The Taylor Swift Effect: Small Business Branding Success

The Taylor Swift Effect: Small Business Branding Success

Hate her or love her, the Taylor Swift Effect on local economies is undeniable. The Eras Tour still has a year to go and has already generated over $1.04 billion, breaking records for highest grossing tour and largest attendance totals on the way. Local businesses in the cities she stops at are also reaping the benefits, a phenomenon dubbed The Taylor Swift effect. Swift’s stint in Cincinnati last July generated over $48 million in local spending, and her shows in Chicago and Minneapolis set records for most occupied hotel rooms, ever. 

Whether you are a start-up looking to stand out from the crowd, or an established small business looking to grow your clientele and garner trust, we can all learn a thing or two from Miss Americana and her marketing.

What is The Taylor Swift Effect?

Simply put, when Taylor Swift is in town, people are spending money. Dining out at local restaurants to sip on lavender haze cocktails, waiting in line for hours to buy custom merch and splurging on plane tickets for flight 1989 from New Zealand to Australia are all examples of how Swiftonomics boosts local economies. It doesn’t stop there; The Taylor Swift effect knows how to transcend physical boundaries and seep its way into anything (or anyone) she is affiliated with.

Swift’s new lover, Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, saw a 400 percent spike in jersey sales and his Instagram followers jumped to over 6.4 million after dating rumors swirled. Kelce’s mother, Donna, has since locked down partnerships with Ziploc and State Farm, while his sister-in-law Kylie is the newest face for a Dove campaign to keep young girls in sports. Whether it’s boosting GDP sales by 3.7 percent or helping a small donut shop in Minneapolis to their first ever sold out day, it doesn’t look like the Taylor Swift effect is going out of style anytime soon.

Engaging Your Audience: Strategies for Creating Community and Connections

Taylor Swift doesn’t sell out arenas just by being a talented lyricist who can put on a great show. What Swift has done is create a community, one where little girls can create friendship bracelets to trade while their moms don a bejeweled sequin jacket. A community where she uses her platform to stand up for what she believes in, while simultaneously sharing goofy videos conversing with her cats and her love of the number 13. 

Brand loyalty is Swift’s number one marketing strategy, and Swifties have shown time and time again that they will always come out in full force for her.

Small Business Success Story 

Creating these connections as a small business is what builds trust and keeps clients coming back for more. A Kansas city based beauty salon called Hoopla Nails is following in Swift’s footsteps by leveraging social media as a way to make new (and nurture existing) connections within their community. They put the call out far and wide to Swifties in their community, creating a social media campaign based around the budding Swift/Kelce relationship. Releasing a “LOVE” polish set prior to the Super Bowl and offering a “Tayvis” code to email subscribers proved to be a sell-out strategy for the small business. 

Sharing a product you believe in while finding a new way to appeal to a targeted audience is a smart strategy and a great way to grow your brand. 

The Power of Authenticity: How Taylor Swift’s Authenticity Translates to Small Business Branding

A pillar of the Taylor Swift Effect is creating connections through authenticity, and Taylor Swift has never shied away from showing her delicate side to fans. Swift gave fans an intimate glimpse into a break-up with her song “Dear John” (they’re lookin’ at you, Mayer). And when she wrote “you just need to take several seats and. . . control your urges to scream about all the people you hate, ’cause shade never made anybody less gay” she let the whole world know where she stands on LGBTQ+ rights, and most importantly let her audience know that when they come to her concerts they are in a safe place, where they too can be unapologetically authentic.

Small Business Success Story

In a world of Tik-Tok trends and AI-generated images, clientele want an authentic experience now more than ever.  Kristin Juszczyk, a self-taught designer and wife of NFL fullback Kyle Juszcyzk, has spent years upcycling football jerseys to create custom jackets, vests, blankets and more. Juszcyzk picked her lane and stayed in it, and her hard work and commitment to social sharing paid off when she gifted Swift a custom-made jacket. Swift wore the jacket to a playoff game in front of millions of Americans, and less than a month later Juszcyzk signed her first licensing deal with the NFL. Staying true to your branding strategies is something that your target audience will appreciate, and sharing your story along the way can only bring good karma. 

Adaptability in Action: Navigating Market Changes and Evolving Your Brand

The rise to the top for Swift didn’t come without a few bumps in the road and a little bad blood. When Kanye West stormed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 and stole the microphone from Swift, it was just the beginning of an over ten-year-long feud between the two. In 2019, Scooter Braun bought Big Machine Records and stripped Swift of her rights to every song she wrote and recorded in her first six albums. Swift had a choice: stay silent and continue to play the “good girl”, or stand up to her bullies and come back better than ever.

Luckily for Swifties, she got hotter and she got smarter right in the nick of time. Swift released her album “Reputation” in 2017 – selling over two million copies in the first week alone – with tracks like “Look What You Made Me Do” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, allegedly aimed at West. In 2021, the “Taylor’s Version” Era started, when she began re-recording her first six albums so she could own the rights to her music once and for all.

Small Business Success Story

What can we learn here? It’s never too late to change up branding strategies or try a new business tactic. When Redd’s Restaurant and Bar in Carlstadt, New Jersey realized they would be serving a much younger crowd than normal on Memorial Day weekend, 2023, owner Douglas Palsi knew he had to switch up his game plan. Instead of relying on profits from serving alcoholic drinks, Palsi began shuttling concertgoers to and from the concert, charging $15 per ride. The result? A holiday weekend that proved to be 50 times more profitable than any prior concert weekends.

What We Can Take Away

The Taylor Swift effect demonstrates time after time that when you connect with your target audience, create authentic relationships and take risks when it’s time to evolve your brand, you win. Swift’s career spans 18 years and has its fair share of ups and downs, a reminder that playing the long game and securing brand loyalty along the way can be an important key to success. 

So…are you ready for it? Book a Free Strategy Call for more advice on marketing strategies and small business branding. 


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