Say what you will about her music, persona, or awards-show grooving... Taylor Swift is a marketing genius. From product launches and rebrands to borrowed equity and social media domination, the playbook of the 25-year-old recording artist reads like a Strategy 101 textbook.
Legions of loyal fans believe she is approachable, sincere, and authentic. The media willingly spreads that message. Celebrities clamor to be part of her posse, eager to capitalize on a Swiftian halo effect.
She is an ideal example of the power of earned media and social reach. Her label may toss cash at paid ads, but by and large Swift grinds out her coverage the old fashioned way: She earns it. And, because of that, she reaps insane ROI through the message amplification of others.
Below are five lessons from this country-turned-pop star that you can apply to your brand.
1. Be willing to reinvent yourself
Good brands never stand still: They adapt to changing environments, retelling their story in ways that keep pace with the expectations of their market.
Swift's early country hits were rooted in boy-crazy romance, enabling her to connect with her tween and teen fans. But when that narrative turned negative (she's dumped, clingy, pathetic), Swift flipped the script and released the song (and video) "Blank Space" on her crossover-to-pop album "1989."
Swift shunned victim status, positioning herself as the dumper, not the dumpee—which allowed an aging fan base to reinterpret her brand. Swift embraced the negative and laughed at herself, and she was rewarded with a No. 1 hit.
Katie L. Fetting is VP, creative director of TeamWorks Media and a digital marketing professional specializing in creative strategy. She has over a decade of experience in marketing, journalism, and the entertainment business, building brands via attention-getting content strategies and unique brand positioning.
LinkedIn: Katie L. Fetting