Behind the WWE brand
Stephanie McMahon has certainly had a unique view of the growth and popularity of pro wrestling – she’s been both in the ring and behind the scenes, working her way up within World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) into a key role as a leader of the business.
McMahon stopped by General Mills yesterday to talk about the WWE, as part of the partnership the company has with Totino’s (which was featured inside the Target Center in Minneapolis at the WWE’s “Elimination Chamber” event Sunday, where fans in the arena saw Totino’s and General Mills signage, and Totino’s promotional messages in-between matches).
Today the daughter of Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO, is one of the principal executives of WWE and the chief brand officer, responsible for leading WWE’s efforts to further enhance its brand reputation among advertisers, media, business partners and investors.
In an event over lunch at our headquarters yesterday, McMahon talked to the Totino’s team – as well employees with some of our other brands – about the WWE’s approach to marketing, growing its audience and community outreach.
She began her remarks by talking about the impressive popularity of the WWE’s events and its superstars. More than half of all U.S. television households “have an affinity for the WWE,” she said, with 15 million television viewers each week.
McMahon said WWE holds more than 300 live events around the world each year, most in the U.S., with two million people watching them live and millions more watching on TV, mobile or the web.
“When we do something, we can make it successful because we have the audience to serve,” said McMahon. “But WWE is not just all about wrestling, it’s not all about action in the ring. It’s about storylines. Because in order to get that casual fan, in order to bring in those who are not just there to see the action you have to make them care to want to see who wins or loses. And the way that you do that is through storylines … We’re entertaining, we’re pop culture, we’re unpredictable, big personalities, passionate, action-packed, intense, and most of all fun. Because when you walk away from WWE we want you to have a memory that when you’re telling your friend, you smile.”
In terms of social media, she said WWE has an astounding 260 million combined fans and followers across their main channels, and the social accounts of its characters.
“WWE is all about our fans,” she said. “Without our fans, we don’t have a product. Our strategy is content first. It’s gotta be great compelling content. It’s gotta be something they want to see. But then, if you ever come to a WWE live event or you watch it on television you’ll see everyone in the audience with a sign, you’ll hear them cheer, you’ll hear them boo and you’ll hear them having a great time because they’re engaging with our product. Social media allows them the opportunity to engage with our product without even being in the arena.”
As part of her responsibilities with WWE, McMahon serves as the company’s brand ambassador and is the primary spokesperson for its CSR initiatives, including “Be a STAR,” WWE’s anti-bullying program.
And as wrestling fans know, she’s also an integral part of the current WWE storyline at its events. Last year, she began appearing on WWE programming with her husband – Paul “Triple H” Levesque – as “The Authority.”
You’ll have to tune in to the next WWE event – including WrestleMania 30 on April 6, in New Orleans – to see what she does next.
Editor’s note: The photo of Stephanie McMahon at the top of this post is from the WWE, when she hosted WWE and Pearson Foundation’s “We Give Books” Reading Celebration in Green Bay, Wisc., earlier this week.