Taylor Swift’s Sunday School Lessons

Taylor Swift at Nissan Stadium

Pop/Country music icon Taylor Swift preached to the masses in Nashville on May 7th. She broke attendance records at Nissan Stadium by performing for crowds of more than 70,000 people on the first two nights. The third night attendance was a mere 67,000. Sarcasm intended. But the third night is the one everyone is talking about. Those 67,000 Swifties waited for Ms. Swift to take the stage in heavy rain after a four-hour storm delay. Yep, four hours.

Nissan Stadium Taylor Swift All Clear post

Those who endured the wait got the Perfect Storm performance. It will top their dinner conversation topics of “What’s the most memorable concert you’ve ever seen?” The cast performed and choreographed 44 songs in the rain until 1:37 a.m. local time.

You don’t have to be a Taylor Swift fan to learn management, service, and branding lessons from her third show revival.

Sunday School lesson #1. What’s The Expectation? (Worship & Praise)

The Eras Tour is Taylor Swift’s first tour in five years. The Nashville concerts attracted fans from all over North America who wanted the bonus of a Music City weekend. Those fans paid big money for tickets, travel, hotels, food, and transportation. They expected to see a concert performed by one of the biggest names in music.

Do we ask ourselves, “What does our audience expect? What do our clients and our supporters expect?” Subconsciously we do, but I want those words to be spoken and seen daily by myself and the staff. It centers my thoughts on presenting a better production, a cleaner restroom, or a positive help desk experience. Taylor Swift’s team knew the expectations Sunday night, and they delivered.

Sunday School lesson #2. What Do We Have To Lose? (Sermon Time)

This isn’t spoken in the “Oh, well” non-chelate way we typically use this phrase. More than most superstar performers, Taylor Swift would’ve found a positive way to make her fans understand why the concert had to be canceled. There were deep discussions about the costs of rerouting, the overtime pay for contract workers, and the disappointment of her fans. I have no idea about the details of those conversations, but I would be willing to bet the last point, disappointment, got a lot of discussions.

What will we lose when our fans walk away disappointed? Are we calculating the loss when we make decisions? I don’t mean a financial loss. Are we considering the damage to our image and brand? Will they come back next Sunday?

Sunday School lesson #3. Finish The Job. (The Altar Call)

I’m based in Nashville and I know people who attended the show. Nearly everyone I talked to mentioned the rain, the long wait, and being huddled in the concourse for almost four hours. The feedback that got my attention was their admiration of Taylor for giving the fans the same show in the pouring rain on Sunday as the fans got on Friday and Saturday nights.

Sunday School lesson #4. Be In The Moment. (Pass The Plate)

The lights supporting Taylor Swift from the Cumberland River pedestrian bridge.

During the Nashville tour, Taylor used the venue to make the stadium go nuts when she announced the July 7th release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). This will be the next album re-recorded after Big Machine sold her library masters against her wishes. Keeping with the purple theme of the album, she wore a purple gown during the announcement, and the pedestrian bridge across the Cumberland River next to the stadium lit up in purple. Ten minutes later, her social media accounts released the information to the world.

Are the announcements, proclamations, and big events of our brands synced with social media, websites, printed marketing, and outside marketing? How often do we start a campaign only to get a text from a staff member telling us we forgot to change the background images on the app and IG? How often do we forget to reference the style book? Do we have a style book for the brand? Does the staff know how to present the brand? Are we Chick-fil-A employees and saying, “My pleasure,” to every customer?

In a city with a legacy of Sunday night church services among the Protestant denominations, Taylor Swift held a revival and reminded us of the power of serving audience needs.

This originally appeared on LinkedIn May 17, 2023 https://bit.ly/3EwvAz7

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Ron Harrell is a contemporary media consultant specializing in brand analysis, strategy, execution, and talent coaching for radio and audio mediums. Connect with him for a No Cut & Paste review at www.harrellmediagroup.com

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