Sunday, January 4, 2015

Why I am big fan the Taylor Swift brand… What she teaches us about branding.

I am not personally a big fan of Taylor Swift as an artist (meaning I don’t buy her records – although I enjoy listening to her music). I am probably too old to relate to her lyrics, but my kids love her songs and I see her as a good role model for them.
However, I LOVE the Taylor Swift brand. Why? Because from a young age she’s developed an authentic, engaging , truthful relationships with her customers (sorry – her fans!).
If you have any doubts, check out Oliver Darcy’s article and the YouTube video… She is not a fabricated star, she is authentic and she genuinely cares about her customers (sorry – her fans!). The same happens backstage on her tours. A few weeks ago I heard on the radio listeners commenting on their various backstage experiences. Most of them said stars just show up for a few minutes, take a group picture and leave. Taylor Swift actually spends time with fans, has dinner with them, takes individual pictures, calls them by their names, wants to learn their personal stories…

What can TS teach us about branding then? Kevin Roberts, Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, perfectly describes the different between brand and what he calls lovemarks.

People have only 3 questions of any brand engagement:
1. do I want to experience it again?
2. do I want to share it?
3. do I want to improve it?

The key is to create an emotional experience and you get action. Brands are built on respect. Lovemarks are created out of respect and love.

Brands build loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason. Actually they inspire loyalty beyond attribute, benefit, range, price.

Brands aim to be irreplaceable. Lovemarks are irresistible.

Intimacy is the small touch, the perfect note and it is the future of business. The purpose of business is to make the world a better place for everyone. Intimacy is empathy, the brand in the audience’s heart, (not the audience at the brand’s heart).

Kevin Roberts takes it even further. “Brands are owned by companies, marketers, and stockholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them”.At a Cannes event back in 2012, he shared how marketers can build loyalty beyond reason for their brands through music and turn their brands into Lovemarks.

Takeout 3Es

Enthusiasm – (from Greek enthousiasmos). Be an irresistible force of nature. Risk it! Put music at the heart of your brand.

Execution – The audience won’t wait for inspiration: Form a music partnership. Start a conversation. Ignite a movement. Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast! Now!

Emotion – Music is life. Lead with your heart, and you will become priceless.

In a previous post, I explained how companies must find a new why to do business, meaning to connect emotionally with their customers.

A brand is the external reflection of a company’s inside culture and core values. In order for a brand to stay relevant, be different and unique, it must reinvent itself continuously. If a company’s products or services don’t change the game regularly, they suddenly become a commodity, as unique and innovative they could have been at some point. EVERY product and service becomes sooner than later a commodity. What’s critical is for the company to keep its brand relevant by innovating and bringing to life new game-changing products or services. You must keep delivering on your brand promise, day after day.

DON’T settle for being an er-brand. Your tactics are focused on being better at the same things that your competitors do. Red flags go up whenever I hear a pitch that explains how a new offering is just like another but is small-er, bigg-er, thinn-er, light-er, fast-er, sexi-er, whatev-er.
DO find a unique brand personality that translates into a unique customer experience, enabling your brand to rise above competitive comparison. Using brand personality in this way is not simply about developing creative communications; it’s about infusing every aspect of your operations with your unique character.

You have to switch your company’s focus from being transaction oriented to emotion oriented. A product is a transaction, an experience is an emotion. That’s your differentiator. 

It is easy to create a brand and a “promise”. What is hard to achieve is to deliver on the brand promise over and over again. As innovative as the brand promise may be at some point, other brands will follow and suddenly your promise will become commoditized, again.

As marketers, we all need to turn our brands into lovemarks. Like Taylor Swift.

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