Even if you don’t know a thing about mixed martial arts, you’ve probably heard about Ronda Rousey. She has been all over the headlines lately following an epic upset which was her first career loss and stripped her of the title of UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
But, the queen of the UFC is still winning. She was one of the top ten highest paid female athletes of 2014, and is quickly becoming a household name outside the ring.
Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey has blazed the trail for females in mixed martial arts and has helped bring the sport to a more mainstream audience. She is a tenacious fighter with a reputation of winning fights quickly with her signature arm bar submissions. Not even three years into her UFC career, Rousey has modeled, landed multiple high profile acting gigs, written a bestselling memoir, and signed lucrative sponsorship deals outside the ring with brands like Reebok, Monster Energy, Metro PCS, Buffalo Apparel and Carl’s Jr.
What is it that fight fans, advertisers and the media love so much about Ronda Rousey? Authenticity.
Rousey is an intriguing combination of strength, beauty and realness. She does not apologize, she’s controversial, she is unlike anyone else, and she is definitely not phony. In the ring, Rousey has a fighting style all her own and sticks to signature moves that have made her successful. In the media, she remains unapologetic, bold, and edgy – just the way her sponsors and fans fell in love with her. The Ronda Rousey brand is an empire built upon her authentic talent and personality.
What does it mean for your brand to be truly authentic in a sea of competitors who are faking it? At its simplest, being authentic means knowing what is unique about your brand and embracing those attributes.
For example, Great Clips sells quick, cheap haircuts. They know their customers value speed and savings more than the spa-like, luxury experience provided by higher end salons. Using channels like newspaper ads, email promotions and direct mail campaigns, they get their coupons into the hands of cost-conscious customers and successfully drive traffic to their stores.
Nothing is more inauthentic than a brand with a sudden personality shift. Companies often want and need to “try something new,” but, when doing that it is important to resist the temptation to veer away from the core values, qualities, and characteristics that your customers value. Focus on what sets your brand apart and find new ways to communicate that winning recipe to delight your customers. Authenticity is being honest with yourself about why your customers choose you – and continuing to do that throughout your evolution and growth.
Photo via Flickr Account Zennie Abraham