‘Taylor Swift is a marketing genius’. 

If you’ve read one article this month with that headline, you’ve read 12. 

And why is TSwift a genius? 


She’s mastered it. Web3 loves it. And every CMO is asking themselves if this is the new frontier.


Does anyone else remember 2010’s favorite boardroom chant:  ‘surprise and delight’?

"Worldbuilding is surprise and delight on steroids."

It’s ‘easter eggs’, it’s weaving an interconnected story across platforms, it’s allowing your brand to get in on the fun of fandom. Worldbuilding is inside jokes, grand gestures and unexpected ‘add-ons’. It’s curating playlists to match products, celebrity partnerships that actually make sense, showing up at cultural events to actually support your community.  It’s niching down. Gestures that build goodwill. Doing the little things because they matter—and show you care. 

Worldbuilding endears customers, plays into FOMO, and when you capitalize on it, you’re able to build longevity and connection—it’s a deep investment but it pays off.

For example, Taylor Swift, in her latest tour, sported a manicure where each of the nails was painted in a hue to signify each of her albums. She incorporated a dance movie made viral by one of her Swifties on TikTok, insinuating she keeps an eye on her community’s comings and goings online. Swift even brought a prop golf club (used to bash in a car in her music video for Blank Space) to serve with on stage. 

"If ‘storytelling’ was brands giving you a peek behind their behind-the-scenes, worldbuilding is the ‘choose your own adventure’ novel."

Worldbuilding is full-on immersion, just like the name implies.

But who else can we learn from in the world of worldbuilding?

Good question. Much like brand purpose, worldbuilding applies more to B2C brands. If you’re selling backend software, no, it’s likely not for you. But if you’re a brand that sells products or experiences, worldbuilding is where the world is going. 

But before you go and study the TSwift playbook, take a step back and ask ‘What world am I looking to build?’

Worldbuilding isn’t about being on every platform. It’s about living inside the hive with your community. 

Entertainment properties have been doing this a while. Disney is a masterclass. But who else can we learn from?

1) DuoLingo. They are moving into Math, they are moving into music. Duo Lingo doing worldbuilding. They have created a language, rules, and world around learning. In their world you go on ‘streaks’, language and prompts are delightfully weird and fans revel in their weird world.

2) Yowie. Once a small, socially-beloved store, now a hotel/coffee shop/store/product creation studio. Yowie’s not worldbuilding with inside jokes, they are literally creating a way for you to engage with their brand on a variety of levels from visitor, to regular. Shopper to creator. What’s interesting about Yowie is how its founder Shannon Maldonado has continued to take us on the journey in the building of the world. With every table developed, every color picked, the hive is there engaging with her along the way. 

3) Vacation. Since its inception, Vacation has constantly brought us into their perfectly odd 80s world. From hysterical content series that weave fictional tales of couples enjoying their vacations, to surprise and delight products like their Classic Whip sunscreen, to their always on-point 80s campaign-inspired imagery, to their Ball Boy Prince collab candle that you can practically smell through the screen, the world is inescapable. 

So how to begin to build your world?

"The success of worldbuilding relies on your brand positioning."

  1. The success of worldbuilding relies on your brand positioning. If you must be clear on what makes you unique to the world. Not every world is a parody. Your world must be authentic to your brand but it is a big do or don’t bother exercise.
  2. Consider every sense. From the physical to the digital. Architecture to scent. The more small but considered elements the deeper the world.
  3. Grow it actively. As they say, worlds weren’t built in a day. Every action, campaign, content series, event, each Easter egg is a moment where you build the world. Active positioning in everyday and extraordinary ways is the key to worldbuilding.
  4. Move your mindset from us and them to we. Worldbuilding is about joining in on the fun. Ego goes out the window. You have to be in on the jokes or it just won’t work.
  5. It’s part plan, part Jesus-take-the-wheel. Related to being in on the joke, you can’t tell where a world will go. You can work on crafting it with your lens but when it’s going well it will have a life of its own. Go on the ride. Live in the world.

"The way to world domination is in the details."

Time to build your world.

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