NEW! Listen to article

Many brands turn to PR when they want to announce a new collaboration, product, or service, but, by far, the most successful use their PR strategy around the clock.

That level of promotion requires unique dedication and expertise. And as an admitted pop-culture fanatic, I frequently draw inspiration from my favorite examples of such PR prowess in the entertainment industry.

I've been a dedicated Swiftie ever since her first album came out in 2006. Today, however, my interest in Taylor Swift has expanded beyond her music. Her public relations campaign spans decades and comprises core elements any brand would do well to replicate.

You won't go wrong taking a page from Taylor Swift's public relations playbook—even if you aren't a global star or lifestyle company.

Taylor Swift uses PR to tell her story

Your brand's PR strategy will map out the way you share your continuing story. It will lay the groundwork for your plan to communicate and interact with your audience in a genuine and authentic way.

The key to a successful PR strategy is to present a narrative that strikes a chord with your target audience.

Swift's skill as a storyteller shines through in every aspect of her public relations. Even her songwriting plays an active role in developing her image and speaking with her audience. And even though every PR move she makes is deliberate, she maintains an authentic tone.

The result is a fan base that cares deeply about her and the stories she shares.

Taylor Swift's PR strategy fosters engagement and connection

A public relations strategy is an ongoing endeavor, not a quick fix. It's a bigger-picture initiative in which all its pieces need to be moved strategically, in support of the broader narrative or story of the brand.

Your brand can use each chapter in your story to engage with your audience as you build trust, open new lines of contact, and provide useful information. The best PR approach is proactive: If you have the opportunity to reach out to and interact with your target market in person or online, by all means do.

Swift and her crew work hard to keep her fans engaged by including hidden Easter eggs in her social media postings, clothes, music videos, and even song lyrics. For instance, in the music video for "I Can See You," she hid Easter eggs, suggesting she would announce the re-recording of her album "1989." A road sign reading "I-9 89 TV" piqued fans' interest in that upcoming album and paved the way for Swift's unveiling of it.

With such fun messages, Swift shows supporters that she cares about them as much as they care about her.

Taylor Swift's PR strategy emphasizes consistent branding

Maintaining consistent branding across all platforms is crucial to winning over any target demographic. Your audience's trust grows if you remain genuine and steadfast in how you present yourself.

As someone who saw Taylor Swift on both the Speak Now World Tour and The Eras Tour, I feel privileged to watch her brand remain strong throughout her career while evolving to reflect the maturation of both Swift and her fan base.

Her brand has been consistent in that she has never wavered from being open, honest, and risky in her art, but that brand has otherwise continued to evolve so that it reflects the stages of her life and the person she has become.

Swift has built a reputation for adapting branding to fit her transition into the styles of various musical genres. Throughout each shift, she consistently retains her unique artistic voice. She has even used her musical "eras" as elements of her PR strategy, employing each one to launch herself into a new musical style or aesthetic.

Swift avoids confining herself artistically by embracing the various "eras" of her career. To keep her branding aesthetic consistent, she employs the color that best represents the spirit and message of each new era's record, such as red for "Red (Taylor's Version)" or black for "Reputation."

Taylor Swift's PR strategy is authentic

It's crucial that your brand maintain authenticity, openness, and humanity as you tell your story. Because your audience members want to know that their value rises above your bottom line.

Swift has allowed her music to speak for itself, and her open and honest songwriting has always been the backbone of her public relations campaign. "Reputation" is a prime example of Swift's allowing her music to shape her narrative and brand amid controversy.

In 2016, Kanye West released the song "Famous," which included derogatory lyrics about Swift. Though Swift did not approve those lyrics, West claimed she did. He released an edited phone call to back his claim, and he encouraged the Twitter trend #TaylorSwiftIsASnake and #TaylorSwiftIsCanceled.

In response, Swift deleted everything off social media, completely rebranded, and released "Reputation" in 2017. The album embraced elements of the criticism aimed at her, and used them to her benefit: Snakes were an overarching theme throughout that era, and Swift told her story on her own terms.

* * *

Building a recognizable brand takes time. Your ongoing storytelling will involve planning, creativity, consistency, proactive interaction, and the ability to adapt.

Swift's Eras Tour demonstrates that she and her followers are "in this together." The tour serves as a tribute to the fans who helped her re-record her older material, a celebration of her accomplishments throughout the years, and a statement that the work belongs both to her and her followers.

In short, it is a perfect illustration of the power of genuine, long-term, and persistent public relations.

More Resources on PR Strategy & Brand Storytelling

How to Tie Media Pitches to Pop Culture

Top 5 Social Media PR Tips for B2B Brands

Seven Ways to Show Up Human in Your PR and Marketing Efforts

Four Traits That Turn Your Brand Story From Meh to Marvelous

Enter your email address to continue reading

Taylor Swift's PR Strategy: Lessons for Any Brand

Don't's free!

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.

Did you like this article?
Know someone who would enjoy it too? Share with your friends, free of charge, no sign up required! Simply share this link, and they will get instant access…
  • Copy Link

  • Email

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Pinterest

  • Linkedin

  • AI


image of Anna Kate Womack

Anna Kate Womack is a publicist at public relations firm Otter PR.

LinkedIn: Anna Kate Womack