'Are You Ready For It?: balancing control and chaos in culture 

By Dylan Davenport, EVP, Brand UK, Weber Shandwick and Jeffrey Spivock, EVP, Integrated Media Strategy, Retail, Weber Shandwick.


How can brands build value through culture?


Being in culture isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Data from Kantar and our own Earned Effect Study in partnership with the IPA show that cultural vibrancy and cultural saliency (how prominent and influential a brand is within the current cultural landscape) are crucial for growth.


But how do brands become more culturally relevant?


The truth is culture is an amorphous beast. Hard to tame. So don’t try to.  The art for brands is striking the perfect balance between maintaining control and navigating the chaos of culture.


To find this balance, we should focus beyond the obvious, and look to someone who is not only a cultural juggernaut in her own right, but the most culturally salient figure in the UK at this very moment.


Taylor Swift.


Essentially, how can brands be more ‘Taylor’? After all, maintaining control and embracing chaos is Taylor’s approach to everything.


We see four key parallels that are particularly salient to brands:


💃 Communities: Taylor systematically embraces new fandoms and opportunities in a way that’s authentic to her.


🎤 Storytelling: Taylor builds a dialogue and rewards fans and influencers who co-create and interpret her work.


🤝 Connections: Taylor helps fans connect through her, not just with her.


🌈 Issues: Taylor is always human, has learnt to stand up to what matters to her, and as for the rest? She simply ‘shakes it off.’


During our UNLOCK25 workshop, attendees shared great insights into how brands are finding their way to becoming more culturally relevant, and the challenges they face. When is the right time to show up in culture? What are the no-goes for a brand? How much can and should brands let their fans ‘hack’ their brand? What’s the best way to hear about conversations happening about your brand?


Get in touch if you’re interested in learning about how your brand can be more ‘Taylor’.