With a net worth of USD$280 million at 27 years old, Taylor Swift is a legitimate superstar of our times.
Widely acknowledged (and awarded) as a talented singer-songwriter, master of social media and marketing and branding genius, there is no denying that Swift is a force to be reckoned with.
But this will not be a post about How Taylor Swift Became a Mega Brand. After all, there are lots of articles out there after all detailing just how fantastic her marketing and branding is, how masterful her social media usage.
What we’re really interested in is how Taylor Swift has used truth as the foundation of her brand, always using it to her advantage.
It is perhaps a reflex for most brands to want to sugarcoat their story – create something sweet that goes down easy, skate over the not-so-nice to project a sunny persona that they believe everyone loves. But in the real world, for real people, things aren’t wonderful and positive all the time. There are scandals, gossip, fights, disagreement, hurt feelings, mean, nasty, general unpleasantness.
How you deal with negativity reveals a lot about your personality. By taking a stand and telling the truth, you’re also controlling your own narrative. What other people say about you becomes less important than what YOU are saying.
There’s no need to run or hide – the truth can set you free. And may even bring great success.
Swift did not become a sensation by being sticky saccharine sweet. Yes, her music may be candy to the ears, but the content is based on her real life. Her songs lay bare about ex-boyfriends, fake friends, celebrity feuds, controversies, her “bad reputation” (which is how the media perceives her feisty persona). As a singer-songwriter who writes her own music, her life and her truth is always on display, warts and all. And it is this approach that first made her fans fall in love with her when she first started out.
Talking truth about her own life makes her identifiable. And who doesn’t love a great story, particularly one that is true?
Her stories have proved to be immensely lucrative so far. When her new single “Look What You Made Me Do” dropped, there was a tidal wave of news coverage. Even if you are not a fan, you surely would have been fed one or two articles breathlessly covering the single’s arrival.
And while you can chalk this up to her massive PR machine, it’s undeniable that the content was calibrated to set tongues wagging. The song lyrics and video are symbol laden, taking aim at many of the star’s critics in recent years. It references her battles with tech giants and fellow celebrities, her sexual assault court case, ex-boyfriend and backstabbing friend dramas, generally throwing shade far and wide at her enemies. There’s so much going on, and so much for fans and media outlets to dissect, its bound to be a juicy story for days to come.
The song is now #1 in America, breaking all kinds of records, showing that great things can happen if you can just simply own your truth.
Does your brand have a Love Story with the truth or is it just Blank Space to you?
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