Taylor Swift has proved that she really is The Man. Her latest Eras tour has been off the charts, pun intended. She keeps on reinventing herself and does it effortlessly, like a modern-day Madonna. She does not ride trends, she creates them. Winning awards, exploring new music genres, starting trends among her fan base (thanks to her releasing her albums on vinyl, the Swifties have actually bought gramophones), Taylor is doing it all. What was next for a woman who is on top of the world? A tour of course.
Every company and brand needs to market to promote its offers and launches. The exception would probably be Apple which, because of its super loyal fan base, has millions waiting for news and looking forward to launches. Taylor enjoys the same sort of power thanks to her fans. Once she announced her tour, the website Ticketmaster was allegedly crashed by her fans or as the site claims by bots. So yes, the upcoming tour was guaranteed news and publicity.
Coming to the actual tour, 22 cities in the USA were part of the first leg and Taylor played multiple shows in several cities. Each show was approximately three hours long and she – as the name of the tour suggests – was performing songs from all her various stages as an artist. For each concert, she will be performing 44 songs with a special mystery song and in standard Taylor style, along with a guest performer. The concert is divided into 10 acts that relate to each of her albums. While the majority of her fans are girls and women under the age of 50, Taylor’s concerts did see people who were not from this gender or age bracket. Fathers and boyfriends were also part of the crowd and this could be seen from the videos of the concerts that went viral. Also, as a result of her concerts, the cities where she toured experienced an economic boom as around two billion dollars was generated through hotels, tickets and other sales; the tour has just entered its global phase with shows in Mexico City.
As Martin Lindstrom would say, what can brands learn from the Eras tour? Firstly, the concerts were a hit because of the value for money and the unbelievable experience. To build a connection with your audience you need to create an experience and that requires attention to detail and dedication. We have all seen videos of her performances, especially the one in which she sang in the rain for three hours. Secondly, Taylor always listens to her fans but remains in control – after the tour announcement 25 more shows were added due to popular demand and when Swift announced international venues, politicians in places such as Canada, requested their cities to be added. Taylor does such things with flexibility but also follows a plan she has chalked out. She normally even has album releases planned years in advance. Sticking to a long-term plan and consistently exciting and teasing her fans with Easter eggs in her videos, using imagery and symbols that her fans are familiar with, has assured that news about her goes viral.
Those in marketing similarly need to learn to stick with things for a longer duration to create impact and affinity. Brands and marketers can emulate her by learning to speak their fans’ language and create a loyal tribe. This is not something new as the internet was started by Grateful Dead fans.
Marketing has become very reactive with brands trying to leverage trends but Taylor is creating them; everyone in the States it seems has caught Taylor-mania and are trying to make videos and create content that tries to leverage the person of the hour. She knows the power of her brand and she knows the source of the power is her fans. Marketers sometimes tend to forget that, as Ries and Trout reminded us in Positioning; the brand is like a rubber band in the hands of the consumer. Empower the consumer or audience and enjoy the ride like Taylor knows all too well.
Tyrone Tellis is Senior Manager Corporate Sales and PR, Bogo. firstname.lastname@example.org