Why Taylor Swift is a PR and Marketing Rock Star
By: Whitney McGoram
Does anyone reading this actually watch music videos any more? I mean, come on, Total Request Live has been off the air for years. Does MTV even play videos these days? On that same note, who in the world buys actual CDs in 2015?
Well, I did both of these things this year, along with millions and millions of others. Why? Taylor Swift.
It’s not that I’m a die-hard “Swiftie” who just can’t get enough of the 25-year-old superstar’s dazzling vocals and deeply personal lyrics. It’s because she marketed herself and her products so well that I just felt absolutely compelled to participate.
I know I’m not the first person to point out Ms. Swift’s PR prowess, but her recent appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards warrants revisiting the topic.
In case you missed it, she won the big award of the night (along with several others) for her music video, Bad Blood. Taylor first began promoting the video weeks before it was released with teasers on her Instagram account, each one introducing a new “character,” who were all her close personal celebrity friends, including the two she named her cats after (Olivia Benson – Mariska Hargitay and Meredith Grey – Ellen Pompeo). Each character had an elaborate costume and a fully built out persona and name, which was truthfully, completely irrelevant for a 4-minute video in which each received roughly a 12-second cameo. Yet I found myself anxiously awaiting her every post. “Jessica Alba’s in it? You’re kidding me! Who is she going to announce next?”
By the time the full cast had been revealed, I was dying to see the full video, only to find I had to tune into the Billboard Music Awards for the world premiere, so I did. What is this sorcery? I haven’t watched an award show since college. Darn you, Taylor Swift!
Now, here I am again watching the Video Music Awards to see her and her entire Bad Blood entourage steal the show with their acceptance and introduce her newest music video, Wildest Dreams. Just when I thought she’d nailed every PR tactic in the book (see below), I caught the last frame of the video, which noted that all proceeds from the video will go to a wildlife conservation charity. Philanthropic effort strategically tied to a business objective? Taylor, you’ve outdone yourself. #ICantEven.
Tactic: Buzz generating teasers. Check.
Tactic: Strategic media appearances. Check.
Tactic: Comprehensive social media campaign. Check.
Tactic: Engaging and interacting with key audiences. Check.
Tactic: Consistent branding across all platforms. Check.
Tactic: Cross promotion with other influencers. Check.
Do you agree that Taylor is a PR and marketing super star?