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Three Takeaways for Marketers From the Repositioning of Brand Taylor Swift

by Katie L. Fetting  |  
November 16, 2017

Taylor Swift is dead. Long live Taylor Swift.

So much for shaking it off. After Taylor Swift's initial foray into "official" pop, 2014's earworm-infested "1989," it seems the haters have triumphed, leading everyone's favorite girl "on the bleachers" to embrace her inner mean girl.

At least, that would be the pop psychology take. Many of us in marketing, however, recognize Ms. Swift to be a cunning, calculating positioning savant, and the new, edgy, and angry Taylor is nothing but a brand refresh.

But before I get to the three takeaways for your brand, here's a little catch-up for those of you who don't live and die by her Fourth of July parties.

Act I: Erosion

The two years that followed the drop of "1989" were a roller coaster for the Swift brand. High points included earning Billboard's recognition for the best-selling album of 2014, a song-for-song homage recorded by indie darling Ryan Adams, a victory over Apple regarding streaming rights, and an Album of the Year Grammy.

But then... the fall. Kimye recordings. Spats with Katy over Twitter. Hiddleston "I ? TS" T-shirts. Criticism for failing to back a presidential candidate. A music video that included more supermodels than a Prêt-à-Porter runway.

It all seemed incredibly off-brand for someone who positioned herself as the lovestruck girl next door, cuddler of cats and BFF of her parents. I mean, this was the same girl who delivered Christmas presents in person to geeky uberfans, right?

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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.

Twitter: @KatieLFetting

LinkedIn: Katie L. Fetting

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  • by Odile Streed Mon Dec 18, 2017 via web

    Interesting article on the difficult process of repositioning.
    Odile Streed

  • by Darby Mon Jan 29, 2018 via web

    This is a very interesting article! Taylor definitely took a different approach on marketing her brand, and it worked for her. I am currently studying how to market a specific brand: sports teams. Although both Taylor Swift and sports teams are in the media and within the entertainment industry, they may have a different take on marketing their brands. However, it would be interesting to see a specific sports team market their brand just how Taylor did. What would you recommend in this instance? She had a clever way of building herself up, tearing herself down, and coming in for the ultimate surprise when releasing a new album. How would a sports team go about doing this for their brand?

  • by Ashraf Wed Jan 31, 2018 via web

    Very detailed and informative article, thank you for sharing.

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