April 16, 2024

What Content Creators Can Learn from Welcome to Wrexham

Like many Americans, I love sports. Unlike many Americans, I love soccer, particularly the football played in Europe. I am up early on weekend mornings to watch English Premier League matches and I regularly gather with supporters of my beloved Tottenham Hotspur to watch our side play in a local pub.

As a result, when there’s content about English soccer available for me to consume, I usually do so. Most Americans will not, however, because the inherent appeal of soccer in my country is limited.

That thinking has been flipped on its head by the success of Welcome to Wrexham, the FX series about a soccer club from the small city of Wrexham in Wales. The series will debut its third season on May 2nd, and it is widely expected to be renewed for a fourth season.

Welcome to Wrexham

For the uninitiated, soccer in most countries outside of North America is organized into levels, with teams being promoted and relegated from one level to another based on their performances each season. Think of it like a minor league baseball team such as the Durham Bulls or the Toledo Mud Hens getting promoted to play Major League Baseball or the New York Yankees being relegated to the minor leagues.

Welcome to Wrexham documents the incredible story of a soccer club from a small, working-class city that had seen better days. The club, which was formed in 1864 and is the third oldest professional association soccer club in the world, was on the brink of financial disaster before it was purchased by two Hollywood actors, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. For 15 years, Wrexham FC was languishing in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football system, one step below the top four leagues widely thought of as the professional levels of English football.

This past weekend, Wrexham clinched their second consecutive promotion and will be making the jump to the third tier of English football next season, after being promoted from the National League to the fourth tier the previous season. It is an amazing sports story.

But it is still just a sports story. And, for many of you reading this, likely not something you will find interesting unless you are a soccer fan. So, how has this television series succeeded in attracting a sizeable audience?

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney on a Wrexham AFC bus parade (Credit: WXM Photography/Shutterstock)

Coleman Insights customers and regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the Image Pyramid, a core philosophy that governs the research and strategic advice we provide to our clients. Originally developed for radio stations, the Image Pyramid applies to most products and services because it emphasizes how brands that are multi-dimensional attract more users than those perceived as offering little more than their core purpose.

Welcome to Wrexham works because it is more than just a show about a soccer team. It is also about the people of Wrexham—everyone from the owner of the pub adjacent to their stadium to the 226 men who lost their lives in a 1934 mining disaster to the teenage fan with autism and her special bond with the team’s top player, whose son is also autistic—and the impact the club’s ups and downs have had on their city. When you add the presences of Reynolds and McElhenney, the people they have hired to drive the club’s transformation, and Ryan and Rob’s celebrity friends, you have a show that has a deep texture that appeals to many people beyond hardcore soccer fans like me. (My wife, who likes soccer but is not the kind of fan who would watch any show about the sport, has watched every one of the 33 episodes that made up the first two seasons of Welcome to Wrexham.) The show’s Image Pyramid is also wrapped in a brand essence that is funny, warm, and—as my wife points out—full of hope.

If you oversee an audio brand or create audio content, Welcome to Wrexham provides valuable lessons about how to maximize your audience. While it is vital that consumers have a clear understanding of the core of your content (a Classic Rock station, a podcast about Italian cooking, a streaming channel dedicated to exposing music from new R&B artists, etc.), if that is all they think of your brand, it is unlikely consumers will become loyal users. Welcome to Wrexham is a show about so much more than a soccer club; make your radio station, podcast, or stream mean more to your audience than just its basic premise and you will be rewarded like the fans of Wrexham FC have.




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