Communications Lessons from Taylor Swift

2022-01-18 by EPR Staff

Everywhere people turn these days, they can’t seem to get away from Taylor Swift, and that seems to be continuing into 2022. Just in the last three years, she’s managed to release three new albums, Loverfolklore, and evermore, as well as two that she re-released with additional songs, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), and Red (Taylor’s Version). The last one got 90 million streams on Spotify on its release date, November 12.  

Swift herself managed to make history in the music industry by releasing a 10-minute version of one of her most popular heartbreak anthems from Red (Taylor’s Version). The song, once the album was released, debuted at the first spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. That meant she became the very first artist with the longest song ever that reached that chart peak. Aside from the song itself, she also wrote, directed, and performed in her first short film, which was based on that song. About a week later, her last new album, evermore, received the album of the year nomination from the Grammy Awards. 

Back in 2014, the singer-songwriter astonished the entire music industry and the world by receiving respect for being an artist that’s also an activist for music rights. She did so by removing all of her albums from the biggest streaming platform, Spotify, and announcing an exclusive deal with Apple Music. That’s because on Spotify, users can listen to music for free, as long as they also opted to receive ads, while Apple Music doesn’t have a free version for its users. Swift wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal talking about the value of music, and the fact that those valuable things should be paid for. Aside from all her success, she’s also provided PR professionals with many smart communications lessons. 

Reputation 

After disappearing for a year from the public eye between 2016 and 2017 while things were spinning out of control, she unexpectedly took the stage once again in August 2017, with a brand new song. The song was from her brand new album, and she took the world by storm with the announcement, which was preceded by Swift wiping all of her social media accounts clean. Companies that have a strong communication plan can take her as an example in terms of rebranding and reemerging into the public sphere with a new and exciting image.2022 is the perfect year to connect with strangers who aren’t familiar with a brand. 

Brand Control 

Many fans of Swift, and those that have fallen in the rabbit hole of her fanbase, knew about the 10-minute long version of her song prior to its release because she had talked about it over the previous decade. They thought they’d never get to hear the long song despite its popularity, only getting to hear the shortened version on the old album. As part of the re-release of Red (Taylor’s Version), she announced that she’d been listening to her fans, and decided to dig through her old journals to find the original lyrics which had been cut down for the song’s release in 2012. Swift has  not shared many details of her personal life since her rebrand, and has only been seen on occasion in public, mostly making announcements only  on social media. This is another great example for brands that tend to share a lot of content with their consumers and overload them with information without listening to what they need. Companies should instead try only sharing more exciting news to ensure more steady media coverage for it.