Skip to main content

After months of anticipation for a couple of the team here at Target (me included), the arrival of June saw the UK landing of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour.

Let me tell you, she did not disappoint and having officially triggered earthquake readings, we should all take some time to appreciate the seismic impact she has on her audience.

Whether you’re a fan of her music or not, here are a few lessons I think we can learn from the so-called ‘Taylor Swift effect’.

 

1. Tell a good story

Swift’s consistent storytelling is one of her brand’s biggest strengths. One way in which she tells stories to her audience is through album releases, sounds and aesthetics with each release being marketed as a self-contained, and often autobiographical, tale.

Her brand identity illustrates her growth as a person and artist; Swift provides her fans with stories from a multitude of seasons in her life and invites them to listen and relate as she feels, experiences and learns new things. Whether the topic be love, work, family or friendship, Swifties (her die-hard fans) aren’t afraid of change because she embraces it, which is apparent in the marketing around all that she does.As storytellers, having a consistent narrative and a clear message is key. It

helps build confidence and trust with an audience who align their values with yours. Bringing me neatly on to my next point…

 

2. Be authentic and relatable

As a musician, Swift’s core product is, of course, her music. She writes song lyrics that feel personal and unique but are entirely relatable in other ways to her fans. Tapping into her fan’s emotional sensibilities, allowing her audience to forge a connection with her is something she is an expert in doing.

However Swift builds on these connections further by showcasing her passions in her day-to-day life. She is currently receiving praise for her caring nature after contributing to several foodbanks in each of the UK cities she has performed in and has even been credited with providing a year’s worth of supplies to Liverpool Foodbank. Whilst Swift doesn’t publicize her donations, those on the receiving end of her generosity do this for her.

Whether it be through charity, or buying handpicked birthday gifts for fans (which she has done on multiple occasions), Swift’s desire to give back to the areas she tours, and the acknowledgment of her audience’s loyalty is equally authentic, which brings me on to my third point…

 

3. Reward loyalty

Swift is renowned for leaving hidden messages, or ‘Easter eggs’ for her fans to find. She and her team do this in many ways, such as changing her profile picture, creating a non-standard HTTP code, which is in fact an anagram, or even in her clothing choices. But it’s less about what she does specifically and more about the fact that she does it- and social media users love it! The conversation and online noise that these hidden messages generate boost her engagement and general brand awareness to stratospheric heights.

When launching a new product – such as an album or tour – she has mastered creating an online disturbance in a playful way, generating lots of organic exposure online. This tactic encourages her audience to delve deeper into her brand and rewards them for figuring out what others may not have. It’s also an opportunity for her to connect with her fans by giving them clues and later posting callbacks to remind them of the time they knew what she was launching, before she had even announced it. Swift has nurtured her fan’s engagement throughout her career and that leads me to my final point…

 

4. Nurture engagement

Fans of Taylor Swift are renowned for their tribe-like loyalty and unity. Some of this has occurred organically, however, Swift has been receptive to her fans since day one and is strategic in her use of social media.

Following the release of the music video for her song ‘Anti-Hero’ in 2022, she took to YouTube Shorts to launch and kickstart the #TSAntiHeroChallenge, challenging her fans to use the sound and share their own ‘Anti-Heroic traits’. An influx of Swifties took to social media to take part. Having been invited by her to share their own thoughts and feelings, they were welcomed directly by her to collaborate on this. Taylor interacted with some fan’s videos, which further increased her excitement and engagement.

Swift’s fans’ loyalty to her is built upon the foundations that she provides them with. Whether it was her goal or not, she has succeeded in getting her fans to associate themselves so highly with her values that her brand has become part of their identity. In my opinion, Taylor Swift and her team are marketing geniuses which her loyal and ever-growing audience are testament to. I think there’s much we can learn from the ‘Taylor Swift effect’ when it comes to considering communications strategies and tactics, but maybe we’ll leave the rest to the Mastermind herself.

Taylor Swift - Mastermind