Welcome to your message strategy era
Confession time: Even though I grew up in the heyday of grunge and hip-hop, I’m now a Swiftie. I took my teen daughters to the Eras Tour and left a different person. There, I traded friendship bracelets with gusto and swapped my trusty ’90s flannel for glitter and feathers.
Soon after, Tay-Tay took over my playlist and TikTok algorithm. In her Vogue “73 questions” interview, she said if she weren’t a musician, she’d be in advertising. Because writing slogans is like writing song hooks.
No doubt about it, she’s a lyrical genius. Her songs pull at the heartstrings, break records, and win over fans across the globe. But is Taylor Swift a marketing genius? Could her writing skills translate to ads that break through media clutter and win over customers? Much like Taylor did on stage before the Midnights Era set, let’s take a deep dive — into her music. To see what we can learn about message strategy.
Your greatest “Love Story” should be with your customers
Hard truth. Most people don’t really want to know about your brand. They want to know how your brand relates to them. They want you to hear them, see them, and just get them. Taylor Swift has an unparalleled gift for connecting with her audience. She understands them and writes in a way that draws them into the song’s message. Her lyrics walk the fine line between being personal and relatable. Next time you listen to her songs, notice how often she says the word “you.”
“You belong with me.”
“You call me up again just to break me like a promise.”
“You’re on the phone with your girlfriend. She’s upset.”
Y-O-U. Those three little letters are magic! There’s no better way to tell your customers you’re thinking about them — and that you get them — than by speaking directly to them, and about them. Make your message customer-centric. That small change from me, me, me to you, you, you makes a big impact.
Clear messages get customers saying “Look what you made me do.”
Taylor doesn’t beat around the bush with her songwriting. We clearly know what and who she’s talking about. (Sorry for your luck, Harry Styles, John Mayer, and Jake Gyllenhaal.) Your marketing messages should groove with the same clarity. Skip the “Trouble” of cryptic jargon, vague language, and incomplete information. Keep your message simple and relatable.
When it comes to writing a strong CTA, Taylor is a “Mastermind.” She’d never drop a “Learn more” and leave it at that. In “Blank Space” alone, Taylor tells the listener more than twenty things to do. Your takeaway: Don’t leave your readers wondering what comes next. Clearly tell them what they need to know. Be direct, be punchy, and watch those results stack up as fast as Swift’s Grammy nods.
A more compelling message. “Are you ready for it?”
Storytelling. The ability to craft a narrative that makes people feel is no small feat. It’s part art and part science. It’s also Taylor Swift’s secret sauce. She has a way of showing rather than just telling. Look at these lyrics:
She’s cheer captain / And I’m on the bleachers.”
She could just as easily have said, “She was popular. I was a dork.” But those rich details set the scene. They put you in the middle of the story.
How can you leverage business storytelling in your marketing campaigns? Use true customer stories, whether through case studies or testimonials, or as inspiration for other materials. Does your brand or company have a compelling origin story? Share it. People connect with stories. Use them to paint true pictures and evoke authentic emotions.
Messages that are under control and “Glitch”-free
The biggest lessons about controlled messaging don’t come from Taylor Swift’s lyrics. They come from every aspect of her brand. She and her team are strategic and detail oriented. Look at the Eras in her latest tour. Every album has a different color, mood, and wardrobe. From the color of her fingernail polish to her use of emojis on social media posts, Taylor is the queen of calculation.
Now, I’m not suggesting your CEO take your company’s color palette to the nail salon. But I am saying you should do a brand assessment. No matter your industry, whether it’s health care, high tech, supply chain, or something else, every detail matters. From the tone of your copy to the artwork in the lobby of your building — you’re sending a message. Is it saying what you want customers to hear?
Are you ready to hit some message strategy high notes?
Channel your inner Taylor by getting to know and speaking to your audience, belting out crystal-clear messages, spinning captivating stories, and consistently driving home your message. And if you need help, our band of counterparts can back you up with message strategy expertise. So, get in touch. Your customers will soon sing your praises louder than an arena full of Swifties at the Eras Tour.