Sometimes, a brand comes along that is really different—and goes against the grain of everything else you’ve been accustomed to. With over $40 million dollars in revenue in 2012 (Source: Wikipedia), and the number one cable show in history, no one can deny that the Robertson Family/Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty brand has done something right.
If Willie Robertson were to sit down in my office (see end of this post), and I was able to ask him what advice he had for hunting and outdoor business owners and marketers about building their brand, I think this is what he would say…
1. Be authentic
One thing that Willie Robertson would say about your branding efforts is to be authentic. This has been one of the genuine traits of the Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty brand. No fluff, no gloss, no razzle-dazzle. Customers feel a real connection to the Robertson’s and buy their products because they are real. A lot of companies develop their brands that feel and look manufactured. For decades we’ve been soaked with Madison Avenue style advertising that it’s become something we naturally ignore. Kind of like air. You know it’s there, but you don’t really think about it. By being authentic your chances of cutting through the clutter increase.
2. Keep it real
Willie would say keep it real. Don’t be something you’re not. Your company starts with the personality and character of you—the founder. Don’t loose that one thing that separates you from everyone else—you. Great brands are built on men and women who keep it real. Look at Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Chuck Buck and Howard Shultz.
3. Know your customer
Willie says, know your customer. Duck Commander and Buck Commander as well as the Duck Dynasty and Robertson brand all meticulously built their brands around their customer that truly connects on a personal level. Research and interview your customers—find out who your ideal customer is. Build your brand and your branding efforts around them. Talk like they talk, do what they like to do, hang out where they hang out. Engage them, solve their problems. This is the most important step in developing a brand.
4. Hire your customers
Willie only hires people who are hunting fanatics and who adhere to their cultural virtues. Hire people who are naturally passionate about what you do. This will pay considerable dividends from a customer service and standpoint and reduce turnover costs. Customers generally turn out to be among the best performers when they become employees. You already know them and they know you. (SOURCE: ERE)
5. Sell the experience
The old saying “your brand is your product” certainly applies here. I would bet that like Harley Davidson, most of Duck Commander’s revenue is made through shirts, hats and other branded apparel—people aren’t necessarily buying just duck calls. People want to be associated with the Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty experience—which is another reason why the brand is so powerful. They want to feel like they are apart of the family or out in the blinds with them.
Whether you like Duck Dynasty or not, as a hunting and outdoor business owner you have to admit that what makes this brand unique is its authenticity, their approach to keeping it real, their intimate knowledge of their customers, the experience they sell and the people they hire. The brand’s story and ability to connect with millions of people make it a great brand to emulate and apply to your own company’s branding efforts.
Photo Credit: Jeff Riedel