How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and Consistency)

Branding is a funny thing. It’s a full, comprehensive experience that goes far beyond coming up with a catchy name and cool-looking logo for your business. Today we’re going to talk about brand depth and consistency and we’re using…wait for it…the company Duck Commander, a duck call company featured in the show, “ Duck Dynasty,” as our example of how it’s done right.

How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and Consistency) image Screen Shot 2013 02 27 at 5.44.06 PM 251x300How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and C …Understand Your Target Market

Most important to any brand is a clear understanding of your target market. Often, this comes (at least in part) from being a member of your target market. Duck Commander was started by Phil Robertson, who himself was a duck hunter who used duck calls regularly. Phil’s ability to “tune” a duck call was legendary among his friends, who would have him tune theirs. Finally, he decided to launch his own duck call business.

As a member of his target market, Phil understood what duck hunters wanted. He knew the industry and what products were on the market, and he knew that his product was superior.

But remember, being a member of your target market isn’t the only key to understanding your target market. You have to actually ask them—really talk to them and find out their needs and their attitudes toward those needs.

Understand Your Brand and What it Means

Once you’ve created your brand, it’s critical to understand the brand and what it means. Often the coolest names are inspired by a single statement. Duck Commander was inspired when a fellow hunter told Phil, “You weren’t just calling those birds, you were commanding them!” (Likewise, Business in Blue Jeans was inspired when someone asked me how I liked to work, and I said, “I’m just tired of the whole business suit thing. I love to do business in my blue jeans.”)

But what you need to know is what does your brand mean? What does it represent? Duck Commander’s brand isn’t just about calling (or commanding) ducks. It’s about a way of life, an attitude toward nature and yes, toward life as well.

Know What You Stand For

This brings me to knowing what you stand for, also a critical part of fully embracing and going deep with your brand. In the book, The Duck Commander Family, Phil’s son Willie, who now runs Duck Commander says, “I believe our faith is what sets us apart. It’s not about our beards, our success, or our hunting skills.”

Well, that’s only partly true. A brand is the entire package. So it’s the beards, the successes, the hunting skills, and their faith that sets Duck Commander (and Duck Dynasty) apart. But a critical piece of that puzzle is indeed knowing what you stand for, and it’s clear that their faith is a big part of that for the Robertson family.

Look the Part

How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and Consistency) image Screen Shot 2013 02 27 at 5.43.44 PM 300x198How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and C …The Early Days, pre-beard and camo.

But just as important as what you stand for, you have to look the part. Everywhere they go, when we see them on “Duck Dynasty,” the Robertson men are wearing their camouflage pants and sporting their long, signature beards. Now, Phil appears to have had the beard for decades, but as recently as 2006, most of his sons were clean-shaven.

However, looking the part matters when you’re building a brand, so around 2006, the sons began to let their beards grow (which reminds me of another show, “Whisker Wars,” but I haven’t figured out quite how to turn that into a business-related blog post yet).

Similarly, as the author of Business in Blue Jeans, when I appear at speaking engagements and events, I wear my jeans. They’re always nice, tidy, cute jeans, but they’re always jeans. That’s a part of my brand. I look the part.

How to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and Consistency) image Screen Shot 2013 02 27 at 5.41.27 PMHow to Fully Embrace Your Branding (Or, the Duck Commander Guide to Brand Depth and C …

See what I mean? Jeans work for me. But the Duck Dynasty look…not so much. Don’t look the WRONG part!

Live the Part

Perhaps most importantly, especially when you’re embracing a personal brand, you have to live the part. Watching “Duck Dynasty,” you see the Robertsons working in their warehouse, building duck calls, making deals, packing orders, you see them hunting, and you see them sitting down to dinner together as a family. And while some of that may be staged or emphasized for the camera, the fact is, the Robertsons do live the part—they go hunting, they use the Duck Commander duck calls, they wear the beards and the camo, and you get the sense that this isn’t a big act- it’s authentically who they are.

Okay, so “Duck Dynasty” is a TV show, and probably not to be taken too seriously. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from this multi-million dollar company, right?

What are your thoughts? Favorite examples of fully embracing a brand? Or just an opinion about “Duck Dynasty?” Post in the comments below!

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