by Jennifer Marsnik
Taylor Swift recently wrapped up the 2023 U.S. leg of her Eras tour. You don’t need to be a fan of her music to appreciate Swift’s business acumen, which has fueled the masterful way she’s built her brand and managed her reputation – no pun intended, as her 2017 “Reputation” album is among the 10 featured on the record-breaking tour.
The music industry might seem to have little in common with B2B professional services, but we can learn from how Swift connects with her audiences. The foundation of her success isn’t just about her product – the music she writes and sings – it’s about how she brands herself, creates engagement with her fans and leverages her reputation to build loyalty and keep them wanting more.
For individuals and businesses alike, a strong reputation is among our most valuable assets. Establishing it is only the first step; knowing how to use it can take you to the next level.
Brand vs. Reputation
A brand is how a company defines and presents itself and what promise it makes to its target market. It’s controlled by the company and should convey what makes the company relevant to its customers.
Reputation isn’t what a company says about itself, but the perception others have about it, its products and services – and whether it follows through on the brand promise it makes. Reputation is about credibility and legitimacy, which must be earned and maintained over time.
Have a Reputation Plan
While your reputation resides in the minds of others, you can influence their perceptions. Build a program for reputation management by defining goals and outlining a strategy to achieve them. Budget and available resources may inform tactics used, but consider who your target audience is, the best communication channels to reach them and, importantly, your key messages. To execute the plan, secure employees, customers, partners, industry experts and influencers to help share your messages. As your company and its offerings evolve and adapt to changing market needs and trends so must your goals and strategies for managing your reputation.
Establishing and maintaining a good reputation cannot be accomplished by a corporate team alone. Planning and monitoring are important steps, but the engagement of internal and external stakeholders is the linchpin of success. Just as complainers contribute to a negative reputation, a positive reputation requires others to be willing to share their voices on your behalf.
Lessons to Learn
Taylor Swift is a case study in effectively engaging fans, the media and others to amplify messages. But that success doesn’t happen by accident. She is known for meticulous planning around everything she does. Beyond her skillful approach to building anticipation for new album releases and tours, she has created a legion of fans dubbed “Swifties” who espouse her virtue to anyone who will listen and defend her relentlessly. And they spend millions of dollars to attend concerts, purchase merchandise and stream her music, even buying the “Taylor’s Version” rereleases of her early albums.
Swift knows and respects her audience and understands how to reach them, talking to them even when she’s not selling anything. Her authenticity in how she communicates directly with fans is among the reasons Swifties are so loyal. She creates things she knows they want, builds genuine excitement and then – and this is key – follows through with experiences that leave them wanting more.
Professional services organizations have different target markets from pop stars and use different channels to build their brands and communicate their key messages. But Swift offers useful examples for how to connect with an audience, foster engagement and build loyalty by leveraging a strong reputation.
Did you know?
Taylor Swift: Improving the U.S. economy one tour stop at a time…
As stated by Fortune, a recent report from research company QuestionPro said the Eras tour could generate $4.6 billion in consumer spending in the U.S. alone.
About the Author
With Edge Marketing since 2007, Jennifer Marsnik specializes in helping clients develop and implement strategic plans that support their overall business goals.
She lives in the Twin Cities area with her husband and enjoys golf and cheering on the Twins, Vikings and U of M Gophers. With her two Swiftie daughters home for the summer, Jennifer has listened to a lot of Taylor Swift music the past few months and finds herself knowing more about the artist and her Eras tour than she ever thought possible. #LongLive