What Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Scriptwriting (Yes, This Works for Corporate Videos Too)

Ever since The Eras Tour commenced, brands and companies have been trying to jump on the Swiftie bandwagon by recreating Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour posters. Notable companies like Duolingo and even fictional characters like Elmo have hopped on the trend. Taylor Swift’s impact on music listeners of every generation is a topic that has even turned into an official course at Harvard, and in this post, we shall talk about what the A-list singer can teach you about scriptwriting.

Who is Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift is an American singer-songwriter and one of the most successful and influential artists in the music industry. Born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Swift gained widespread recognition for her country and pop music. From country singer to genre-bending superstar, she’s captivated audiences with her relatable narratives of love, loss, and self-discovery. Her meticulously crafted lyrics and vivid stories, both autobiographical and fictional, draws millions into her musical journeys. Swift has won multiple Grammy Awards and has achieved significant commercial success.

In 2020, Swift released two seminal albums, folklore and evermore. Released in quick succession, these albums depart from Swift’s usual autobiographical approach, immersing listeners in a world of fiction where characters and narratives come to life. folklore introduces a cast of characters navigating love, heartbreak, and introspection, while evermore extends this tapestry with new tales of escapades and reflections.

In the next section, we’ll delve into specific techniques inspired by Taylor Swift’s approach, exploring how her writing can help to elevate the impact of your corporate storytelling.

The Power of Compelling Narratives

While many attribute Taylor Swift’s fame to her knack for crafting catchy songs, the reality goes beyond mere catchiness. folklore, the indie-folk record that converted Swift’s haters into her fans, has multiple fictional songs, including one about the great Rebekah Harkness called “the last great American dynasty”. folklore further explores a fictional love triangle among three teenagers and delves into songs addressing war and the pandemic. Other fictional songs from Swift include evermore’s “no body, no crime”, which is a murder ballad, reputation’s “Getaway Car”, a story about robbery and betrayal, and Red’s “Starlight”, inspired by Robert F. Kennedy and his wife.

It is the strength of these narratives that draws people to Swift's music. Demonstrating a mastery of storytelling, Swift showcases this talent not only in her songs but also in self-directed music videos like “I Can See You” and “Anti-Hero”. But which of her storytelling techniques can you incorporate in your corporate video?  

  1. A well-defined story arc. Swift’s song, “the last great American dynasty”, introduces the character Rebekah Harkness, the late owner of Swift’s house in Rhode Island. Swift narrates the events happening within Rebekah’s house and concludes by drawing parallels with her own experiences. What you can learn from this is to structure your corporate video with a well-defined story arc. Like Swift’s storytelling in “the last great American dynasty,” commence your corporate video with a captivating introduction. Set the stage by introducing the context, characters, or situation relevant to your message. Conclude your corporate video with a resolution, much like Swift ties up the narrative in her songs. Ensure that your conclusion aligns with the intended message and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.
  1. Converge ideas. Converging ideas is a technique that can be used to show how different ideas come together. Begin by presenting different perspectives or facets of your corporate story. In Swift’s song “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (10 Minute Version) (From the Vault)”, she captures the aftermath of a past relationship, incorporating elements such as nostalgia, heartbreak, and the passage of time. In Taylor Swift’s song “Getaway Car”, she masterfully relates her relationship to Bonnie and Clyde, using elements of crime in the narrative. Swift’s ability to intertwine two different universes into one narrative can be useful when making corporate videos. Applying this technique to corporate video storytelling involves showcasing different departments, team members, and identifying a shared goal or challenge to create a unified and engaging narrative.
  1. Vulnerability equals relatability. In Taylor Swift’s songwriting, vulnerability is a cornerstone that establishes a deep connection with her audience. She wrote a lot of personal songs: “Innocent (Taylor’s Version)” from the album Speak Now is about Kanye West’s fiasco at the 2009 VMAs, “mirrorball” from folklore is about her shining outside although she was cracking inside, and “Anti-Hero” from Midnights is about her admitting her mistakes. (Midnights is also her most personal album.) This technique, when applied to corporate storytelling, can humanize your brand, making it more relatable and resonant. Encourage team members or leaders to share personal narratives related to their experiences within the company. Highlight instances where your company faced challenges or setbacks. Acknowledge and openly discuss mistakes made by your company.  
  1. In medias res. “In medias res” is a Latin phrase that means “in the middle of things”. In storytelling, it refers to a narrative technique where the story begins in the midst of action or a critical moment rather than starting from the chronological beginning of events. Swift’s song Red employs this by starting the song with the chorus, creating a strong and immediate impact. The opening lines dive into the intense emotions associated with a past relationship. The colour red is used metaphorically to convey a range of feelings, from passion and love to heartache and regret. By presenting the chorus at the beginning, Swift places the listener in the middle of the emotional landscape of the song right from the start.  

Just as Swift opens her songs with a magnetic chorus, instantly connecting with listeners, corporate videos can leverage the same immediacy to capture and sustain viewer attention. Narratives are not just tools of communication; they are catalysts for connection, engagement, and the enduring impact that corporate videos aspire to achieve. In the business landscape, the power of narratives emerges as a compelling force for building brand identity, fostering audience loyalty, and transforming communication into a captivating journey.

Figures of Speech and Wordplay

Who says that figures of speech can only be used in songwriting and creative writing? Well, fun fact: you can use it for corporate video scriptwriting, too. In this section, we’ll delve into some of the rhetorical devices that Swift masters at and how they can be helpful in your scriptwriting.

  1. Zeugmas. A zeugma is a literary term for using one word to refer to different things in more than one way. For example, a person can “lose their car keys and their temper”. Swift incorporates this a lot in her lyrics. In “The Lucky One”, a song about Hollywood and the dangers of fame, Swift sings, “How you took the money and your dignity and got the hell out”. This usage of zeugma adds depth to the lyrics by conveying the idea that the person not only took physical possessions (money) but also took away their personal dignity. In her bubblegum pop song, “Paper Rings”, the line “The moon is high like your friends were the night that we first met” employs a zeugma, referring to the moon’s physical position in the sky (“The moon is high”) and to the state of intoxication of Swift’s friends (“your friends were high”). Incorporating literary devices like zeugma into corporate communications can add flair and creativity to your messaging. For instance, “Our products stand tall, just like our commitment to quality.” Here, “stand tall” can refer both to the physical stature of products and the commitment to high standards.
  1. Antanaclasis. Antanaclasis is zeugma’s younger sister, in a sense that it also uses a word to refer to two different things, but it repeats the word. Taking examples from Taylor Swift, her pop punk track, “The Story of Us” incorporates antanaclasis in the line, “But you held your pride like you should’ve held me”. In this line, the word “held” is repeated, but it carries different meanings in each instance. The first instance refers to Swift’s former lover holding onto his pride, while the second instance refers to physically holding or embracing the narrator. In her ambient pop song “You Are in Love”, Swift sings, “You keep his shirt, he keeps his word”, repeating the word “keep” to refer to the person holding onto their partner’s shirt and their partner keeping their promises. Incorporating antanaclasis or similar wordplay into a corporate video can add a touch of creativity and engage the audience. Imagine opening your video with a statement like, “At our company, we don’t just keep records; we keep promises.”  
  1. Antithesis. An antithesis juxtaposes two different ideas. Again, taking examples from Taylor Swift, in her song “Long Live”, there’s a line, “It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age”, which presents a stark contrast between the conclusion of one period and the beginning of another. In another song, “The Story of Us”, Swift sings, “I’ve never heard silence quite this loud”. The line employs antithesis by juxtaposing the contradictory ideas of silence and loudness. Incorporating antithesis into a corporate video can add emphasis, evoke emotion, and make your messaging more memorable. For example, “We lost our project, but we gained clarity”, that suggests that even in the face of setbacks, there can be valuable insights and lessons learned that contribute to a more comprehensive understanding or viewpoint.  
  1. Metaphors. A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes something by referring to something else. For example, “you light up my life” is a common metaphor. Swift uses a lot of metaphors in her songwriting. In her song “illicit affairs”, Swift sings, “You showed me colours you know I can’t see with anyone else”. In this context, the metaphorical use of “colours” suggests a range of emotions, experiences, or perspectives that the person was introduced to by someone special. It’s a figurative way of expressing the depth and uniqueness of the connection, going beyond the literal sense of perceiving colours. Metaphors like this can be powerful tools in corporate videos to convey complex ideas. An example you can use for a corporate video of an offshore company: “The team greeted the offshore components with a battle hero’s welcome, ready to install them”. This metaphorical expression compares the team’s reception of offshore components to a hero’s welcome, emphasizing the significance, honour, and collective achievement associated with their contribution. It adds a layer of emotion and appreciation to the corporate communication.  
  1. Personification. A personification is the act of giving humanlike qualities to non-living objects. It adds a human touch to products, services, or concepts, making them more relatable. Taking more examples from Swift’s writing, her song “Death by A Thousand Cuts” incorporates personification in the line, “I ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright, they say, ‘I don’t know’”. In this specific line, Swift personifies the traffic lights, giving them the ability to respond to her question. "They say, ‘I don’t know’” suggests a conversation or interaction with the traffic lights, which is a creative way of expressing the singer’s uncertainty or seeking reassurance from the inanimate objects around her. This can be incredibly helpful in product launches. For instance, imagine you’re about to launch a security device called the Beacon 360; you can personify it in your launch video: “Introducing our latest innovation, the Beacon 360. It’s not just a device—it’s a vigilant guardian watching over your security needs.”  

In a nutshell, Taylor Swift’s masterful use of figures of speech and wordplay in her songwriting serves as a rich source of inspiration for scriptwriting, not only in the realm of music but also in corporate videos. By incorporating techniques like zeugma, antanaclasis, antithesis, metaphors, and personification into corporate storytelling, one can infuse creativity, engage the audience, and enhance the memorability of the message.


In the realm of corporate video scriptwriting, Taylor Swift’s influence transcends the boundaries of music, offering valuable lessons that resonate with audiences. These insights offer a roadmap for crafting corporate narratives that resonate, captivate, and leave a lasting impression—transforming mere communication into a captivating journey. Just as Swift’s music builds bridges across generations, compelling corporate videos have the potential to forge enduring connections in the business landscape.

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