinkedIn’s Changemakers.
Swift is no stranger to using facts and figures to dominate media and charts alike. From ‘Swiftonomics’ to the Forbes Rich List, Swift intelligently uses data to supercharge stories and demonstrate momentum. Every album launch is punctuated with statistics on how its streaming performance compares to other artists, or even Swift’s historic discography. Her team intelligently tracks all results across relevant platforms, including those in their relative infancy such as TikTok.
Tracking growth and milestones allows a story to translate across different mediums, from entertainment media to business and finance. Publications such as CNN and The Financial Times might not cover chart positions, but a billion dollar tour is big news!
This same blueprint can be applied to B2B technology brands to build a stronger narrative. The world is driven by data, and knowing how to capture and effectively use it can be what gets media cut through. Communicating industry trends and how they impact your brand or customers is more compelling when you have data behind it. We did this recently with our client Adyen which resulted in coverage in the Evening Standard and The Independent. Numbers speak volumes!
Ultimately, whether you are building a campaign for Taylor Swift or a tech brand, we are here to help you build the right strategy that will transform your brand. At Brands2Life, we use our proprietary LIFE project framework to ensure we’ve moving towards action and outcome.