Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster are delivering crisis response lessons for business leaders

Last week’s concert tour crisis involving Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster is a rare situation in which there are instructive moments on both sides of a corporate emergency that executives should keep in mind as their companies experience a crisis. a little.

“Ticketmaster canceled a planned public sale of tickets for the singer’s Eras Tour on Thursday after several tiers of pre-sales by fans went awry,” new york Second-rate report. “The company cited ‘extremely high demand on the ticketing system, with insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.'”

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this article.

Branding, marketing and crisis management experts offer their thoughts on how Swift and Ticketmaster are responding to the crisis.


Christy Reiss, an account manager and member of the crisis communications team at Matter Communications, said via email: “Throughout, Ticketmaster has highlighted what not to do during a protracted crisis – let alone a crisis of their own making. gone.”

“Ticketmaster failed to prepare as a business and communications team when given enough time, resulting in poor communication when the crisis spread. They were forced to approach from a defensive position, which made it difficult to effectively manage the crisis,” she noted.

When a crisis finally strikes, Rice says here are three general rules of thumb to follow:

  • Frequent communication (even when no updates are available)
  • Transparency and Empathy
  • Setting expectations for the future and outlining actionable next steps

tell your story

Swift’s statement

For her part, Swift took steps to tell her story about a crisis that has left many fans distraught.

“I really have a hard time trusting the outside entities with these relationships and allegiances, and it pains me to watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift said in a statement. “

“There are a number of reasons why people are having a hard time getting tickets and I’m trying to figure out how I can improve the situation. I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we’ve asked them multiple times if they can handle the demand and we’re sure they can .”

It’s too late?

“While Taylor Swift’s statement was lauded online, it was too late,” Rice opined.

“Like Ticketmaster, she has had ample opportunity during each major change to the pre-sale and general admission process to acknowledge her frustrations and document any steps she has taken with Ticketmaster to mitigate the issues.

“While her statement acknowledged that she was ‘incredibly loyal to her fans,’ she waited until she was asked to make a statement—instead of showing action, she made accusations,” Rice noted.

conductor statement

“We strive to make buying tickets as easy as possible for our fans, but this has not been the case for many of those trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras’ tour,” Ticketmaster said in a statement late Friday. First, we would like to apologize to Taylor and all her fans – especially those who had a bad experience buying tickets. “


“Many or [Ticketmaster’s] The lengthy statement linked in a tweet from Ticketmaster around 11 p.m. ET on Friday is the same one the company posted on Thursday and later deleted — but now with a new apology tag at the beginning.

“A revised ‘explanation’ from the previous day’s version, which contained no language of apology, sparked further outrage from many fans before being removed from Ticketmaster’s website,” type report.

“No Active Updates”

“Ticketmaster rarely communicates the current status of presales, Capital One sales, and general admission sales,” Reiss noted

“The only time fans get updates is when planned sales are moved or canceled – no proactive updates about wait times, and nothing Ticketmaster has done to alleviate technical issues. Even if there’s nothing new to share, fans Also need to know that Ticketmaster stands behind them after promising a smooth experience.

“At the end of the day, they were not transparent and lacked accountability for the process they created. When Ticketmaster finally responded on November 18, it emphasized in a defensive tone and was more focused on protecting itself than on Sympathy for the fans,” Reiss said.

“While they did note that they would be updating their system with new demand, there was no apology, no understanding of fans’ frustration, and no acknowledgment of their own shortcomings,” she said.

missed opportunity

“The way the company chooses to respond sets the tone for how customers react in the moment and how they feel about the future of the company. Ticketmaster’s response to this campaign missed two opportunities,” business consultant April Shprintz said via email.

task ownership

“It starts with fully acknowledging the fact that they failed to take good care of their customers. To the disappointed fan, the reason doesn’t matter. That fan wants to know that the company was responsible for the bad experience,” Shprintz noted.

make changes

The second missed opportunity is “finding a way to make amends while taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she observes.

“Without initial ownership, companies lose customer attention and increase frustration. With it, a company is able to resolve the current crisis while building a more loyal relationship with customers based on how they handled mistakes,” concludes Shprintz road.

Quick response

Danielle Grossman, senior media advisor at Sevans PR, said via email: “While Ticketmaster did issue a lengthy explanation of why the whole situation happened, it’s a case of an explanation or an apology. One of those ‘too late’ situations.”

“Ticketmaster did admit that they hadn’t anticipated the demand, which is inexcusable for a company with one purpose, selling tickets to major events and tours like Taylor’s.

“It is also unfortunate that the internal team [apparently] Didn’t keep up with what was trending all the time, what was trending, and didn’t anticipate the needs of the show. Overall, they didn’t handle the situation well and should have been prepared before tickets went on sale,” Grossman concluded.

protect your brand

“Overall, this is something every brand can learn from,” company. Reporting. “The lesson is: be jealous of your fans, customers or users. Protect their experience at all costs and expect anyone who you let them provide part of the experience to do. And, if they let your fans down, please Handle it yourself. After all, it’s up to you to have your own brand.”

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