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13 Swift Takeaways for Comms Folk(lore)

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13 Swift Takeaways for Comms Folk(lore)

Taylor Swift is a damn good writer. Her songs are not only addictive anthems of love and heartbreak but are also poetic reflections on society, moral values, and human connection. 

But what can her legendary lyrics teach us comms professionals? 

From the significance of strategic planning to navigating gender biases, from the art of collaboration to the importance of data-driven decision-making, Taylor’s words are pitch-perfect pearls of wisdom. guitar style musical instrument graphic with the wording 'Never be so polite you forget your power'

Feeling sceptical? I knew you were trouble. It’s time to shake it off and delve into these 13 Taylor-inspired takeaways… 


1.     “Fail to plan then you plan to fail. Strategy sets the scene for the tale.” – Mastermind, Midnights

She’s right about that! Start by defining your SMART objectives – this is the foundation for a successful strategy. It should provide purpose, direction and clarity, so everyone knows the part they have to play. 


2.     “Never be so polite, you forget your power. Never wield such power, you forget to be polite.” – Marjorie, Evermore

As a communications professional, it’s important to recognise and leverage your influence. We know how hard it can be to get a seat at the top table, so once you get it, ask yourself who else needs to be enabled, empowered and invited in. 


3.     “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”The Man, Lover

This one speaks for itself. Gender inequality should be high on the agenda for leadership, HR, comms, OD and EDI teams. Take time to listen and learn from real employee experiences about exclusion and harassment and build inclusive campaigns that educate and advocate for change. Just like our microaggressions project with British Red Cross! red heart shaped sunglasses with a piece of paper in pink taped to a board with the wording 'I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me'


4.     “I have to say, by the way, I just may, like some explanations.”Question, Midnights

Received another request for a pointless piece of comms? We hear you. Asking for clarity about how each request fits into your organisation’s strategical goals may encourage colleagues to think twice before hitting send. 


5.     “I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me.” – New Romantics, 1989

Taylor’s all about using setbacks as stepping stones to success. Whether you’re dealing with a media frenzy, tighter budgets, or structural changes, every challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a stronger, more resilient contributor to the wonderful world of comms.


6.     “You play stupid games you win stupid prizes.” – Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince, Lover. 

Too much trivial comms leads to too many trivial outcomes. To win gold, map out meaningful campaigns throughout the year by using feedback and insights from your staff networks – what do they want to see and hear via which channels? white sheet of paper graphic with pink and blue blurry marks and two red lovehearts with the wording 'There ain't no I in team'


7.     “There ain’t no I in team.” – ME!, Lover

Collaboration is key, and it really helps when you get to know each other. Why not use the manual of ME template so people can share their different learning and communication styles, pronouns, coffee order, favourite snack, how they like to receive feedback… Anything is possible!


8.     “We never painted by the numbers, baby. But we were making it count.” – the 1, Folklore

Dare to be different. Whether you’re looking to shake up your brand or bin an outdated policy, be creative and challenge the status quo. Did you know we run creativity workshops to help you do exactly that? 


9.     “She needed cold hard proof, so I gave her some.” – Vigilante sh*t, Midnights

Data-driven decisions are the backbone of effective communication strategies. From internal demographic data to paid advertising performance, it’s crucial that you gather stats and facts to influence and inform decision-making. 


10.  “Long live all the mountains we moved; I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.” – Long Live, Speak Now

You couldn’t do it without the people in your corner. Cherish their support, show your appreciation, celebrate victories together while giving credit where it’s due, and tackle each new fiery challenge as a united front. 


11.  “But you say it in a Tweet, that’s a cop-out. And I’m just like, hey, are you okay?”  – You Need to Calm Down, Lover

Dealing with trolls? We’ve all been there. Just remember, they’ve got nothing better to do – but you do. You can rise above it. Why not write down your frustrations like Taylor did? Never know, it could be a hit! 


white lined paper graphic with illustrations of butterflies in each corner, and the wording 'Long live all the mountains we moved.'

12.  “Maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up”All too Well, Red

Can you just add in this extra copy line? Can we make the logo bigger? Can we make it purple? As communicators we know all too well what happens when design by committee goes too far. Trust in your experience and expertise and strive for cohesion over compromise.


13.  “Familiarity breeds contempt” – Bejewelled, Midnights

While familiarity is necessary from time to time, don’t let that stop you from exploring new, bold and creative ideas. What will shock, surprise or move your target audience? If you’re on the hunt for inspiration, check out our Ideas Everywhere page!


Whether you’re working on an external recruitment campaign, communicating change or navigating the outcomes of your latest internal staff survey, a strong strategy, inclusive approach, commitment to creativity, and effective teamwork will surely make sparks fly. 

If you fancy some support or have any other lyric-inspired lessons to share with us, speak now and email 


By Lauren Castle for Alive!

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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