It is no secret that authenticity is key to being successful and building a successful brand. What is authenticity, you ask? Being authentic means being genuine, or, as some might say, being “true to yourself.” Knowing who you are and bringing your true and best self to everything you do is absolutely necessary to achieving your greatest success. Whether building a company, brand or musical legacy, consumers and fans alike respond best to authenticity. We want something real and genuine, even when we know that something is fiction.
If you are not familiar, the image above is Brock Lesnar (aka, the “Beast Incarnate”; the “Conqueror”). He is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, a former NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion, and a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion. As an athlete, his combined size, strength and speed are unmatched. At 38 years of age, and having just signed a lucrative “part-time” deal with WWE, he is arguably the biggest superstar in “sports entertainment” today.
WWE superstar Paul Heyman, the self-proclaimed “advocate” for the Beast, recently, tweeted that Brock Lesnar is “the most authentic athlete in WWE history.” He’s right. Brock Lesnar is a one-man wrecking machine. Throughout his career, he has shown that in real life he shows up to kick ass and takes name later. He is the baddest of badasses, a true “conqueror.” Couple that with being a legitimately outstanding performer, and you have a recipe for success in the WWE. Brock Lesnar is a spectacle simply because when he wrestles it looks real. Like, really real. Brock is so good that he is once again blurring the lines of fiction and reality in an industry that openly admits it is scripted and, um, not real. The only thing similar is magic. Like the best magicians, Brock is a master of illusions. Above all else though, it is the Beast’s authenticity that allows him to sell that illusion.
Brock comes from humble beginnings, growing up on a dairy farm in South Dakota. He has been referred to as a “simple guy with simple tastes.” In that same interview, Brock is quoted as saying: “When I go home, I don’t buy into any of the b.s. Like I said, it’s pretty basic: Train, sleep, family, fight. It’s my life.” That same no b.s. attitude has paid off in the WWE ring for Brock as well. “Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat,” has been the slogan touted by his advocate, Paul Heyman. In other words, Brock Lesnar’s brand as a WWE superstar, the “character” he plays on television, is authentic and embodies the true spirit of Brock Lesnar, the man. It is as real as fiction can get. As Brock explained in a recent interview, “Being an athlete/performer, it really came natural to me to portray myself and be myself about 200%. When I step into the ring I want to bring that believability through the ring ropes in the first row all the way to the top seats.”
So, what’s the lesson here? Authenticity matters. In order to achieve your greatest success, in order to build a successful brand, you have to remain true to yourself. Don’t buy into the b.s. Eat, Sleep, Be Authentic, Repeat.
For more on Lesnar's history and career, check out this article from Bleacher Report.