5 marketing lessons from Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s romance

What happens when you team up with the world’s biggest pop star and a two-time Super Bowl champion? The romance of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce is shown, which has a lot of excitement.

But amidst all the excitement, abuse and Instagram flirting, the situation offers some useful insights into marketing – and as an expert in sports marketing, I know it’s a topic worth paying attention to.

Here are five lessons the NFL and other experiential marketers can consider to enhance their brand and reputation.

1) “Spaces”: Embrace audience expansion

“Because you know I love players…and you love the game!” —“Blank Space,” 2014

Great entertainment marketers know how to fill the blanks. And Swift has given the NFL a unique opportunity to expand its appeal to a demographic – young women – who may previously have had no interest in football. Swifties, as Swift fans know, are eager to see the pop icon embrace love. So whenever she goes to the stadium to cheer on her new boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Kelce — which she’s done four times in the last two months and may soon do again — there’s a half-frenzy. Is.

While serious football fans want the focus to remain on football, the NFL is smart to capitalize on this opportunity. After all, Swift is a mega-popular star: She has more charted songs (212), top-10 hits (42) and No. 1 song debuts (five) on the Billboard Top 100 than any other female musician in history.

The Chiefs are known for their winning ways and star power, and they are still attracting – and satisfying – their traditional fans. Yet Swift’s presence has brought a more playful tone to the games. Usually serious Chiefs coach Andy Reid began joking about the pairing (“I set them up”), while a meme about Swift leaving the stadium in a popcorn machine became a cross between interactive pop culture, celebrity, and sports. is a combination of levels. ,

Audience expansion is an effective strategy for businesses, as long as marketers do not alienate old fans by opening the door to new fans. And so far, it’s been beneficial to the NFL: Ratings soar when Swift attends a game, and sales of Kelce jerseys have also skyrocketed. This new interest in the game is welcome, especially after NFL television ratings among 18 to 35-year-olds had previously seen some decline.

Taylor Swift cheers from a suite with Travis Kelce's mother, Donna Kelce, as the Kansas City Chiefs play the Chicago Bears in September.  24, 2023.
Taylor Swift cheers from a suite with Travis Kelce’s mother, Donna Kelce, as the Kansas City Chiefs play the Chicago Bears in September. 24, 2023. (Cooper Neal/Getty Images)

2) “Wildest Dreams”: Take advantage of the many inspirations for fans

Say you’ll see me again / Even if it’s only in your worst dreams. —“Wildest Dreams,” 2014

The biggest dream of an entertainment or sports marketer is to be able to bring in all types of fans and cater to their individual reasons for being there. That’s why marketers are wise to think about “psychographics” in addition to demographic appeal. This means that rather than segmenting audiences based solely on demographics – such as young women or college students – marketers tailor their appeals to the lifestyle, interests, activities and way of thinking of consumers.

Research I co-authored shows that engaged sports fans are motivated by psychological desires such as escape and building self-esteem – everyone wants to be associated with the winner – as well as social motives such as strengthening group bonds and Want to participate in traditions and rituals.

Football is known for intense strategies, manly bravery and violent hits. So the swift crossover gives NFL sports marketers an opportunity to attract new fans with different motivations. A good example is when the NFL changed its X (formerly Twitter) bio to “NFL (Taylor’s version)” – a nod to Swifty in-group identity and humor. New fans who are attracted by such appeals may later become more serious about the sport.

3) “You’re with me”: Make consumers feel like they’re with me

“If you can see that I am the one who understands you, have been here all along, then why can’t you? “You are mine.” —“You’re with Me,” 2008

When it comes to sports and especially football, some people think that this sport is not for them. The NFL and the Chiefs now have a unique opportunity to suddenly capture interest from a group of people who are not known as football superfans. But to convert them into regular viewers, they have to make sure the newcomers feel a sense of belonging.

A subtle example of this type of reach occurred when leaders used social media welcome swift – and by extension, his loyal fans – to the “Chiefs Kingdom.” Likewise, the league has made it abundantly clear that Swifties are welcome in the stands, even if a small but loud group of NFL fans would prefer to stay away. This openness is good for business.

Kansas City Chiefs fans hold signs for Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce during an NFL game on October 22, 2023.
Kansas City Chiefs fans hold signs for Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce during an NFL game on October 22, 2023. (Kara Durrett/Getty Images)

4) “Love Story”: Take advantage of human co-branding and appeal to entertainment and imagination

“You’ll be the prince, and I’ll be the princess/It’s a love story, baby, just say yes.” —“Love Story,” 2008

I study human brands – people, well-known or emerging, who are the subject of marketing, interpersonal or inter-organizational communications. In this age of social media, human branding has never been more important. Having a strong personal brand is associated with more endorsements, Google searches, merchandise sales, and ticket sales. So Swift and Kelce are taking advantage of human co-branding.

What makes these special human brands so compelling? Many Swifties are invested in Taylor’s romantic life and are encouraging her to find love and choose a white dress one day. This interest and imagination takes the form of a parasocial – or one-sided – relationship, where one party invests emotional energy and time while the other person is unaware of the first person’s existence. Although these can be potentially harmful, in most cases parasocial interactions are a source of escapism, entertainment, and imagination.

In an age of negative news and devastating news, a story that is fun and entertaining can be powerful. And the research in our Advertising and Branding book shows that sports marketers are keen to capitalize on positive appeals.

A Taylor Swift fan holds a sign in the stands at the Chiefs-Minnesota Vikings game on October 8, 2023.
A Taylor Swift fan holds a sign in the stands at the Chiefs-Minnesota Vikings game on October 8, 2023. The game was held in Minneapolis, more than a thousand miles from Boston. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

5) “Exile”: Don’t just think locally

“You’re no longer my homeland/So what am I defending now?” – “Exile,” 2020

The ultimate insight for brands and marketers should not be constrained by geography. With digital commerce and social media, researchers have become increasingly interested in “distant fans” who travel long distances to events. In a recent study about professional cycling fanship in sporting-event sponsorship, I and my colleagues found that people who traveled from great distances to attend a sporting event were more invested in the event and more willing to purchase merchandise. . This has major implications for new fans who may travel to Kansas City to catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift.

The Swift/Kelce relationship and the NFL making light of it is an example of why it’s important not to be influenced by geography. As was announced on a cardboard sign at a recent Chiefs game in Kansas City, “I came here to see Taylor Swift!”

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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