Five Electrifying Personal Branding lessons from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

It’s been more than seven years since “The Rock” graced a professional wrestling ring. It was nearly ten years ago when the Great One faced one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time, Hulk Hogan.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Yet still, even after being out of the wrestling spotlight for many years his fans still wanted him back in the ring. Only a month ago, I took a quick glance at his Facebook page to see more than a million fans!

Fans from all around the world and of all different ages. Somehow, after many years out of the ring, The Rock was a brand better yet, a persona, that still resonated with people all over the world.

Most recently, The Rock once again electrified fans all across the globe with an unexpected announcement. February 14th, 2011 – The Rock came back to the WWE.

To say his return was well received would be an understatement. At the time I started this post, he had 1.5Million fans on Facebook… By the time you read this, I’d guess that number is slowly creeping upon or has far surpassed the 2Million mark. The buzz didn’t stop at Facebook! You see, for the six months prior to this announcement, “The Rock” was mentioned once in a while but nothing crazy. Once this announcement came out… Let’s just say the fans could smell what the Rock was cooking…

“The Rock” Mentions on Twitter (Sysomos)

So how does one do it? How does someone keep their name in the spotlight after years of Disney films? How does someone build a persona that fans remember for years? A persona that fans not only remember, but quote and latch onto… That’s what this post is about. It’s about building a personal brand that is memorable and as electrifying as The Rock.

Personal Branding Tip 1: Be Electrifying

The Great One, The Peoples Champ and The Rock.

All of these names are that of one man: Dwayne Johnson.

He’s a man of many names but a man whose name represents charisma, athleticism and most importantly jaw dropping entertainment. No matter what name he is called, when he enters the ring, The Rock is sure bet to put on a show for his audience and fans. The Rock made his name in professional wrestling by putting it all on the line every time he stepped into the ring.

The Rock isn’t referred to as the most electrifying man in sports entertainment for nothing. Anyone with a great personal brand should be able to spark electricity in those around them. Whether that means sending a crowd of people into pure bliss during a presentation or being able to negotiate like a hollywood super agent. Electricity, ambition or better yet, passion… Is what really differentiates the great ones from those who are just getting by.

2. What’s your name?

It doesn’t matter what your name is!! What matters is what you represent, what you stand for, what you actually do. When you look at some of the biggest names online, their real name isn’t what matters the most it’s what they represent.

Here are a few examples:

Without even reading the name, most people would be able to identify the fourth bullet as MC Hammer. His rap-name could have JCPenney and he still would have been able to reach great success.


Because he represented something no one else did.

He took early rap and parachute pants and made them his own. The same way Gary Vaynerchuk took online wine reviews and the concept of hustling and made it his own.

The Rock has done the same thing.

It doesn’t matter if you call him The Rock, The Great One or The Peoples champ. At the end of it all, his athleticism, his entrance music and of course, his one-liners are what make The Rock the most electrifying man in sports entertainment today. As you develop your personal brand, you must ask yourself: What makes you – YOU. What do you represent? Find your niche and own it.

Look at Penelope Trunk, she owns Career/Life advice or Dan Schawbel he owns Personal branding.

Go out and own it!

Personal Branding Tip 3: Always Be Visible

Although the Rock left the wrestling business for more than seven years he never really left the spotlight. The Rock was able to stay relevant by being active in a variety of different roles (no matter how bad some were) in Hollywood. This presented The Rock with an opportunity to stay on the top of fans minds and even tap into a new audience. By putting himself out there he was able to stay relevant to his old fans and even connect with a few new ones.

The key here is the fact that the Rock put himself out there. He wasn’t afraid to challenge himself by taking different types of roles. He embraced the risk and gave every opportunity his best. Essentially, the Rock was willing to make bold choices. Instead of doing things that most wrestlers would do, he created his own path by making difficult decisions and being confident in his choices.

Personal Branding Tip 4. Just Bring it (Your A-Game that is)

Websites like Facebook and YouTube allowed fans to share and watch a Rock that they watched seven years ago. The Rock has fought in enough amazing fights that his matches and antics would continue to be shared for years after his last match.

He provided his fans with so many memorable moments and classic one-liners that they couldn’t forget them if they tried. That said, many wrestlers have fought in hundreds and hundreds of fights but will never be discussed around a table of pizza and beer. The reason is simple, The Rock brought his A-Game.

Every match, every interview, every gimmick and every entrance. The Rock brought it. When you’re writing a blog post are you writing it just to have something published or are you writing a blog post because you have something to interesting to say.

This is something that’s difficult to do but we need to push ourselves to always be excellent. We need to spend more of our time on the home-runs and less time on the small wins. If you’re going to give a presentation at a conference don’t just practice the night before to make sure you do okay – Practice two weeks in advance to ensure that you rock the socks off your audience.

Personal Branding Tip 5. Cherish your fans

The Rock understands the importance of his fans. During his return to the ring, The Rock thanked his fans over and over again. He thanked them for being there when he walked out of the ring seven years ago and thanked them for being there for him when he returned. What’s key is that The Rock cherished his fans before he really needed them. He understood the value of social media in terms of humanizing his brand and connecting with his fans. In turn, The Rock used Facebook to authentically communicate with his fans. Just take a look…

Instead of managing a page personally, many stars would hire a professional to manage their page. Instead, The Rock decided that he would manage his page on his own and communicate with his fans with an authentic and transparent voice.

The Rock has faced the ups and downs of being in the lime-light. He’s made movies that have flopped and he’s made movies that found great success. Through it all, The Rock constantly has been able to stand up and move forward And after seven years, The Rock is still someone who will electrify the TV screens of millions (and millions).

If you smellllllllllllelelelel….

What the Ross. Is. Cooking.

Originally published on Feb 16, 2011

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