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Taylor Swift: Diluting Her Brand?

Taylor Swift seems awful busy...

Taylor Swift seems awful busy…

After watching Taylor Swift’s performance at the American Music Awards Sunday night, one thing was clear: This girl has come a long way from “Teardrops on my Guitar” and I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.

For those of you unfamiliar with Taylor Swift and her recent performance, here’s a little background: Taylor Swift established herself as a country music star with the release of her debut album in 2006. Her second and subsequent albums moved her more into the pop territory. However, her most recent performance of “I Knew You Were Trouble” enters the realm of dubstep, a genre of grimy/gritty electronic dance music characterized by overwhelming bass lines, reverberant drum patterns, and little if any emphasis on vocals—a far cry from a clear voice and an acoustic guitar.

With the release of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Taylor Swift joins the ranks of pop stars like Justin Beiber who are trying to incorporate the growing genre of dubstep into their sweet, vocal-laden music.

Don’t get me wrong—brands should and need to evolve and adapt to changing times, but they need to do it in a way that is authentic and true to their brand. They need to have credibility. In my mind, Taylor Swift has no credibility when it comes to electronic dance music. Strong vocals? Emotional and honest songwriting? Yes. Bass drops? No.

She needs to stop playing the “me too” game that many brands and companies find themselves doing and adapt in a way that leverages her existing credibility and is authentic to her brand. Otherwise, listeners (read: consumers) will see right through it and be turned off.

A great example of a brand that managed to evolve and remain competitive is Microsoft. Never known for their design, Windows 8 and Windows Phone are making headlines with their new interface by dramatically departing from anything we’ve seen before. Rather than play the “me too” catch-up game that other companies are doing with Apple, Microsoft differentiated itself by ditching the uniformly-sized app icons and creating “tiles” of color. And they’re doing it in a way that resonates with their brand. The tiles of color fit perfectly with their new, simple logo which itself consists of four tiles of color.

Who knew that Taylor Swift would ever be in the position to take notes from Microsoft?

By Tam Le, Client Associate, Landor New York, http://www.landor.com, November 19, 2012.  For the full article, please click here: http://landor.com/#!/talk/blog/taylor-swift-diluting-her-brand/

 

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