MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

What B2B Marketers Can Learn from a Swiftie: Create, Connect, Call Back Like Taylor Swift with Ahava Leibtag [Part 3]

And now (drumroll)… Part 3 of Ahava Leibtag’s fall 2022 #mpb2b presentation, Break Through the Noise: B2B Like Rockstar Taylor Swift.

In Part 1, we learned how to take Taylor’s lead in keeping the attention of our current customers while bringing in new fans/customers.

In Part 2, Ahava showed us how to give old content a new life by refreshing and repurposing like a true Swiftie.

Read on for Part 3 of Ahava’s B2B Forum presentation. Below, she’ll show you how you can visually prime your community a’ la Tay Tay…


Ann [Handley] talked this morning about what would happen if you covered up your logo. Would people know it was you?…

So this is Taylor’s original Fearless that her original record label produced and next to it is Taylor’s version of it. (A little Easter egg in here… The shirt that she’s wearing was the shirt that Romeo was wearing in Love Story. Yes, the depth of my knowledge is extraordinarily extraordinary. All her fans know this though : ) 


Anyway, I want to point something out to you… There is no title on this. She doesn’t need a title on her albums. 

This is the original Red album and Taylor’s version of Red next to it. She’s wearing a red hat and has red on her middle finger, so that tells you a little something. So the title is there, but it’s hidden. 


And this is Midnights. 

And you can see what both these old album versions and Taylor’s versions have in common: You see her face… and all of her albums are like this. She has this sort of visual flow to her brand. 

So you’re probably thinking to yourself, “This woman’s crazy,” because how am I going to walk into my executive’s office and say, “We’re, we’re not gonna put our logo on the next thing that we do,” or “We’re going to diminish our branding elements.” But you’re going to show them this example. 

This is Smurfit Kappa. They do packaging and supply chain logistics, yet they find a way to make the visual element interesting by using the product as the brand hero. 

So it’s a little hard to see here, but this box is holding a skyscraper and they use the fact that they do this specialized kind of packaging in their marketing. You see their logo—it’s there—but it’s not the main visual element that you’re attracted to. You’re attracted to what it is they actually do. And it feels imaginative, it feels creative. 

So there are ways in your own marketing to use your brand elements or thematic elements without hitting people in the face visually every single time with your logo. 

So how do we anticipate and connect like a Swiftie and build that community and that attention create anticipation?

Find ways to clean up those emails and the kinds of ways that you make an impression when they first follow you or first start to engage with your brand. And feel free to play with your brand themes. You never know what you might be able to come up with. 

Find ways to make your community excited about what you might be releasing next. Get them excited. Maybe gamify some stuff… and start to connect in expected and unexpected ways. 

Okay, so this is the last thing that Miss Tay Tay does that I think we can learn from. She calls back.

So we’re back to the beginning of Taylor’s song, All Too Well. 

“I walked through the door with you

The air was cold

But something about it felt like home somehow

And I, left my scarf there at your sister’s house

And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now…”

So this scarf she talks about—and it’s the holy grail of any Taylor fan.

Here is the famous paparazzi photo of Taylor and Jake Gyllenhaal, and this is the scarf…

So fans assumed “All Too Well” was about Jake Gyllenhaal and she confirmed it for them… How? Because in the video for We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” which is another song people think is about Jake, she literally wallpapers the house with scarf material.


So here’s how we call back like a Swiftie.

There’s a difference between a community, an audience, and a reader, right? Taylor knows that her community knows about the scarf, she knows that they know about all of her different Easter eggs.

Then there’s an audience. Sometimes they know; sometimes they don’t know.

And then there’s a reader who might just be passing through… 

Take ’em from a reader to an audience member to a part of a community. Keep talking about the same thing through a new lens, right?

So how are we gonna be like Tay Tay? We’re gonna rewrite and repurpose. We’re gonna build anticipation and community and we’re gonna call back.

And the next time you’re in a meeting and somebody wants to do something that’s humdrum or boring and they tell you your idea is crazy… What are you gonna do? 

You’re gonna Shake it Off.


You can watch Part 3 of Ahava’s presentation here:


Published 2/16/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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