Look at ME!

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Lessons in Branding from The Rock

What does it take to get noticed…by LOTS of people? Ask The Rock. He currently has about 46 million followers on Instagram, 56 million on Facebook. Combined, that’s about 1/3 the population of the U.S. If the Rock fans were a country, they would be #12 in the world: a little more populous than Philippines, a little less than Japan.

How does he do it? How did the troubled son of a family often living in near poverty become one of the world’s top celebrities ever? What does Dwayne Johnson do better than anyone else? There are better actors; there are bigger and stronger wrestlers and action heroes. All of his movies and publicity are certainly intrinsic to his success, but what made him go—in the words of Jim Collins—go from good to great?

I believe the number one key to Dwayne’s meteoric rise is not that he says, “Look at me!” but because he says, “Look at me looking at you!” The Rock knows that the love of his fans is the key to his career. That combined with the fact that he’s a genuinely caring human being from humble roots, inspires him to constantly put his fans into the limelight. It is not hard for people to put themselves into that picture and feel that this mega-star is someone they’d love to hang out with. He’s likable; he’s approachable;
he’s genuine.

He has not forgotten his roots, or the people who got him where he is. In sharing their stories, and relating them to his own, he adds to his own ever-growing persona.

As Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard of Ads” says, “Bad advertising is about you and your product. Good advertising is about your customer and their life.” The same goes for publicity, brand building and everything else about your business.

When you’re planning your brand messaging, avoid the temptation to say, “Look at ME!” Instead, focus the attention on your audience—tell their stories speak to them in terms they can relate to. To GET attention, GIVE attention!

Take it from the Rock himself: “If you check your ego at the door…you’ve got a pretty good shot at making a great movie that you can commit yourself to, you can jump off the proverbial cliff with, and have a great time, and the audiences respond to that.”

Kelly Walker is creative director for Intrepid Marketing, a leading Bend, Oregon marketing agency. For more information, contact Kelly at 541-419-9976 or Kelly@intrepidforward.com

(Photo above: Screen shot from Instagram: Dwayne The Rock Johnson March 12, 2016)

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About Author

Kelly Walker, MS for SWIVEL

Kelly Walker is the host of A Swig of Branding, creative director for Intrepid Marketing and a senior copywriter with over 20 years experience. He has masterminded scores of high-profile brand identity projects, written hundreds of ads and taught college-level marketing and copywriting courses. He resides in Bend with his wife Andrea, four boys and (finally) a little girl due September, 2015.

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