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Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Apple / Taylor Swift Spat

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Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Apple / Taylor Swift Spat


In the midst of the buzz surrounding Taylor Swift’s logical and teen angst-free tumblr post regarding Apple Music, many are applauding both the original post and Apple’s swift change in policy to pay artists for all uses of their intellectual property on the service. We’ve written about Apple here before and it’s no secret we are fans. They aren’t perfect, but their ability to build a brand, cultivate an ecosystem and retain customers while charging a premium is a case study in business success.

And today’s news sends the message that social media users have power over even the largest of enterprises and the savvy entrepreneur can leverage or redirect that power to drive awareness and goodwill with customers. Taylor could have reacted as many customers do. She could have spewed all manners of vitriol replete with emoticons and hashtags. Instead, she crafted a manifest that on one hand praised Apple for their creativity and partnership. She then drove her message home with a simple, yet powerful statement:

“We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation. “

Apple could have easily reacted as many big companies do. One, they could have ignored the issue. Two, with their cash hoard and PR machine, Apple could have taken to the airwaves and spent tens of millions explaining why they chose NOT to pay artists for content during the 90-day trials of the Apple Music service. The message could have been, “We are helping users discover a new platform and new music” or “We aren’t making money, why should the artists?” Instead, in less than 24 hours after her post and in the span of 189 Twitter characters across 3 tweets, Apple was able to reverse course and commit to paying for every play of every song to every artist.

Those 3 tweets and 1 tumblr post have filled the business airwaves and news feeds generating millions of dollars in free advertising and positive PR for both sides.

Entrepreneurs can be the Taylor Swift or the Apple. If you’re Taylor, use social to present your reasoned arguments and make it about the benefit to the community that you support and also your customers. If you’re Apple, don’t just brush off the Taylor, respond and respond quickly. But while reaction time is important, make sure your response is always reasoned, customer-centric and grounded in your brand.

So how do you react quickly and maintain your brand while also juggling the rest of your business responsibilities? That’s where SEE SPOT Marketing comes in. Our team can help you grow and engage your audience as well as react to social media issues in a manner that creates goodwill and lasting engagement with your customers at a price that’s designed for small businesses’ small budgets.

Does your marketing feel like a blank space? Want to shake it off? Click to send us a note and one of our strategists will be happy to follow up with you.

Image by Jana Beamer via Flickr.

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