Why I Love Taylor Swift and What We Can Learn From Her

By Jenni Izzo

Yes, I aged out of Taylor Swift’s target demographic of “Swifties” about 10 years ago, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying her music – especially her just-released album, 1989. But, this time, it isn’t just her songs that’s making me take notice, it’s her PR team.

If you follow T-Swift on Instagram, you’ve no-doubt seen dimly lit photos of her with fans in recent weeks. It wasn’t until reading the New York Post this morning that I realized these were “secret listening parties” in Taylor’s private homes (yes, plural). Fans, like the one interviewed for the article, were given a “time to meet, a place to meet and a secret password,” and no other details about the evening. Imagine the surprise when they were escorted into Taylor’s home and spent the evening listening to the yet-to-be-released album with her.

So, what can PR professionals learn from this? It’s all about the fan/brand experience. To do this, Taylor’s team …

  • Selected key markets that made sense for her individual brand (Nashville, NYC, Rhode Island, LA, London) and found “Swifties” that were already there. While not specified, you can assume these are members of her fan club, fans on Facebook, those who engage on Instagram/Twitter regularly, etc.
  • They created an element of suspense and surprise.
  • And, finally, they delivered on a special experience – right down to the Polaroid photos everyone took home.

Taylor’s PR team hosted five events with 89 fans each, for a total of 445 participants. That’s a tiny number, compared to the millions of copies her newest album will inevitably sell. But, they knew that the buzz created by these events would far surpass the number of fans involved. More than that, it would create new fans (brand advocates) and strengthen support from existing ones. And, isn’t that exactly what we seek to do for our clients every day?

Jenni Izzo is Vice President of Public Relations and a big fan of “Welcome to New York” and “Blank Space.”

Knights + Solar Bears = Friends

Cade at Solar Bears game

By Rob Humphreys

At sporting events, most adults don’t (consciously) think twice about the ubiquitous branding messages vying for their attention. Until a wide-eyed 5-year-old poses a simple question.

“Daddy,” my son Cade asked me, pointing to a pair of logos on the scoreboard at Amway Arena, “why is the UCF Knight guy up there with the Solar Bear?”

Hmmm. Well, son, that’s because the University of Central Florida has a special marketing partnership with the hockey team that … blah, blah, blah.

At least that’s what his young ears would have heard if my default “logical” side had spoken.

Instead, I thought for a second and came up with this gem: “The Knights and Solar Bears are friends.”

He seemed to understand that.