Listening to “Red: Taylor’s version” brought back memories of a 13-year-old me. Playing that song on repeat was all the 13-year-old me could think of. And that song introduced me to all other works by Taylor Swift.
Not long ago her album “Red” was re-released along with two more words. ‘Taylor’s version. Taylor’s version is simply her winning back her masters of the Red album. She re-recorded all of the songs from the album red and finally put them out in the world as her.
What astonished me the most about the “Red: Taylor’s version” era is how much people still want to support her!! The album sold 325,000 copies (as reported by Forbes) in just 5 days and the Swifties won’t stop gushing about this record.
These days, when physical CDs are on a decline, Taylor swift racks up massive numbers of physical copies sales. Not only that, but her fans also want to support her in every little way possible. Streaming the album, buying merchandise, CDs, etc, or simply talking more about her projects. Even if it’s in a small way, Swifties want to support their queen with all of their heart!!
And that got me wondering, why does Taylor swift have such a lot and a dedicated fanbase? How does she make her fans come back to her every time? Is there a secret recipe? A formula of how it’s done? The more I researched the more I became certain about a particular point.
Taylor Swift is a perfect case study for understanding consumer retention and fan/customer loyalty.
1. Authenticity and being true to your brand:
The most important reason why people gravitate towards a certain brand or personality is because of what it stands for.
A brand is simply the idea of what a product/service/person [in Taylor’s case] represents. When these ideologies are consistent with the products, services, or your personality, people find you authentic. And if that authenticity is your customer’s 1st impression about you, it’s the best impression!!
Although Taylor Swift’s brand had evolved over the years, she started as a young small-town country girl with a guitar and big dreams. These themes were evident in her very 1st albums like her self-titled “Taylor swift”; “Fearless” and “Speak more”.
These albums were her perspectives, about the feelings of a young Taylor and about the stories she wants to tell. Storytelling is one of the essential elements of all of her albums and with her recent releases; more specifically “Folklore” and “Evermore”, she exhibited this element to her full potential. These albums also mark her return to her country roots.
Immaculate storytelling, Taylor’s beautiful voice, and heartfelt guitar chords once again reminded fans of the Taylor swift they met for the 1st time back in 2006–07. Of course, Taylor’s music has evolved over some time, and she has tried various genres too but the one thing that never changed was that she stayed true to her brand and people fell deeply for her authenticity.
2. Get to know your customers better:
Knowing what it is exactly your fans/customers want sounds like something really simple in theory but is the most difficult thing to do in practice. It requires a lot of research. What is it that moves your customers? What causes them to get all riled up and excited? All of this insight helps to build a product/service that would exceed your customer’s expectations. Managing to live up to the expectations set by the customers automatically reinstalls their trust in your brand. And this trust is converted into loyalty.
Taylor Swift not only manages to live up to the expectation but also provides her fans beyond that. And she can do that simply because she knows what it is exactly that makes her fans want to listen to her. She focuses on those key elements; thus, with every album and single released, she retains her fan’s attention and loyalty.
3. Engaging with customers:
Where other artists charge people for the meet and greet, one of the most special and looked forward to events by a fan, Taylor doesn’t charge anything. She wants to have as much of a personalized a connection with her fans. Surprising them with random visits, making hand-made Valentine’s Day cards for them, crashing a fan’s bridal shower, and photobombing them, Taylor does it all to make her fans feel special.
She also invented the term of “Taylurking” [seriously guys, just google it. I’m not joking] which means when TS stalks her fans on social media. Taylor leaves no moment to connect and engage with her fans.
These gestures from her make the Swifties feel recognized and loved and nothing is more mind-boggling than you being recognized by your fav!!
Forming a personal connection with your fans/customers might seem a tedious task a first but in long term, it pays off. Send a personalized message or just adding a small personal touch will work its magic!!
4. Always deliver a quality product:
Having a strong brand image will be of no use if your product or service is of poor quality. Putting out a good quality product is the most proven way to gain the trust of your customers. The trust that you gain acts as the medium to retain them and their loyalty.
When Taylor Swift puts out a body of work, people know it’s going to be one of the finest records of the year [look at her music videos!! They are just too good]. Taylor remained consistent with her work and let it do the talking for her. That’s why people trust her and hence pre-order their records or merch.
Had Taylor been inconsistent with the quality, people wouldn’t have shown such massive support for her!!
5. Make people feel part of the process:
There is nothing that strongly connects people more than feeling part of something. One is more attached to the furniture that they made, rather than the one they simply bought. Try asking this yourself and you will find the answer. This is true in a brand’s case too. A brand can grow and evolve over some time too.
Taylor swift is now in her 30s and she had a nearly a decade-old career now. But she is still one of the most relevant pop-culture figures today. I mentioned before too that Taylor’s music has gone through transitions of its own. From an innocent and naïve country girl in her album “Speak now” to moving to a big city in her song “Welcome to New York” of her album “1989” which marked her actual and symbolic movement to a new city and thus a new era of her life. Then came the “Reputation” era of a misunderstood Taylor. And finally, we met the poet and storyteller Tay in “Folklore”.
All of her works showcase an evolution, an evolution that her fans can be a part of too. This growing together created a strong sense of attachment between the Swifties and Taylor. She is someone they can be proud of and feel proud of growing alongside.
Plus, the marketing genius in Taylor swift always finds new and innovative ways to get the fans involved in the process of an album rollout. She drops clues and hints, more like a puzzle that her fans want to solve. These trick hype up Taylor’s projects.
And that’s how she has done it!!
To conclude, Taylor started with a strong brand image and made consistent efforts to enhance it further. Her efforts continue to date and now I’m keen to know what her next move will be!!
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