The Book Of Swift—5 Lessons in Embracing Market Disruption From a Pop Phenomenon

The Book Of Swift—5 Lessons in Embracing Market Disruption From a Pop Phenomenon

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour doesn’t just display her brilliance as a performer or marketer—it shows us how to overcome the biggest challenges facing business today. In this article, Dev Patnaik shares the five lessons we can learn from how Swift embodies future-focused leadership in a manner that’s on par with Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs may finally have a worthy heir: Taylor Swift.

Before you scoff at the notion that a 33-year-old pop star could be compared to a business legend like Jobs, try attending one of her concerts.

Her record-shattering Eras Tour doesn’t just display her brilliance as a performer—it’s showing us how to overcome the biggest challenges facing businesses today.

Swift doesn’t have the greatest voice, the best songs, or the slickest dance moves. But calling her concert a show is like calling the Taj Mahal a building. The Eras Tour is projected to be the first tour to break $1 billion in ticket sales and has generated a windfall effect on local towns and businesses that’s been dubbed “Taylornomics.” The fervor she stokes among her predominantly female fans, or “Swifties,” has to be seen to be believed. It’s the Beatlemania of our times.

Like Jobs, Swift isn’t merely selling a product. She’s shifting the whole culture. She’s figured out how to navigate the big disruptive market forces that many businesses are struggling—and mostly failing—to come to grips with. At a time of growing ambiguity, complexity, and fragmentation, she’s shown an ability to connect deeply with her customers, give value back to her team, and ensure that her business is resilient over the long term.

Swift is such a unique talent that it’s impossible for mere mortals to emulate her. But, just like with Jobs, that shouldn’t stop us from learning the profound business lessons she’s teaching. Here are the top 5:

Lesson 1: In the age of micotribes, find—and be true to—your tribe.

It used to be relatively easy to come up with a cool product and sell it globally. Not anymore. The splintering forces of social media have helped drive consumers into ever smaller microtribes, whose members identify with a specific set of tastes and interests.

Swift is a tribe-building sensation. Her massive base of fans shares an intense mutual connection, making her concerts feel like a 70,000-strong high school reunion. Concertgoers often say they’ve never felt as safe as they did at her shows. The Swifties are all in on her and their shared values. Swift engenders this devotion by being authentic and vulnerable. She tells real stories from her life and doesn’t try to present herself as perfect.

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The lesson for businesses: Build your tribe by focusing on shared values, and then communicating with authenticity and transparency. This is especially important at a time when it’s much harder to get away with saying one thing and doing another.

Read full article on Forbes.

Dev Patnaik


Dev Patnaik is the CEO of Jump Associates, the leading independent strategy and innovation firm. He’s a board member of Conscious Capitalism. Dev has been a trusted advisor to CEOs at some of the world’s most admired companies, including Starbucks, Target, Nike, Universal and Virgin.