Hey CEOs! Two things you must learn from UFC’s Dana White

Dana White proves again that he’s the best CEO in sports. No other leading man seems to understand how to make his organization succeed better than Dana.

Dana White's Twitter Page Snapshot

Why should you follow Dana White’s lead when your business is nothing like his? Because he understands two things better than you ever will—brand and audience. And in the age of social media, if you don’t understand these two things, you will soon be toast.


Dana doesn’t just know what his company’s brand is. He lives it and breathes it, and he does everything he can to make sure his fighters do the same. He loves his sport (which is the product his company sells, for you CEOs who are having trouble following along), and you know that just by watching and listening to him.

Be your brands biggest and best ambassador! 

This may sound weird, but Dana reminds me of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Tony and Dana both ooze passion for what they do. (If you’re unfamiliar with Zappos, read this.)

What do they have in common? They both put the customer first…really. And they also both encourage their employees to have fun interacting with their customers/fans. Both Dana and Tony lead by example, currently with 1.4 million and 1.8 million followers on Twitter, respectively.


The secret to marketing success is to keep people coming back to buy your products. How do you do this? Engage! Engage! Engage!

Can your organization fully engage with customers if you only have one to three people handling your social media?

As good a job as Dana does interacting with fans and keeping them excited about the UFC brand, he knows he can’t sustain it alone. So, while athletes in other sports are getting fined for tweeting, Dana is encouraging—actually offering bonuses—for UFC athletes who tweet and do it well.

Quote from BloodyElbow.com site: Let's get this out of the way: this is a great policy. The four big sports leagues have reacted to Twitter like the out-of-touch, white-haired men that they are. The UFC has done a great job leveraging social media, even if it occasionally backfires. Putting more money in the pockets of fighters while expanding the reach of the sport? Great.

But he’s not just saying, “Go out and tweet.” He’s giving them information on how to do it. At a recent Fighter Summit in Las Vegas, fighters learned about brand, social media and more.

Other sports leagues are missing the point. The whole point of athletes and other celebrities tweeting is engagement. Engage your fans, build a larger more loyal fan base, drive merchandise and ticket sales, etc.

The same holds true for other organizations as well. Expand your reach and your ability to relate with customers, profits will come.

CEO call to action

CEOs: Stop being afraid of your employees using social media. Conquer fear with knowledge. Give your employees instruction on brand, marketing and social media. Make sure they have everything they need to represent your company well.

I’m not saying that all your employees should be tweeting like Zappos or like Dana White and the UFC, but you should at least be moving in that direction.

In a year or two, social media will stop being the new thing. Something else will be the new thing, and you’ll be stuck trying to figure out the old thing. Don’t get left behind.


Technically, Dana White is the president of the UFC. Lorenzo Fertitta is the CEO of Zuffa, of which the UFC is a subsidiary. I used a little poetic license for the blog’s sake. Hope you don’t mind. Also, the quote pasted in gray above is from BloodyElbow.com


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