As a PR professional, I predominantly represent clients in lifestyle industries including clothing brands, thought leaders, and companies in the health and wellness industry. In a nutshell, these professionals launch businesses or a brand built around living a particular lifestyle and sharing it with their audience and customers.
While most brands tend to only seek out PR when announcing a new partnership, product, or service, the most well-known brand names utilize their PR strategies 24/7. Promoting your brand in this way takes a lot of savvy, and as an avid pop culture fan, I often turn to a handful of successful entertainment icons for inspiration.
I’ve admittedly been a die-hard Swiftie since Taylor Swift dropped her debut album in 2006, but today I’m a fan of more than just her music. I can guarantee that you will be hard-pressed to find a more impactful and effective public relations campaign than those attached to Swift’s name and brand.
Even if you’re not a mega entertainer or lifestyle brand, you can still take a tip from Swift’s PR strategy.
Taylor Swift’s PR Tells a Story
A PR strategy is the roadmap for your company’s ongoing story. It sets the foundation for everything, from creating and executing a communications plan to authentically engaging with your target market. At its core is one simple concept: you need to tell a story that resonates with your audience.
Swift’s PR is a reflection of her knack as a master storyteller. In all of her lyrics, she is actively involved in crafting her brand and communicating with her fans. While each PR move is carefully calculated, it still remains genuine because she has cultivated a fan base that is extremely invested in her life and the stories she tells.
Taylor Swift’s PR Strategy Builds Relationships
PR is a process — not a one-and-done event. It’s about building relationships through an ongoing story, rather than simply pushing out another press release and calling it a day.
As a brand, you can use PR to build relationships through establishing consistent communication, listening, sharing information, and growing trust. This is a proactive process. Look for opportunities to connect with your audience — whether at an event or via social media — and then take action.
Swift works with her team to engage her fans with fun hidden Easter eggs in everything from her social media posts to the outfits she wears, to her music videos, and even her song lyrics. For instance, she recently left Easter eggs hinting that she would announce the re-recording of her album “1989” in the music video for “I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” An Easter egg in the form of a road sign that read “I-9 89 TV” created excitement among the fandom and helped Swift set the stage for her announcement of the album shortly after.
This level of detail in her messaging demonstrates to fans that she is just as invested in them as they are in her.
Taylor Swift’s PR Strategy Involves Consistent Branding Across All Channels
PR professionals understand that ensuring branding remains consistent across all channels is key to building trust with any audience. If you are consistent and authentic in how you represent yourself, your audience will be equally as consistent and authentic in how they perceive you.
Having attended both The Eras Tour and The Speak Now World Tour in 2011, I can attest that while Swift’s branding has remained strong and consistent throughout her career, it has still made the necessary adaptations as both she and her fans have grown. Her branding has remained constant in that she has stayed vulnerable, authentic, and bold with her music and moves as an artist, but has adapted over time to better reflect her own life and who she has become through growth and change.
Swift is known for adjusting her brand’s aesthetic through shifts in different musical genres, but still maintains her individual artistry. She has even used her different musical “eras” as PR moves themselves, using each one as a means to step into a new genre or stage of her life.
By leaning into these different “eras” of her musical career, Swift has not limited herself to one image or space when it comes to being an artist. Instead, she uses a color associated with the album to help illustrate the album’s overall aesthetic and theme, such as red for the album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and black for the album “Reputation.”
Taylor Swift’s PR is Authentic
When building a brand, it’s important to remain genuine, transparent, and human. Showing that you’re a person with feelings builds trust and rapport with potential customers, and lets them know that they’re not just another cog in an impersonal machine.
Back in 2016, when Kanye West made it a trend on social media to #cancelTaylorSwift because of her public disapproval of the inclusion of a derogatory lyric in his song “Famous,” Swift responded with the album “Reputation.” As a lyricist, she writes about her experiences honestly and lets her music speak for itself. Her songwriting forms the foundation for an honest and authentic PR strategy.
Successful branding does not happen overnight. It is the result of careful planning, original storytelling, consistent messaging, and proactive relationship building.
Most recently, Swift’s Eras Tour pays homage to the fan support she received as she re-recorded her past work. These new recordings communicate that her work belongs to herself and her fans, and the Eras Tour celebrates the success that has come from decades of support.
Swift’s Eras Tour is a prime example of how consistent, long-term, and authentic PR pays off. It conveys her message that she and her fans are “in this together.”