“In 1995, I had $7 in my pocket, and I knew two things: I’m broke as hell, and one day I won’t be. “
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become a household name since the beginning of his career as a pro-wrestler. The reason for that is his fantastic ability to grow himself as a personal brand through impressive and consistent cross-platform branding. What’s more, he did this while also maintaining relationships with his fans through social media.
From a young age, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been through quite a lot. Nevertheless, he always managed to hustle his way to the top, becoming one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He’s become one of the highest-paid actors in the industry, and developed himself from just a “mere actor” to an enterprise.
Since his time as a pro-WWE wrestler, Johnson has become a powerhouse in the entertainment industry. He has been ranked as one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors. His career has continued as he diversifies and expands his horizons with a successful production company, a popular YouTube channel, lifestyle brand, millions of social media, and plenty of blockbuster movies. He may have started out with $7 in his pocket in 1995. Even so, as of 2021, Dwayne Johnson has a net worth of $400 million.
Let us look at how Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has used PR and marketing to his benefit to be the celebrity that he is today.
1) Being good at his craft
Much like any company that wants to establish themselves as an authority in any highly saturated market by creating a unique product that will attract their target audiences, Johnson has been successful. This is especially because he has shown that he is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the entertainment industry.
His WWE career helped launch him into the industry’s eyes and arms. He was asked to host Saturday Night Live, which marked a turning point in Johnson’s career. That appearance caught the eye of TV and movie executives who gave him a cameo in The Mummy Returns and, later, The Scorpion King. The Scorpion King went on to earn more than double the $60 million budget for the movie.
But even before SNL, he was already listed as being #5 on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 12 Entertainers of the year. And was listed in Forbes Celebrity 100 and People’s Magazine’s 25 Most Intriguing People.
Another reason Johnson has been successful is his wide range when it comes to his film career. Other wrestlers-turned actors like Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg only focused on playing roles that tied in with their wrestling arena characters. On the other hand, Johnson shows great diversity in his acting skills by playing varied characters from action to family films. While he was able to highlight his ability to play different characters, he noticed that the movies he was in were not receiving the box office results. Johnson decided to pivot and come up with another PR and marketing plan for his brand. At this point in his career, he became known for reinvigorating film franchises after joining the Fast & Furious franchise as Luke Hobbs and portraying Marvin F. Hinton in G.I Joe: Retaliation to return to the brawn that first earned him his fan base.
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2) Leveraging his existing reach
People worldwide already knew him through his WWE career, where he won the heavyweight title six times and the tag-team title five. He has been so successful in his career that he can use his existing reach to break into the new markets that he was trying to enter. At the moment, he has already had a long and successful film career. In fact, he has been able to amass a following of 153 million on just one social media platform.
“Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me. I have established social media equity with an audience around the world that there’s a value in what I’m delivering to them.” –Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Social media has proven to effectively market Johnson’s brand because he understands the importance of having a strategy and goal that is simple. It has also allowed him to get opinions and feedback from his fans. This information has allowed him to position himself in a way that fans appreciate.
“When I launched on Twitter, my biggest goal was to be authentic, so that people know that when their tweet alert goes off on their device, that it’s coming directly from my hands. I also try to make it a platform for three things — motivation, encouragement, and entertainment. And it’s a great way for me to have my finger on the pulse of what my fans do and don’t like in terms of projects and overall sentiment, because there’s no other platform on Earth that gives me that instant feedback.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Social media can make or break a company’s reputation
You should take this advice to heart when it comes to social media marketing for your company. Unlike so many other communication and media types, social media platforms can make or break a company’s reputation. Being authentic and personable allows existing and potential customers to be informed about what is going on within the company.
Johnson’s social media marketing strategies have also proven that motivation, encouragement, entertainment, and listening are fundamental for companies to keep in mind when developing their strategy. Regardless of your intentions, you need to use social media to improve your brand. You can use your platforms to encourage communication and open dialogue with your customers because it is not necessarily about the reach a brand has. Rather, what matters is the reach your followers have to influence others. Additionally, to stand out from the crowd, you need to create entertaining content that can capture attention. As mentioned by “The Rock” himself, social media allows companies to get immediate feedback from followers. You need to use these platforms as an opportunity to do market research for your target audience.
It may seem that Johnson has been able to achieve what he has just by being himself combined with his established career and his organic following. On the contrary, the marketing aspect of his brand has been planned, researched, and implemented through social analytics. Johnson and his team have proven to be savvy in the field of personal branding. Not only do they know what to share, but also when to share it.
Social analytics is the primary way to understand how companies and individuals can attract millions of followers and prospects and engage them authentically to create business success.
3) Combining his brand with his passions
Another reason Johnson has been successful is that he has been known as the king of brand collaborations. He makes wise decisions regarding branding expansion and chooses products that he already uses and loves.
One of the product collaborations he has done has been with VOSS water, which he has drank for many years and continually mentions on his social media platforms.
“Owning water always intrigued me – partly because I drink 4 gallons a day. But finding the right partner with shared values, ethics, and a corporate culture I admire is what motivate me to make this deal.” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
When you decide to expand your brand through collaborations with public figures, you need to find people who will help your company’s reputation rather than hurt it. You need to do the proper research to see other brands, influencers, and media outlets that fit your mission and goals.
Seven Bucks Productions
Through this process and his influence on his fan base worldwide. Johnson has also launched his own YouTube channel with his production studio “Seven Bucks Productions.” On this channel, he creates his content for his millions of subscribers. The company was designed to be a multi-platform enterprise pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies and digital networks. His production company was on a mission to transform Johnson from an actor into an enterprise. Since the launch of the company, Johnson’s appearance in movies has also caused the team to shift into high gear to work on every element. This starts from developing the script to aiding production and helping guide its promotional rollout.
He has also changed how audiences view the movie-making process by sharing set secrets and behind-the-scenes footage. While disclosing this kind of information used to be a no-no, studios finally saw that this strategy offered them an opportunity to connect with audiences.
4) High level of discipline
Throughout his career, Johnson has been known for his impressive physique, which earned him the title of “People’s Sexiest Man Alive.” If anything can be learned from Johnson, being “sexy” is not just about having a great physical appearance. It is also about having the brains to back it up. His worldwide and long-term success is inspiring, but because he works hard consistently. This has resulted in his discipline manifesting into dollars.
“It’s meant to speak to how training is a mentality. That the work you put in the gym extends to real life, and that mentality is consistent. That’s part of what makes Dwayne magical — is how he applies that same discipline from the gym into everything.” – Maya Lasry, Chief Marketing Officer of Seven Bucks Production.
5) Having the right team
Dwayne has many experienced advisors, mentors, and a support team that helps him maximize his brand. Unfortunately, a lot of brands may not have that luxury. If that is the case for your brand, then you can always do your PR and marketing to enhance your brand or hire PR professionals to effectively launch a PR campaign for you.
6) Expanding to new markets
As mentioned previously, Johnson has been successful because of his ability to expand his reach to many different industries successfully. However, he has also managed to expand to international markets. What proved to be unsuccessful in the North American market made him very popular in the Asian market. This helped him develop his brand globally. For example, his film Skyscraper did not do very well in the United States but received $48 million in the Chinese box office opening weekend. It became the top-grossing title worldwide just that weekend. Johnson also used the popularity he received from the film’s popularity to do branding collaborations in China and Japan. This shows that he is not complacent with the position that he is in and continues to find new ways to expand his brand.
“When you walk to opportunity’s door: don’t knock it. Kick that bitch in, smile, and introduce yourself.” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
While your brand collaborations may not reach international levels, you should try to look out for other opportunities for success.
7) Connecting with a cause
From his pro-wrestling days, Johnson has been an advocate for how fitness can positively impact people’s lives. As health and fitness become an important topic, he has been an influencer in that industry. He’s shared his fitness routines and advice with anyone who may need it.
He even launched his reality TV show. Wake Up Call, to lend a helping hand to people facing significant challenges in their everyday lives. This show was designed to remind people that they could still achieve their dreams only if they put the effort in. In the first episode alone, Johnson helped a high-school dropout with aspirations of becoming a mixed martial arts fighter to meet UFC president Dana White. This guest also trained with former fighter-turned-nutritionist Mike Dolce, and get a chance to get sponsored by American Top Team’s young fighters program.
He advocates for the importance of fitness and health through his Project Rock collaboration with Under Armour and advertising agency Droga5. The Project Rock collection features gym-focused apparel for men, women, and youth. It combines Johnson’s ideas for adequate fitness apparel with Under Amour’s innovative UA Charged Cotton technology.
“My new collection is built for the hardest workers in the room. I don’t care how old you are, what you do for a living, or what your bank account says. This collection is design for the ones who know that success comes one way—through the work.” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
You should note that customers tend to gravitate towards a company that also includes social responsibility in its marketing campaign. This is especially the case with millennials, who care a lot about company values. They will resonate more with a company that reaches out to support an important cause.
8) The key to business survival during COVID-19
In the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic – in March 2020 – Johnson launched his tequila brand, Teremana. Then in January 2021, he announced the launch of his new energy drink company, ZOA Energy.
How did he manage to accomplish this, at a time when stock markets were crashing and businesses were going under? By surrounding himself with people who are the best at what they do. Surrounding yourself with experts gives you the knowledge, skills and inspiration you need to start a new business. This is even more so the case in the middle of a crisis such as the pandemic which we are still adapting to. By surrounding yourself with ambitious people, you will get the drive that launching a new business requires. Additionally, this strategy gives you a professional network of people to lean on for support and advice.
“What 2020 made me realize was that it’s even more important to be the smartest person in the room [at what you do]. The quicker you can realize the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are experts at what they do in their field, the faster your vision and goals can come true.” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rose above countless obstacles to become the household name he is today. He uses his discipline to see each new project through to the end. Social media marketing has played a huge role in connecting with his audience on a deeper level. Rising entrepreneurs can learn a lot from the strategies he’s adopted through his ups and downs.