August 2014

Taylor Swift

Why Taylor Swift is a PR goddess

 

Yesterday, Taylor Swift delighted fans with the surprise release of her latest single and music video, Shake it Off.  She announced the video and details about 1989, her 5th album, during a 30-minute livestream on Yahoo Screen.

I watched the video and livestream highlights, and came to the conclusion that I always do when considering Taylor Swift. She is a PR goddess. And not just because she shocked fans with a catchy, unexpected single.  (After all, Beyonce has been there, done that.)

Despite the fact that most brands don’t amass a comparable group of passionate followers, brands can benefit from emulating Taylor’s approach to publicity. Yesterday’s announcement, in particular, is wrought with best practices.

Check out these 4 T-Swift-approved communications strategies:

Be authentic.

Sure, you hear that all the time. But let’s start here, because all brands should.  Curly or straight, single or dating, country or pop, Taylor Swift has a loyal fan base and career destined for longevity.  Why? Because she’s not afraid to put her most relatable, human, ordinary quirks on display. Exhibit A: By flailing her waifish limbs amidst a sea of professional dancers in Shake it Off, Swift declares, “I can’t dance. I’m not perfect. But I don’t care.”

Empower the people.

In addition to taking questions from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter during the Yahoo livestream, Swift revealed that she’d cherry-picked dedicated social media followers to dance with her in the Shake it Off video.

Although most brands don’t have fans clamoring for attention, marketers can still take a page from Taylor’s book. Follow fans’ Twitter accounts, respond to their questions, and take fan feedback into account.  Keeping a pulse on your core audience will position you to win them over time and time again.

React to fan feedback.

During the live Yahoo interview, Taylor dropped this golden nugget: “All of what I decide to do on albums is based on what I think you will like.” The star is known for granting fans’ requests, from selfies to VIP passes to album bonus features.  Her down-to-earth, responsive approach turns happy, loyal fans into champions of the Taylor Swift brand.

Reward

Lastly, Swift’s got an endless supply of treats for dedicated fans.  For 1989 alone, she’s offering bonus tracks (recorded from her phone), meet-and-greet Swiftstakes and packs of Polaroid photos with every album.  In summary, she’s doling out tween girl nirvana.

Taken as a whole, Taylor’s approach to communications is strikingly human.  Simple, direct, responsive.  So marketers, do your brand a solid and be a rock star at work this week.

Red lipstick, teen angst and Jo Bros, optional.

August 2014