Last October, I attended the Taylor Swift concert in Atlanta with my two daughters. I was blown away by the concert, but also by Taylor's business acumen. I wrote a blog the next morning titled 10 Ways To Run Your Business More Like Taylor Swift.
In my blog, I highlighted 10 different ways I saw Tay-Tay crushing it in her business, and how we can apply the lessons to our own fields.
On Monday night, Taylor Swift won her 10th Grammy Award, and it was the biggest award of the night, Album of the Year. She is, and always will be, the first female to win the award twice. Taylor Swift took advantage of the moment to deliver a speech that is an incredible case study in great public relations.
First, here's the abbreviated backstory for you "non-swifties."It all started when Kanye stepped on Taylor's MTV video award acceptance in 2009.
Taylor "shook it off," and poured her energies into creative endeavors including the song "innocent." She did what she always does. She turned her personal adversity to inspiration for her fans.
After thousands of internet parodies and memes, it seemed like the hatchet was finally buried last August when Taylor presented Kanye West a Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs.
Just a few weeks before music's biggest night, Kanye once again attempted to step on Taylor's moment when he released a song called "Famous" that contained the following tasteless and misogynistic lyrics,
(I won't be taking my daughters to a Kanye West show.)
So, when Taylor went to accept the award for 1989 as Album of the Year, there was a bit of an elephant in the room. What can get lost in feuds is the fact that the album is actually really amazing. As an example to the quality of the songs, many are just as enjoyable with completely different musical interpretations. Ryan Adams released his own interpretation of the entire album that is not a parody, but rather an incredible tribute.
Here is Taylor's acceptance speech. I'll then break out some public relations lessons.
- Don't make it about you, make it about your customers. (She starts by thanking her fans and addresses her speech to her supporters, not her detractors.)
- Bring attention back to your offering. (She encourages her fans to focus on the work, the process.)
- Don't legitimize your adversaries or competition. (She never mentions Kanye by name.)
- Be gracious.
Maybe your company is under attack. Maybe your competition is speaking ill of you. Maybe you've lost a deal to a competitor and you want to bad mouth them. Your instinct might be to lash back, to clarify, to be defensive. Don't! Tap into your inner Taylor Swift and "shake it off" in style.