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Taylor Swift: Pop Star or Marketing Genius?

By Casey Schultz on Aug 4, 2020

Ever since Taylor released her latest album a few short weeks ago, it’s all anybody can talk (or sing) about. With no prior clues that she was deep in songwriting for the past year and beyond, she shocked fans when she announced that she was releasing Folklore. Based off what I have gathered from the album thus far, there are five key takeaways that I have spun into what makes Taylor a marketing genius and why people should listen up.

1.  Include emotion in your messaging.

Taylor has always made her listeners feel like they can relate to what she has to say, because she laces pieces of her personal life into her songs. This not only helps her grow her fan following, but it also helps keep her existing listeners. Allowing just enough detail into the way she sings, talks and runs her social media, gives fans a taste of what gives Taylor her sparkle and makes her so admirable.

Marketing Genius: Adding a touch of a human element into your marketing will help people to understand your message more and encourage followers, competition and potential new hires to want to know more. When you have a relatable aspect to your messaging, it helps new and existing customers to feel like they can trust you since they have a connection with what you are saying. When you incorporate imagery of on-the-job interaction between team members, it elicits a desire to want to be a part of that Camaraderie. When you incorporate imagery amongst on-brand graphics within your social feeds, on your website and especially on overview brand videos, it gives outsiders the opportunity to learn more about what makes your company unique and successful from the inside out!

2.  Evolve your message.

That is one of the things that Taylor has done best over the years, we’ve grown up with her, and her lyrics include a message of where she is in her current age. She’s evolved her message to reflect her maturity and growth. If she hadn’t evolved her messaging in her lyrics, we would still be singing about our hopefulness that our high school crush would fall in love with us, even though we’re 10+ years past that stage in our lives. Right?

Marketing Genius: It is an absolute must to show your progress and growth over the years. Within your brand, you need to modernize your look, evolve your messaging and refresh your logo. At Caliber, we always say that if your logo has been around for 10+ years, it’s time for a change. You can’t keep up with the Jones’ in all aspects of life, but when it comes to your brand, it is best to make sure you are up to speed with your competition and your customer/consumer base would be more than happy to rock your merch. 

3. Create a cult following that will support you and pick up on your message for an organic share.

Taylor showcases this best with her ride-or-die fans – aka Swifties. With every album she puts out, her fans will surely learn every word to each song, naturally share their love of the new music on their personal social profiles and tell everyone around about what a musical marvel she is. When fans naturally share via social media or word of mouth, it creates an organic boost in messaging. As the friends and family members of the Swifties start to inquire more about the songs and take a listen for themselves, it further promotes Taylor, essentially free of charge. 

Marketing Genius: It’s always best to have a small group of dedicated followers than a mass audience of semi-interested individuals. When you have a following that religiously will shop at your store, utilize your product or service, and organically share your business with friends and family, you will see far more interaction with your ads and marketing efforts. The likes and shares on social, gets you a boost in front of a new set of followers that have similar interests as your cult fanbase. Having a marketing team on hand ensures that when your new followers head to learn more about your business on your website or social media, they will be welcomed with a modern logo, a killer aesthetic, and up-to-date information.

4. Stay quiet and then blow people’s expectations.

Taylor threw us all off when suddenly she had an album dropping at midnight. However, when she did release it, the album was full of 16 amazing songs that blew everyone away. She perfected the album so there was nothing left unthought, unsaid or completed halfway. She and her team had an internal timeline they were working towards and kicked it off to the public in perfect timing and without a hitch. The way every kickoff and launch are expected to go.

Marketing Genius: Every element of marketing takes time to plan and develop. Once the new business, brand or big news is ready to be revealed, there needs to be a big kickoff to fans and followers. When planned right, all the potential what-ifs are thought through and the big reveal goes off without a hitch. Oftentimes, this pre-planning work is the most intensive, while also being the most crucial part of a launch. If information is leaked or revealed before it’s ready, it steals the thunder and shock value of doing the big launch correctly. A marketing agency thinks of all the big projects and timelines that need to be completed prior to a launch, while also considering and designing the fun swag, graphics and messaging that will be what enhances the official launch for followers.

5. Making us all feel comfortable in a cardigan again since summer is basically over. 

Taylor sent out a cardigan to some friends and influencers to show off on social media, that was merch to work in unison with one of the main songs from the album, Cardigan. *mic drop* Social media channels were flooded with influencers wearing their gifted new duds. Just as fans were seeing this cute sweater on their feeds, it is mentioned that Taylor has the same cream cable knit sweaters for her fans ready for purchase as well. *mic drop* That’s how you do it folks.

On my final note, summer is soon coming to an end and that is very upsetting seeing as it is my favorite season of the year. But I do love the coziness that a cardigan provides in the fall. I also love when clients use merch in their launches, because it gives followers, employees and their favorite marketing AE a chance to show off some new digs that sport a new logo, event, or brand. It gives outsiders a chance to ask what it is and gives your company an additional opportunity to have your name mentioned organically by your employees or top fans.

Taylor, reach out to Caliber when you’re ready to try out the marketing agency life and dim the lights on your singing career. Clearly you’re well-versed in what it takes for great self-promotion and we all could learn a thing or two about how to sing on-key.