As a small business owner, I understand the importance of creating a strong brand identity and establishing an engaging relationship with your target audience. In the age of social media, these factors can determine whether or not your business succeeds. That’s why I turn to one of the most successful artists of our time for inspiration- Taylor Swift. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that the girl knows how to market herself and her music.
Here are five marketing truths I learned from Taylor Swift marketing that any small business owner could benefit from.
Taylor Swift’s consistent branding is a prime example of how strong brand identity can create a loyal fan following. Everything about her brand is consistent, from her album covers to her merchandise and social media presence. The same colors, fonts, and visual elements are used throughout—some albums are known to fans simply by the color (even when the album isn’t literally named “Red”.)
By maintaining a solid brand identity, Taylor Swift has created a recognizable image for herself that resonates with her fans. Despite her many image reinventions, her brand maintains consistency by maintaining quality, transparency, and personality.
For small business owners, generating a loyal customer base also requires a strong brand identity. A brand’s visual and messaging elements should embody what the business stands for, its products, and its target audience. Consistency is a key factor in developing an effective brand identity.
Exclusivity and Scarcity Marketing
Taylor Swift has mastered the art of creating exclusivity around her music and merchandise. She releases album deluxe editions, sends surprise packages to her most devoted fans, and has limited edition tour merchandise only available for a short time. These strategies make her fans feel special and valued.
Midnights, Taylor’s 2022 album, was released in 5 exclusive versions on CD and Vinyl— all with exclusive songs. During her New Jersey stop on her Era’s tour, Taylor sold a version with one exclusive CD-only song—available at the concert only.
Even if you’re not selling out stadiums across the country, you can use scarcity marketing in your small business to offer incentives that promote customer loyalty. For instance, limiting the availability of product discounts, special events, or early access to products to only loyal customers can make them feel appreciated.
Building Relationships and Engaging Your Audience
Taylor Swift marketing uses social media platforms to connect with her fans and create unique experiences for them. She shares her life experiences, interacts with fans, and promotes initiatives that align with her values. This engagement helps to foster strong connections with her audience.
Here’s one powerful example of the power of committing to your fans. Taylor began releasing new versions of her albums following a legal battle for masters with her former record label. New versions include a few new songs but are largely the same as the Big Machine versions.
Red (Taylor’s Version), the 2021 re-release, sold 1.94 million units in its first year — way more than the 220,000 units her 2012 album sold in the first 12 months! Same songs. New label. Her fans followed her solely because they’re loyal.
You may not be looking at the same numbers, but you can inspire that type of loyalty for your customers. By creating conversations, ensuring your customers have an amazing experience every time they interact with you, being relatable and transparent, and developing a sense of community surrounding your business or product, you can establish trust and build lasting relationships with customers.
Telling a Story
Taylor Swift is a master storyteller; her music is a testament to that. Her songs tell stories about her life experiences, personal struggles, and victories. This approach to storytelling has helped her connect with her fans at an emotional level.
After all, there’s something cathartic about singing “f the patriarchy” along with your Swiftie besties.
Small businesses can use storytelling to enhance their brand image and create emotional connections with their audience. People buy with emotions and can tell friends about their favorite products or services easier when a story is attached. Your storytelling is the hook that keeps your business on the top of their mind.
By sharing stories that weave in your brand’s values and mission in relatable ways, you can do more than sell products; you can also leave a lasting impression.
Innovation and adaptability are key factors for success- and Taylor Swift has demonstrated both. She has effortlessly transitioned from country music to pop and even released surprise “sister” albums during the COVID-19 pandemic. (I’m currently listening to one of these albums, folklore, on repeat,)
In her documentary, Miss Americana, Taylor explained that innovation is essential to stay relevant.
“Be new to us, be young to us, but only in a new way and only in the way we want,” she said. “And reinvent yourself, but only in a way that we find equally comforting but also a challenge for you. Live out a narrative that we find to be interesting enough to entertain us, but not so crazy that it makes us uncomfortable.”
Small business owners should have the same level of adaptability and innovation to navigate rapidly changing markets. Being able to pivot quickly and being proactive in bringing new ideas or products to market can help keep a business relevant and successful.
Taylor Swift Marketing Takeaway
Taylor Swift is more than an accomplished artist and successful businesswoman. As a small business owner, you can find incredible inspiration in her brand identity, marketing strategy, and engagement tactics.
Any business can succeed in today’s competitive market by consistently branding your business, building exclusivity around its products, engaging with your audience, telling stories, and being adaptable. Take a risk, try something new, and reward your customers’ loyalty–they’ll all be back for more.