In an interview with Vogue for its 70 Questions series, Taylor Swift once mentioned that if she wasn't an international pop sensation, she would have pursued a career in advertising. Seeing how she has a vice-like grip on her public image – it is not hard to see why.
From crooning over ex-lovers to speaking out against bullying of all scales and against tech giants, the songstress has proven herself as a force to be reckoned with. According to Forbes she is now worth US$250 million, making her the youngest of America’s self made richest young women. She has also clinched a total of 10 Grammy awards, five Guinness World records and an Emmy award.
Female empowerment. Check.
Financial success. Check.
A legion of supermodels as her flock of best friends. Check.
Charming Briton as a boyfriend. Check, check, check.
Needless to say, brand “Taylor Swift” has successfully embodied the #Goals movement that the current generation is so enamoured with. For those of you who don't know what the #Goals movement is, it plays on the show of perfection of one’s life on social media platforms.
Yet, despite her carefully curated image, the pop sensation has recently met with an exceedingly harsh amount of backlash on two fronts, one from former ex-boyfriend and DJ Calvin Harris and one from the famed Kim Kardashian-Kanye West clan.
The attacks from Kardashian fans came after the star posted a video detailing her husband Kanye West's conversation with Swift and asking for her blessing in releasing his new controversial song “Famous” which attacks her. The song, which she later called "misogynistic" also had her publicists claiming she was unaware that she would be portrayed in a negative light.
All this drama led to the rise of trending hashtags #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and #KimExposedTaylorParty respectively. Hilarious meme reactions from internet users soon flooded the Twitter-verse.
There are more important things to talk about... Why can't people use their voice for something that fucking matters?
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) July 18, 2016
Everyone in this industry needs to get their heads out of a hole and look around to realize what's ACTUALLY happening in the REAL world — Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) July 18, 2016
i cant believe @KimKardashian just won the pulitzer prize for investigative journalism
— Matt Bellassai (@MattBellassai) July 18, 2016
Celebrities too are now taking sides proclaiming their love (or hate) over the blonde superstar. This then begs the question, is this the beginning of the end for Swift's carefully curated public image?
Fast, real time responses.
In an attempt to negate the drama following Kardashian's video leak, Swift promptly posted a response on her Instagram and Twitter page. She carefully discredited the video by pointing out loopholes.
That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet. A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on
Swift, always known to be vocal, made her voice heard even in this instance when a safer move would have been to go into hiding.
The art of storytelling
Storytelling is something which Swift has definitely found success in, not only through her music where fans can take a good look into her life but also outside her music.
One recent example would be the release of information on her new relationship with British actor Tom Hiddleston, best known for playing Loki in the Thor and Avengers series. Fans had the opportunity to see the couple's relationship develop from dancing up a storm at the Met Gala’s after party to their subsequent frolic on the rocks.
Coincidentally, the news of the happy couple broke on the same day as Kim Kardashian’s interview with GQ magazine where she addressed the tumultuous rift between her husband Kanye West and Swift.
According to Google Trends, the topics “Tom Hiddleston” and “Taylor Swift” generated a far lot more interest than “Kim Kardashian” on the same day where both articles were released (pictured below).
Twitter users were also quick to point out the coincidence:
I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Tom Hiddleston has a underwear spread in W magazine five days after most of America learned his name. — Tyler Coates (@tylercoates) June 20, 2016
Hiddleswift was staged to take the attention away from Kim K's revelation?? Omg that's some Olivia Pope PR shit — Patrick (@grryffindork) June 20, 2016
So, we wonder, did Swift have any part to play in the coincidence of having The Sun article on her new beau being published on the same day as Kardashian’s GQ Interview which addresses this?
Despite all the drama which has unfolded, Swift and her team has had great success until now in creating a narrative which brands and marketers definitely can learn from.
As a marketing journalist, despite the epic drama going on with Swift, I am floored by her commitment to her brand DNA and how she has successfully pandered to the younger generation’s #Goals movement.
As a Hiddleston fan, I am heartbroken.