A celebrity is essentially a brand and Taylor Swift is one of the biggest in the business. This isn’t by sheer luck. Like most celebrities, Swift’s reputation has seen its fair share of ups and downs. What sets her apart, however, is her shrewdness in marketing herself and exercising control over her own image. By doing so, she has earned herself legions of loyal fans all around the globe.
Here are some branding lessons from the pop star:
1. Show your fans love
Taylor Swift takes fan interaction to a whole new level. From sending fans gifts to inviting them into her home for an exclusive preview of her new album, Swift consistently reaches out to her biggest fans to form genuine relationships with them. This has earned her die-hard fans and positive media coverage.
Via Taylor Swift
Here’s the takeaway for businesses: If you want loyal customers, you have to earn them. Customers, like fans, want to feel seen and heard. It always feels nice to be acknowledged and even appreciated by a brand you frequently buy. Reward returning customers by giving discounts, freebies and even invitations to exclusive events. This encourages them to be loyal to your brand.
Businesses should also build relationships with customers. One way to do that is through social media.
2. Build relationships with fans
Swift is known for her interactions with fans on social media. She actively engages fans on social media by commenting on their Instagram posts, taking part in their polls and even sending them messages directly. This sets her apart from other celebrities; most only go as far as replying comments left on their own social media posts. These intimate interactions have helped her build a loyal fan base.
Don’t be afraid to engage your social media followers in a conversation. This doesn’t just humanise your brand, it allows you to get to know your target market a little better.
3. Use social media to get to know your fans
Before the release of each new album, Swift invites her biggest fans to attend “Secret Sessions” where they get to meet the star and listen to her new album before everyone else. Swift supposedly “stalks” her fans and selects them for the event personally.
By looking at their social media activity, Swift is able to determine how big of a fan they are, as well as their names, ages and interests. This helps Swift engage them in a conversation when they do meet face to face. It’s clear that her fans appreciate the effort she puts in.
So I just met Taylor and she’s been stalking me for over a year and I’m crying #reputationsecretsessions
— “marianna!!!” legally owns if this was a movie (@dcntblamemes) October 13, 2017
I JUST MET TAYLOR SWIFT AND SHE KNEW MY NAME AND SHE CALLED ME BUDDY AND MY LIFE IS COMPLETE
— its abbie, isnt it🏹💕 (@auntbeckyisbae) October 13, 2017
There’s a wealth of information on your audience on social media. Use it to gain a better understanding of them. This will help you create content and brand experiences that are catered to their tastes.
4. Take control in a crisis
When you’re as famous as Taylor Swift, you’re bound to get embroiled in controversies. Negative press could make or break a celebrity and a brand. Swift was labelled a “snake” due to a very public fallout with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Her “good girl” image crumbled overnight and it looked like her career would follow suit. However, instead of trying to bury the incident, Swift hit back with a new album, merchandise and music videos that heavily featured snake imagery. By embracing what was initially meant to hurt her, Swift didn’t just regain control over her public image, she profited from it. You got to admit that’s pretty savvy.
Even though her methods would probably never work for a business experiencing bad PR, there is still something to be learned from this: Don’t run away from a crisis. Staying silent is the worst thing you can do. Address the situation publicly; this will allow you to regain some control over what is being said about your brand in the media. You should also convey your sincerity to change, one way to do this is by publicly announcing concrete plans for improvement.
Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift’s smart marketing has made her one of the biggest stars on the planet. Brands could really learn a thing or two by observing how she navigates the media and interacts with fans.