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Understanding pop culture, while having a firm grasp of current affairs and politics, is a pivotal part of a PR’s remit. So I was pleased to read Gavin Devine’s top-notch guest column in the latest edition of PR Week.

Devine was dissecting the impressive PR credentials of pop sweetheart, Taylor Swift. The article praised the star for the raft of ‘self-generated’ and positive coverage that’s regularly attached to her name.

During the launch of her latest album, 1989, the country singing starlet remained a firm fixture in gossip magazines and broadsheets alike.  Headlines were first generated during the launch week of her new record, when she controversially decided to remove her entire back catalogue from music streaming service, Spotify. This was soon followed by a flurry of social media stunts, including her recent charitable donation of $1,989 (coincidence?) to help a fan pay off her student debt.

There’s no denying that smart stunts like these will generate a huge buzz and masses of social media engagement with fans. However, they’re obviously not as organic or altruistic to the cynical eye of a PR-pro. To me, Swift’s goodwill and perfectly timed business decisions smack of a well thought out and meticulous communications strategy, concocted by music PR wizards in the Hollywood hills.

I do agree with Devine on the impressive impact and the outstanding reach of her current pop crusade. However, I find it hard to believe that Swift’s public persona and PR prowess are as natural as she’d like us to believe. Much like Dorothy’s discovery that the Great and Powerful Oz was a mere mortal behind a curtain, I’m certain there is a PR mastermind or two behind the success of the Taylor Swift brand.

Whichever way you look at it, you’ve got to take your cowboy hat off to the songstress and her team for their sweet and swift PR successes!