Whether you love her or hate her, no one can deny that Taylor Swift is a genius in brand marketing. I could write an entire thesis on the various tactics she uses to leave her fans hanging on her every word, dissecting every interview, and scrutinizing every lyric and music video to find a hidden meaning or clue referring to what she’s working on next.
However, this is a public relations blog and not a Taylor Swift fan page, so we’ll focus on one of her most recent marketing wins and what brands everywhere can learn from this. After a years-long feud with her former record label who stripped her of the rights to the music she recorded prior to her 2019 album Lover, Taylor has begun re-recording all her old music. On April 9, 2021, she released ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’, which includes all the much-loved classics from the album that was originally released in 2008, plus a handful of songs that have never been heard before that she labeled as ‘from the vault’.
This new release of an old album that includes a few brand-new bonus tracks is a perfect example to brands of the impact of refreshing messaging. When ‘Fearless’ was originally released in 2008, it quickly topped the charts and Taylor fans were playing the songs on repeat—myself included. And while I’m sure loyal fans still listened to some of the tracks occasionally since then, the release of ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ made these songs explode with popularity once again, greatly exciting long-time Taylor fans and potentially recruiting new ones, while generating a ton of buzz around both the updated versions of the older songs and praise for the new ones.
The release of this re-recorded albums shows the value of breathing new life into existing branding/messaging. While current branding/messaging may still resonate with core audiences, updating it with a fresh perspective, or in Taylor’s case, more mature vocals, can make all the difference in re-engaging this audience while also reaching new demographics. So, what are some ways brands can create their own ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ with their messaging? Here are some suggestions:
- Conduct market research: Deploy a survey to subscribers of your newsletter, current customers, and other prospects to see what elements of your current messaging/branding still resonate with them today and what causes/services/capabilities they’d be interested in seeing you adopt/address moving forward. Once you collect and analyze these findings, use them to update your messaging on all platforms—website, PR campaigns, social media etc.
- Update your website: A website is often the first-place people go when researching a company. While your website copy might be spot on for your mission and target audience, if the appearance and functionality is less than stellar it can hurt credibility and the potential to recruit new business. While messaging doesn’t necessarily have to change, updating your website with a cleaner, fresher look can make a big difference. As your “bonus track” consider adding a blog section to offer insights on current industry trends and news.
- Capitalize on social media: While social media can be a little intimidating at times, especially in today’s political climate, brands who do not utilize these platforms are missing out on a big opportunity to engage with target audiences. Social media provides a unique way for brands to push messaging by commenting on current events, directly interact with current and potential customers and create an image for themselves beyond the company website. Another useful feature of social media are paid campaigns, which allow brands to ensure posts on a certain topic are reaching the right audience to further increase brand visibility and recognition.
Refreshing your brand marketing strategy does not necessarily mean starting from scratch. As Taylor so flawlessly demonstrated, adding new elements to what has already worked well can make your brand that much more impactful.
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