6 Signs You’re the Taylor Swift of Branding

Hummingbird CreativeBranding & Creative

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From country music to pop music to whatever she’s doing now, Taylor Swift is a powerhouse in the music industry. Just her name alone can sell out stadiums in mere minutes. Her success doesn’t just seem come from her talent but from how she markets herself and the brand she has built surrounding her name.

With the release of her single “Reputation”, Taylor Swift has proved she’s a force to be reckoned with. Her lyrics-only video was played 19 million times in 24 hours setting a new record. The actual music video was played 82 million in the first 48 hours.

A lot of brands have similar success: AT&T, Bank of America, Walmart– and yours?

Here are six swift-isms you know to be true when your brand is the Taylor Swift of your industry.

swift-ism #1: you create a unique experience

Fans don’t just buy a ticket from Taylor Swift, they buy an experience they can’t get anywhere else. They buy into her world. When you buy a Taylor Swift ticket, you join a circle on like-minded peers who share a unique experience that those on the outside won’t understand.

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With 78% of millennials saying they would rather spend money on an experience or an event than a tangible product, brands who can create valuable, unique and memorable experiences are on the right track.  

swift-ism #2: you take risks

Going from country’s sweetheart to a pop star is a huge risk and, before Taylor Swift, basically unprecedented at that level. She’d collected handfuls of platinum records and Grammy’s before shedding her image as a country crooner and becoming a pop princess. But, the gamble paid off when she had the highest-grossing tour of 2015.

A brand that stays the same for too long runs the risk of getting stale and faces consumers forgetting about them. By then, the brand might have to face an expensive refresh in an attempt to survive.

swift-ism #3: you know how to mix print and digital

Taylor Swift’s latest album, “Reputation”, will be available on physical media (you know, a CD) at Target and Walmart with advanced sales including one of two versions of a 72-page print magazine. This magazine will feature Taylor’s poetry, photography and artwork. Even at $20 a pop (and streaming options coming available), the CD is already amassing impressive presales.

A lot of brands are reaching out to their consumers in the moments they’re not bombarded by screens, notifications and other messages with magazines and other print materials. They use print materials not to drive sales but to act as a brand-building tool.

swift-ism #4: you change with the times, not after them

Vinyls. Tapes. CDs. Digital downloads. Streaming. The music industry could write the book on changing with the times. While musical releases have ebbed and flowed (and re-ebbed, vinyls are back!), Taylor Swift has stood her ground to lead rather than follow changes. 

Newspapers suffered the impact of the digital age early on and for a long time. Brick-and-mortar stores have been feeling the burn with the rising preference for online shopping. In today’s changing world, if you’re not ahead, you’re behind. The key to trends is spotting them and adopting them in terms of your brand strategy rather than waiting to be overwhelmed.

swift-ism #5: you don’t let a temporary decision to affect your long-term strategy

In 2014, Taylor Swift yanked all of her songs off streaming services in response to the treatment musicians were receiving from those platforms. In 2017, she allowed her newest album to be available on Spotify. What made her suddenly change her mind? Easy, her long-term goals. In the moment, her decision to yank her music from streaming services made sense. It was timely in the discussion of fair wages amongst different industries and she was riding high on successful single after successful single. Knowing how critical streaming is for a musician’s success– especially when releasing new albums– she agreed to go back to Spotify because it made sense in the long-term. 

Sometimes, a temporary decision can make sense in the moment for your brand. But a good brand won’t let that affect them overall.

swift-ism #6: you work hard

With 5 number 1 hits, 22 that have made it to the top 10 and 75 songs in her entire career, you can’t argue that Taylor Swift works hard. Her career is proof that putting in the effort and staying passionate about your work will take your brand to new levels. Don’t hesitate to put in the extra hours to give your customers that extra little experience to set you apart from your competition. In the long run, it’s worth it. 


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