WWE & PR?

This past Sunday, wrestling fans tuned in to the annual Thanksgiving tradition of The Survivor Series. One of “the big 4” in terms of pro wrestling events. What should have been an evening of family fun celebrating 25 years of The Undertaker character, took an interesting twist as rumors speculating a potential terrorist attack on the event had been planned.

Fortunately for all, the event went off without incident and from a PR perspective I was pleased with how the sports entertainment machine handled the situation from a communication standpoint. The WWE was quick to take to social media addressing the concerns, noting the event would take place as planned and that the proper local and federal authorities.

Having been on the PR team for several large conferences my brain was jumping to all the different back-up plans that must have gone into place and messaging statements created should something occur. As I’m not on the inside, any guess to that however would be pure speculation and I’ll not add to the rumor mill. Instead, I’ll take you on the journey my brain went down while enjoying the event this weekend as a fan. From taking bumps to having someone question what is “real” in your business, PR Pros and professional wrestlers have more than a few things in common. Here are a few that came to mind:

Your Success May Mean Cutting a promo
Whether a wrestler s a ‘Heel’ or a ‘Baby-face,’ all that matters is story telling. At the end of the day, their goal as performers is to emit some form of emotion out of you – love or hate. Some of the most popular figures in the business were not always the best performers from the athletic sense, but being able to work the microphone and the crowd they put butts in seats. PR is not much different. At the end of the day, PR pros are story tellers. From storyline developments to messaging we try to help clients tell a story. You can always improve and perfect your public speaking performance. Use every brainstorm, new business pitch or networking event to work on your delivery. Although a lot communication is now done online, you’d be surprised just how often your in-person skills will be tested during your career.

You won’t ‘get over’ alone
When you ‘get over’ in the world of wrestling it can mean a few things, mostly victory. It can be going over on an opponent (defeating them) or going over with the crowd (gaining acceptance). However, for this to happen, a wrestler can’t do it by him/herself. There is always someone else to help, whether it is a faction of team members or the actual opponent that helps you ‘sell’ the victory. In Agency life, there is no I in team. You will need your faction to learn and grow. Everyone brings something to the table and can help grow a program and take a pitch from idea to execution. If not, just throw ‘em over the top rope…

You need to take risks.
Ok, no need to take that elbow off the top of your cube…not quite what I mean. The communications industry is as competitive as pro wrestling and you cannot rely on just one skill, one move or one relationship forever. You need to always push yourself to try something different, a new channel a new outlet, a new way of getting your story in front of an audience. But…but what if I fail? What if my idea flops? Well:

Flopping is expected.
With risk can come great reward, but also failure. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. When you realize that the juice is worth the squeeze you no longer worry about “how will this make me look?” Take a look at this video, do you think you’re flop will be that bad? If you do, then you probably aren’t taking a risk, you are probably thinking about something unethical. Move along, a true flop is short and the impact is minimal. What is important is how you get up and what you do from there. Be willing to try, and be willing to hear someone’s ideas – if all you do is shoot down the creative, you’ll just sit and collect dust as the next generation passes you by.

You need to evolve with the times.
What made this year’s Survivor Series so special was celebrating the 25 year career of the Undertaker. Not all wrestlers can enjoy the success that long, but far fewer can do it with the same direction or “character.” What made The Undertaker’s journey so special for fans was watching the changes in character over the years. Some minor like costumes, some major like moving from a graveside reaper to a motorcycle brawler. Much like “The Dead Man” – the stronger Agencies continue to evolve with the times. You need to always evolve and educate yourself so that you do not fall into a one-trick-pony category. Going back to the above risk takers, are you someone who is willing to learn a new move for that crowd reaction or will you simply stick to your “five moves of doom”? Here at SHIFT we are constantly learning new martech tools to leverage data and amplify the hard work our teams are putting into campaigns. Want to learn more about those tools? Just keep reading this blog.

I’ll be waiting for you in the squared circle.