The story of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bidding to takeover Wrexham AFC is quite extraordinary. Two movie stars buying a National League club from a (let’s face it) not especially glamorous corner of Wales and wanting to turn it into a ‘global force’ has corny Hollywood script written all over it.
But, they produced a masterful piece of communication last weekend, in sharing their mission statement with supporters, ahead of a vote on the takeover plans.
Mission statements are typically a pretty dull recycling of vague words to do with being world class, innovative, sustainable, blah, blah, blah… But I thought this one was great.
So what was so good about it?
1/ Understanding the audience
You might expect a couple of American actors not to have an instinctive grasp of the pysche of a lower league Welsh football fan. But, in both the content and style of the statement, the pair showed a real understanding of who they were talking to, and what matters to them.
The key concern of fans would be that these Yanks know nothing about us or our town and they are probably just in it for a laugh, so why should we let them take over our precious club?
The statement dropped in just enough club-specific references to show they’d done their homework and understood what Wrexham means to its fans (with beating Chester popping up as a recurring theme).
The whole thing is written with a really nice balance of humour, humility and self-effacement, being serious when it needs to be, without ever lapsing into generic corporate speak. Just about perfect, I would think, to strike the right note with the fans.
In what was a fairly short statement, they managed to include an awful lot of meaningful content, designed to convince fans that these are the right people to run the club.
First, a bit about them (making them feel relatable) swiftly followed by reassurance about their motivations and level of commitment…
Then, a simple but achievable vision that covers the team, fans, stadium and community, all in one sentence…
Now for some reassurance – “We get it and we’re good guys, on your side”, plus another nod to their ambition…
Finally, a set of tangible promises – “This is what we’ll actually do”. Some a little bit vague, but others specific enough to provide more reassurance and spark some excitement among the fans. Again, dropping in plenty of Wrexham references to create a connection…
It’s just a great piece of communication and it shows the power of not just saying the right things, but saying them in the right way.
I assume they had some help with it, but Ryan Reynolds is well known for his marketing talents, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he had quite a bit of personal input into crafting the statement.
Will it work? The next few days will tell, as the Supporters Trust votes on the takeover resolution. I’d be amazed if it’s a “no, thanks.”