How to create a brand (Taylor’s Version)


“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail/ Strategy sets the scene for the tale.” – Mastermind, Taylor Swift

In the last few months, we have been reminded of the immense influence that Taylor Swift has on the music industry through the release of her latest album, Midnights. Now I Would’ve, Could’ve,Should’ve written this blog about the carefully tailored lyrics, creative production or beautifully crafted stories in every song. However, there is one other aspect of the music industry that Swift thrives in: her marketing. There’s not a Glitch – Swift’s brand is as meticulously produced as her latest album. From creative brand strategies to carefully implemented Easter eggs, Swift has created an easily recognizable brand for herself. Here are a few lessons from Taylor Swift on how to create a successful brand.

Constantly Adapting

Question…? Why does a brand fail? One of the biggest shortcomings a brand can make is not adapting to the world around it. Brands like Blockbuster used to rule the video market in the late ’90s and early 2000s but failed to make the jump to digital/streaming and can no longer compete with brands like Netflix and Hulu simply because they failed to adapt.

When it comes to traditional consumer products, the number one thing that holds brands back is the ability to stay relevant. With the expansion of TikTok and other social media platforms, product fads are something consumers know All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault). How do we build strong consumer relationships with all this High Infidelity?

Swift has mastered the art of reinvention through every album in order to keep top of mind. Many of these changes have been out of necessity for her industry. In her Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” she said the following: “Be new to us, be young to us – but only in a new way and only the way we want. Reinvent yourself but only in a way that we find to be equally comforting and a challenge for you.”

Miss Americana Taylor Swift

This is the challenge that you face with your brand as well. How do we adapt to a new generation of consumers and still hold on to our essence? Swift has shown us time and time again that you can stay true to your roots while still revealing new layers to yourself. Brands are becoming more personified these days, so why can’t your brand identity peel back another layer to its personality and reinvent the way consumers think about you?

Your brand must adapt and change. Keep your eyes on what is trending in marketing and figure out how to implement it into your business. Brands have personalities and values, so peel back the next layer to your brand identity. Watch for what the next generation cares about and align yourself with the same things because You’re on Your Own, Kid, when it comes to creating your brand identity.

Tell a Story

“I know that without me writing my own songs, I wouldn’t be here.” – Taylor Swift

Standing out in an oversaturated market can be The Great War a business faces. How do you stand out compared to other brands in your product or service sphere? Swift knows that the key to her career is based on her writing. The businesses we market can take the same note. Most marketing messaging is crafted as A (Problem) + B (Solution) = C (Purchase/Sale). Although this is the most basic form of storytelling, it doesn’t make the best story if you include only that. You need supporting characters, descriptions, building upon previous works, storytelling devices like simile/metaphors/irony, etc., to fully flesh out a story. Your brand is no different. Let’s take one of Swift’s newest songs as an example.


Taylor Swift Midnight Cover

“My boy was a montage
A slow-motion love potion
Jumping off things in the ocean
I broke his heart ’cause he was nice

He was sunshine, I was midnight rain
He wanted it comfortable
I wanted that pain
He wanted a bride
I was making my own name
Chasing that fame
He stayed the same”

Midnight Rain


Swift is reflecting on what could’ve been if she had decided to settle down instead of pursuing her career. She then goes on to compare how their lives are so different now. Swift’s success greatly comes from her ability to connect her audience with her work. By telling your brand story in a creative manner, you open more to being interpreted. This can help you relate to more customers for different reasons.

Engage With Your Fans

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” – Taylor Swift

As humans, we have an innate need to feel included. With a corporate brand, this is no different. The most successful brands are the ones that not only deliver great products, but also create a community for those who engage with them.

Swift does an excellent job at helping foster this community among her fans. She does this in several ways, but her most successful one is simply engaging with them on social media. Back in the days of Tumblr’s rise to fame, Swift was very engaged with her fans, whether she replied to her fans’ threads or affirmed theories that had been circling the platform. The ability to connect with the creator has driven many to reach out directly to the singer on various platforms. I myself am on day 32 of posting on TikTok my favorite Taylor Swift lyrics until I get to meet her. The ability to interact and, furthermore, have a say in how your favorite brands develop will always draw fans in.

Also, have kickoff parties with key brand fans to show them that you appreciate their support. How do you do this as a recording artist? Host secret listening parties with hundreds of your fans previewing your next album. Think of it as product testing, except it’s a party with all the people who love what you do.

Stand for Something

At the end of the day, any business can benefit from good Karma. The best karma comes when you support a cause you believe in. Find a social issue your organization believes in and incorporate it into your brand promise. There are so many great issues to rally behind, and it can be as simple as attempting to be zero waste to support truly clean business practices. No one likes an Anti-Hero, so make sure you are living out that promise in everything you do.

In recent years, Swift has decided to stand up for many causes. The most notable is the advocacy for artists to have ownership of their own work. You may have heard of a little thing called Taylor’s Version. This wildly successful approach to gaining ownership of her music has inspired other artists to do the same and has brought to light the corruption of the music industry.

Swift has also been a big advocate of fair pay for artists by streaming services like Spotify. “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music,” she reported to Rolling Stone. This effort has changed the way Spotify pays artists and has greatly benefited small independent artists who were seeing little to no pay from the platform.

Where do you go from here? Find a cause that matters to your company and your people. From there, find ways to support it, whether by using your voice or supporting it in other ways. For example, if you believe you want to stand up against climate change, make sure you start internally. From there, work outwards by encouraging your clients and consumers to do the same. No matter the size of your brand, you have a voice and can influence change.

Dear Reader, the world of marketing and brand development is a constantly evolving environment. In order to excel in this Labyrinth, you must look to those who are succeeding and adapt it into our own brands. Taylor Swift has shown time and time again that she is not only a lyrical Mastermind, but also a strong marketer. By using the branding tips she has provided us with, we can become Bejeweled and connect better to our consumers. If you create a plan, you won’t plan to fail – and that will set the scene for the tale you’re weaving into your marketing.

Bradley Banken

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