PR

5 things you can learn from Taylor Swift about how to amplify your brand

- February 27, 2024 4 MIN READ

 

Chances are, if you’ve been keeping up with social media, the news cycle, or just in conversation with friends, family, or your team, you’ll have witnessed the incredible juggernaut that is Taylor Swift’s globally successful Eras Tour, which recently captivated audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, writes Samantha Dybac, CEO and founder The PR Hub, Host Influence Unlocked podcast

TIME Magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year has achieved unprecedented success in her comparatively brief lifetime (she turned 34 in December). Swift is not just a pop star; she’s a singer-songwriter and the ultimate entertainer who’s been compared with the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. She is not just another celebrity. She’s a commercial heavyweight commanding a billion-dollar empire. In 2023, writes TIME, Swift became, simply, “the main character of the world.”

As a brand, communications, and issues management specialist who works closely with founders and business leaders in my business The PR Hub, I am always fascinated by how celebs like Taylor craft their public image and brand, what resonates with their audiences (and what doesn’t!), and how to leverage those insights to add value to my own client base. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot we can learn from Tay-Tay.

The intensity of every move, meal, melody and milestone being so closely scrutinised by fans and the media is more than most of us could bear. So how does she do it? Here are five powerful strategies to consider that will help you illuminate your business PR and approach to personal branding, whether or not you wear sequins to work!


1. Create memorable moments that make your customers feel special

Swift excels in creating special moments for her fans, making them feel valued and connected. It’s a lesson we can all draw from – prioritising customer experience by going above and beyond to create memorable interactions. Could you host exclusive meet-and-greets? Create a surprise giveaway? Or add a personalised thank-you note with purchase, or a gift to mark a special occasion?

Foster a team culture that values going ‘above and beyond’ for customers. I don’t mean over-working your staff. But recruiting people who really embrace your values and care for your customers may be what sets you apart from your competitors.

Leaving a lasting impression means that if (or, let’s be realistic, ‘when’) you do fall short or make a mistake, your strong relationships and good reputation will help you navigate the rough patch. How fans responded online when Taylor surprised her Melbourne fans with brand new song mashups is a great example.


2. Be authentic and stay on-brand

Throughout her career, Swift has stayed true to her authentic self while maintaining a consistent brand image. Tay Tay and Travis Kelce petting kangaroos together in Sydney Zoo (not once but twice)? Yes please! Regardless of the theories around why the pop icon visited the same zoo twice in as many days, the evidence remains: going on a date with her NFL star boyfriend on the same day he jetted into town for a quick 48 hour visit, was a delightful and thoroughly ‘on brand’ move.

Aligning your own personal brand with your business values, authentically communicating those through various channels including social media, public appearances, and your product offering – and doing it consistently – will help build trust and loyalty among your customers.

On the flip side, inauthenticity – which savvy customers can see right through – can have serious consequences. Look no further than departing Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci’s recent trainwreck interview with Four Corners and why the public weren’t buying it. Banducci’s Woolies polo shirt and name badge was never going to cut through his poor form and deflection of the difficult line of questioning.

3. Don’t discount the power of your own story

At the heart of Taylor Swift’s brand lies her exceptional talent for weaving personal narratives into her music. Fans resonate deeply with her because they recognise the sincerity of her emotions intertwined within her songs.

Swift’s unique value proposition stems from her innate ability to deliver poignant and abundant storytelling, evident not only in her music but also in her engagement on social media and impact on broader cultural conversations.

As the founder or head of your business, expect people to be interested in your professional journey and your business’ story, including your personal one. Though the personal brands of business partners and your senior leadership team are important, often, yours is the voice people want to hear.

4. Work hard, but make time for rest and fun

While the rest of us aren’t likely to be dashing across the world on a Pacific jet stream anytime soon, it was fascinating to see Swift dedicating time to her personal life between Japan tour appearances by flying back to the US to watch her partner represent his football team in the Super Bowl.

As business founders, we can easily get caught up working long hours building and growing our business. I’ve written before about the benefits of taking a break from work, something I’ve learned over time as a founder myself.

Actively creating some balance – whether it’s personal for fitness or lifestyle, time with friends and family, a much-needed summer holiday or a creative hobby – is valuable and rewarding, both personally and professionally.

5. Empower and enable your team to help you scale

In order to grow or scale your business, not only do you need to hone in on your own leadership skills and strengths. You also need to hire exceptional people, then work together as a team to elevate your brand.

There’s no doubt that Taylor Swift is the star of her show, but the Eras Tour concerts don’t just happen. They come together so well and deliver such an outstanding experience because she has a fantastic team around her, all loyal to her personally and dedicated to the brand.

Swift is obviously the creative force of the show, but her back-up dancers in particular have been attracting attention since her US leg last year. Beyond their incredible moves, fans can’t get enough of the support crew’s moments in the spotlight!

There’s only one Taylor Swift, and there’s only one you. Tay-Tay’s a global phenomenon today, but she wasn’t always. So, wherever you are on your business journey, know that with purpose, persistence, and passion, a great team, and an authentic personal brand, anything is possible!


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