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B2B Marketing, B2B PR, Content we like, Guides and advice, Opinion, Sector knowledge

What B2B brands can learn from Taylor Swift’s art of storytelling

OK I admit it, I’m a secret Swifty. I can’t help but admire her. Not only is she a prolific song writer, incredible businesswomen, a true artist and performer, but she can tell a story like no other. I was lucky enough to witness her amazing performance at Wembley on Friday night. (Actually, there was no luck involved in getting tickets – it was hard work, eight devices and three people waiting patiently for the queue to count down). But enough with the fangirling, after watching the show (along with Prince William and Nicola Coughlan) I started thinking about why she’s so popular and I believe that it comes down to her fantastic storytelling.

It’s well documented that each of her songs are based on her real-life events – from meeting someone special, and subsequent break ups, to dealing with a broken heart, and even the emotional tribute to her late grandmother, Marjorie. All these intensely personal songs hit you with the emotions that she feels. There is honesty, transparency and authenticity at the heart of them. And this is the key to great storytelling.

Be authentic

When we talk about creating great B2B stories that resonate with your audience and the media, we advise clients to keep these three factors at the centre. You can see this demonstrated in the recent LI Live that we did on ‘finding your HR tech story’, when we talked to two HR tech founders about the importance of stories that are real and authentic (especially during funding rounds). It not only helps drive awareness but increases engagement, builds trust and strengthens relationships with your stakeholders because they believe it too. They understand that it’s not fabricated or telling them something they want to hear. It’s genuine and has heart. Whether that’s the founders backstory, the companies growth story (warts and all) or even how the brand got the product to market – these insights talks to the struggle of making something better.

Share your personal story

Personal narratives make good stories. During the Eras tour, as Taylor Swift seamlessly moved into the Evermore/Folklore era (those costume changes are something else), she shared some background to the albums that she famously wrote during Covid. She told the crowd about how she was feeling at the time. Taking us with her as she traversed the range of emotions that we all felt. She set the scene for the audience and delivered a narrative that described those events and feelings based on her lived experience. Personal stories resonate. We understand the author better – we may even sympathise, be delighted or excited by it. Emotions are not just for B2C audiences – they work in B2B too. People buy from people.

Be creative in your storytelling

During the show, Taylor also talked about how all of her previous songs were based on personal experience, but she felt that it was time for a change (mainly because she doesn’t want to put her emotions on a stage so much anymore – she’s 34 now and has grown up in the spotlight). For the Evermore/Folklore albums, she instead created her own story with fictional characters that displayed the emotions that she wanted to share with her fans. It shows that you can create fictional narratives that still resonate as long as you’re honest about it. When you show the process and your thinking behind it, you capture the moment in a genuine way.

While some are now speculating that the Eras tour feels like a farewell tour, I feel lucky to have witnessed such a prolific storyteller share her narrative with passion, taking me and the other 90,000 people at Wembley on a journey that left us elated. Think about how you can do that with your communications.

Image credit: Paolo Villanueva 

About this article

Read time:

4 minutes

Category:

B2B Marketing, B2B PR, Content we like, Guides and advice, Opinion, Sector knowledge

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