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Branding Lessons You Can Learn From Professional Wrestling

Description: Have you ever thought that professional wrestling hides incredibly useful branding information? Well, here’s everything you need to know to get started with better branding!

For many people, wrestling was one of their favorite shows to watch on TV. Most of us were too young to know they were acting, so we went along with all the drama, fights, and mind-numbing scenes. We’re older today, and even though we might not follow professional wrestling as we did in the past, one thing we should appreciate is the branding of the WWE. It’s fascinating looking at the people invested in the “sport” today and how the company has continued to evolve. Today, let’s look at some branding lessons we can learn from the people from WWE.

Get Your Customers Emotionally Invested With Strong Storylines

The hottest selling point of the WWE is its storytelling along with its “characters.” Famous wrestlers like The Rock, Stone Cold, Brock Lesnar, Triple H, Randy Orton, Ray Mysterio, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Cain, John Cena became legends. Boy! Can they get you emotionally invested in their plots—it’s like soap operas but on steroids.

Examples of some of these stories are the rivalry between the siblings Cain and Undertaker, the bad blood between The Rock and Stone Cold, The betrayer of Triple H by Randy Orton, and the raging bull that is Brock Lesnar. These are scripts years back, but they are still memorable because WWE excels at selling these stories. They go as far as showing us backstage interactions, sometimes as far as hospital scenes, and today with social media, they allow their stars to continue the scripts online too. 

The lesson here is, what is your brand story? What is it you do, say, or preach that can get customers behind your brand? What will make anyone emotionally invested in what you sell and do? Brands realize the power of storytelling today and are using the power of social media to do this, but guess who started this hack over three decades ago – yeah, the folks at WWE.

Fan Opinions Matter

Most fans will agree when we say the CEO Vincent Kennedy McMahon and his management team listen when their fans speak. The entertainment company has had this aspect of their business nailed down from the early 90s. “Give the fans what they want and see them come back for more.” 

This slogan plays at the back of the management team’s mind while crafting their stories. And that’s why they conduct regular polls on their website, note feedback on their social media, and are attentive to the response of their audience while performing on stage. Most superstars know this and milk it. If you pay attention when the stars talk, a pause happens every once in a while to gauge the audience’s reaction. 

And how do you tie this to branding? Well, the key here is paying attention to customer feedback. It is essential to know the product or service you offer is to satisfy the customer’s needs, and if they say in their feedback, you and your company are not meeting their needs, then you have to adjust.

The Ability to Adapt Stories

The last point ties nicely into this one. The folks at the World Wrestling entertainment are geniuses adapting their storyline and changing superstars if necessary to improve their plot. Because the fans’ voice matters in the industry, they are quick to tweak storylines. An example is when a real-life love triangle between three professional wrestlers Lita, Matt Hardy, and Edge, turned sour because Lita cheated on Hardy with Edge. 

This action led the professional company sacking Edge because of the toxic environment that was building. The Fans weren’t having any of that and called for the return of Edge. The management team smarty crafted a storyline around this real-life event, giving the fans want they wanted. This story is one of many out there. 

The lesson here is to learn to adapt to the needs of the audience. Branding will take some A/B testing with promos and marketing style and the ability to shift gear and even alter the product to include certain features if it helps.

Each Wrestling Star Has a Selling Point

Ever since we were young, we could associate many wrestling stars with their dressing, how they talked, the music associated with them, and their signature moves. Maybe we can’t recall the number of times we screamed when a WWE star went for their signature move.

John Cena’s AA (Attitude Adjustment), The Undertaker’s Tombstone Piledriver, Shaun Micheel’s Sweet Chin Music, Stone Cold’s Stone Cold Stunner, or The Rock’s Rock Bottom are a list of signature moves associated with these superstars and made them memorable. Not all the wrestlers had signature moves that stuck, and that is okay because, for some, it’s how well they play their characters. And for others, it was other things they did that made them stand out. Cain’s mystery scarred face, Mankind’s dirty socks, Undertaker power of darkness, or Stone Cold craziness. 

The lesson here is, what do you have as the selling point for your brand? What makes you stand out from the public? What differentiates you from your competitors? The World Wrestling Entertainment has products (Wrestlers) on their shelves, all unique from one another. So what is your brand known for to its clients?

The Ability to Use Nostalgia 

The ability to highjack the emotions of their fans or audience is one factor that has brought about the success of WWE. They regularly bring back fan favorites who have retired to the ring, release compilation videos and honor videos on social media of the best of certain wrestling superstars. The use of intro music for every WWE superstar brings back memories and creates a sense of nostalgia and belonging for fans. Growing up, we remember the tune of all our favorites, and it was always nice going through those moments. 

As a brand, what do you say, sing, or do that create a sense of nostalgia for your customers? Music tones are usually the easiest to get into anyone’s head and the go-to option for many brands, so make your music memorable.

Build Hype For Every Show

Marketing isn’t something new, and creating content for the release of a new product or version of the product is not something new. The WWE is different in this respect. It knows how to create a narrative for the launch of the event. It produces short videos of how the wrestlers got there, done in black and white, clean edits, and a song to match it. The marketing team also shows backstage clips and trash talk between the wrestlers on their social media handles. This style of advertising without advertising has made them successful. They draw their audience’s attention and make them feel like a part of the story using visuals and good positioning and wordings.

Wrestlemania, their flagship event, is either on PPV or a live audience, and most times is packed full. The lesson here is always to build your audience’s expectation of the release of a new product. Customers expect companies to be active on social media and interact with them, and that’s been the driving way of improving marketing campaigns in recent times.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it’s interesting what you can learn from professional wrestling and the WWE in particular. Some of these lessons have made the company become a billion-dollar company. And it’s because of some of the basic but effective techniques they have applied over the years. The ability to adapt and evolve has made the WWE one of the known brand juggernauts in entertainment history.

Be sure to join our WWE / AEW Discord server and connect with other pro wrestling fans.
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