It’s no secret that Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour (and her catalog of music) is making a massive impact on pop culture and economies worldwide. It’s projected that the Eras tour could gross $2.2 billion in North American ticket sales alone, according to survey data provided to CNN. That doesn’t include the economic ripple effect that happens as Taylor Swift fans (a.k.a. swifties) sell out hotels and fill restaurants in any city where she performs.

Quotes from Swift’s song lyrics and stories about her relationship history have also become an integral part of today’s pop culture vocabulary. Her music and legacy dominate conversations across traditional and social media.

None of these successes are accidental. Taylor Swift is the master of her own story. And she’s mastered adapting to change. Like Swift, K-12 schools are often faced with external factors that require adaptation—including technology innovations, changing federal funding, and new expectations from families. Here are a few takeaways from the Eras Tour that can help schools better adapt to the changes that impact them.

Turn Difficult Circumstances Into Growth Opportunities

Many factors contributed to the Eras Tour’s success. Timing is among these factors, as TIME Magazine points out. In a post-COVID-19 world, people craved a concert experience that would get them out of the house. Taylor Swift strategically capitalized on this desire, swooping in at the perfect moment to give fans what they were looking for.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the entertainment industry, it also impacted the education landscape. Though students have been back in the classroom for a while, schools still experience residual effects from the pandemic on student mental health, social skills, and maturity levels. One strategy for addressing these challenges is emphasizing social and emotional learning (SEL), which helps young people apply knowledge and skills to manage emotions and maintain supportive relationships.

Schools can also adapt to digital changes brought on by the pandemic by implementing practices to thoroughly track and better understand student behaviors. An effective student information system can make this process simple for teachers, while automatically syncing this data to a student’s account, providing easy access for parents.

Master Marketing to the Right Audience

Not only is Taylor Swift an engaging performer—she is a master marketer. Writer Marc Schneider with Billboard noted that “she understands her audience and has cultivated an iron-clad personal brand through her genuine connection with them.”

Knowing what your audience wants and needs is as essential for K-12 school administrators—especially those who work for private or independent schools—as it is for entertainers.

But who is the primary audience for K-12? Many parents preparing to send their children to school today are a part of Generation Z, which includes anyone born between 1997-2012. They are a generation who grew up with technology integrated into every aspect of life, making them more inclined to seek information and communicate online. Phone calls are replaced by text messages and research about schools takes place online rather than in person.

Just as Taylor Swift switches up her marketing strategy to appeal to the changing interests of her audience, schools need to adapt to succeed. This can include a responsive, mobile-friendly website, direct messaging capabilities, and a strong presence on social media platforms.

Additionally, today’s parents desire to provide their children with high-quality education that is also affordable. Using technology that gives families the option to set up tuition payment plans makes education more accessible while serving as a crucial marketing tool for a school. Check out this blog post for more tips on marketing to Gen Z parents.

Lean Into the Current Era

A major part of mastering the skill of adapting to change is learning how to reinvent yourself. Taylor Swift is certainly an expert on this. Her first album, which was released in 2006, was a country record. But Swift has since branched out into multiple other genres including pop, electropop, indie folk, and rock (check out Billboard’s article for a full breakdown).

But what does this flexibility to switch genres say about Swift’s ability to adapt to change? While this acts as another marketing strategy (adding more genres to your repertoire is a great way to expand your fanbase), it also speaks to Swift’s fearlessness in responding to the external events that impact her. Rather than letting relationship breakups, public criticism, or shady record labels hinder her success, she leans in and makes those challenges work to her advantage.

K-12 schools are also frequently faced with external changes they can’t control. But like Swift, they can control how they respond to those changes. Quickly and effectively reacting to things like the upcoming expiration of EANS and ESSER, rising cybersecurity threats, and summer learning loss can have a massive impact on long-term success.