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A couple weeks ago, I went to the John Molson Sports Marketing Conference at Concordia University, where I had the pleasure to listen to Tom Wright, Director of UFC Canada, give a talk about branding. Not everyone is a fan of the UFC, and that’s alright. I am not really a big fan of the UFC myself to be honest. However, everything he mentioned about the UFC brand made sense, and I admire them for that.

He mentioned 5 key aspects of the UFC brand that can be applied to personal branding (or just branding in general):

  1. Be Authentic
  2. Remember Your Roots
  3. Show Your Energy
  4. Be Accessible
  5. Nobody Likes A Poser

Be Authentic

The UFC is pretty much “as real as it gets.” There are no fake fights like the WWE. These are real athletes, in a ring, fighting to be a champion. The UFC and their athletes are the real deal, and so should you be. Whatever your offer is has to be real. Just be honest, and people will accept you for who you are. If you start lying about your offer just to please people, you will start losing credibility. So make sure your offer is authentic, and that you can deliver on your promises.

Remember Your Roots

Always remember where you came from. This is part of who you are, and who you’ve become. And never forget that. Embrace your past, and learn from it. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. So just embrace your roots, because they gave birth to who you are now.

Show Your Energy

The UFC is a high-energy brand. If you’ve ever watched an event, you can see how intense it can be in that stadium. And the brand feeds off of that. Your brand should too! Be enthusiastic about your offer. Nobody wants to receive an offer from someone that doesn’t really show they care about it. Show your emotions through your brand. Are you happy about a certain accomplishment? Show it! Let people know that you are excited about who you are. Confidence in your own brand can go a long way.

Be Accessible

The UFC wouldn’t be anything without its fans. At every single event, fans gather up to meet their favorite athletes, and have a chance to spend some time with them. This creates an exceptional experience which makes the UFC unique. This should be the same with you. How successful would a company be without any customers, or stakeholders? If nobody is interested in your offer, how successful will you be?

Be accessible to your fans: customers, shareholders, the community at large, the media, your family, your friends, etc. When was the last time you took a moment to say “thank you” to your best customers? When was the last time you opened up to your fans? Are you really there for them? Without support from fans, what would your offer really be? After reading this post, you should at least take the time to say thank you to someone that has made you who you are right now. Be accessible.

Nobody Likes A Poser

When people tell you just be yourself, you should really be taking this to heart. Look at Dana White, President of the UFC. Have you ever checked out his twitter feed? You will notice several F-Bombs, insults towards haters, sarcasm, etc. And that’s OK, because that’s who he is. He has over 1.7 million followers on twitter, he’s extremely popular with a younger generation, and he’s synonymous with the UFC brand, all the while being the aggressive personality that he is.

If he would think your a poser, he would probably tell you to… you know. He definitely is not a poser, and that’s what makes him unique. Be yourself. You can’t please everyone, and you have to realize this. Don’t be afraid to do something (or not do something) because it might upset someone. If that’s who you are, that’s who you are. Nobody likes a poser.

So, what other aspects should be considered in personal branding? Do you agree with what Tom Wright had to say about branding? Why or why not?