Weeks ago, Taylor Swift graced Kansas City with her presence. She sang and danced to a sold-out Sprint Center audience that had purchased their tickets nearly a year in advance. I am not one to read People Magazine or fantasize about stardom. My tickets to Taylor’s show fell into my lap when a friend graciously gave me tickets. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the average ticket price on day two of her KC stop was $329.86. Although I am not a T.Swift super fan, she schooled me in subversive innovation.
The 1989 World Tour drives city-to-city parading around 27 semis hauling stage equipment. Simultaneously, a second group of 27 semis parades en route to the next tour city. At each stop, the crew sets up shop with world-renowned production level cameras, stereo systems and lights. Then, our leading lady, Taylor, performs the same act over and over again at a level only Broadway emulates. Management innovation has ensured a flawless performance for the Taylor Swift enterprise regardless of performance location.
Taylor’s success also illustrates marketing innovation. New to world of the Taylor fan club, I stood at my seat staring at the stage as the crowd waved their phones capturing every moment. Like the other 13,000 attendees, I snapped photo and posted it promptly to Facebook to further the Taylor Swift craze:
Then I noticed something unnerving. Taylor performed in front of a mega video screen with video for every song. The artistic and cleaver videos on the mega screen seemed to feature several actresses. But in closer review, the video imagery Taylor performed in front of showcased only Taylor dressed in elaborate costumes. Marketing innovation positioned Taylor as more than the artist but established her as the product. Beyond merchandizing shirts and accessories like typical bands, they’ve branded everything Taylor. Taylor is the product she is evolving.
Taylor has made the turn from adolescence to adulthood. Her fame started as an innocent country star and she developed into an iconic pop sensation. Within her 1989 album she left behind the boy-crazed romanticized songs and embraced more mature lyrics. Like all good brands adapt to change, Taylor too is reinventing herself.
All the while, she takes full advantage of owned, earned and paid media. Taylor tells her story before others get to it. She owns her message in the popular cat photos she shares on Instagram, but also within serious writing like the WSJ titled, “For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story.” Within this segment she states, “This moment in music is so exciting because the creative avenues an artist can explore are limitless.” Taylor recognizes here musicians have many outlets. There is no one better to make this point, her brand takes advantages of the many channels to distinctively market itself.