Be Like the Duck: Brand Yourself

by Deb Andrychuk

3 June, 2013

If you’re one of the millions of A&E Television viewers, you are fully aware of the Robertson Clan and their wildly successful companies, “Duck Commander” and “Buck Commander” and their crazy successful show “Duck Dynasty.”  For those of you who live under a rock, Duck Commander manufactures duck calls and Buck Commander is CEO Willie Robertson’s venture into deer hunting gear.

Duck Dynasty chronicles the life of the Robertson Family in their home town of Monroe, La. The Robertson family has become a staple in millions of American homes each week, serving up humorous reality-based television episodes, with show topics ranging from how to catch an escaped lizard in the warehouse to law enforcement “ride alongs” with the sheriff to teaching Willie’s teenage daughter how to drive. How big are they? According to Nielsen, their Season 3 finale was watched by 9.6 million viewers, which makes it the most watched program in A& E’s 29-year history. I would say that’s pretty big! In addition to their duck calls, they have branded shirts, hats and other paraphernalia on the shelves of several retailers like Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

If you’re thinking, “Hey Jack! I really don’t care!“ I promise I’ll get to my point. In watching the show and following this family on Twitter and Facebook, I feel like I know the Robertson’s intimately. They are so open on social media and TV; you can’t help but to sense that you know all of their personalities. From Phil and Miss Kay to Jase, Korie and Uncle Si, you really feel like you are hanging out with these down-to-earth folks. If you check out their Facebook page (4.9 million likes) and Twitter page (787,524 followers) I think you’ll understand what I am talking about. There are pictures of the family shopping, hanging out on vacation and at events.

What’s even more impressive is the growth of the company over the last few years. They have taken a company making 60,000 duck calls a year in 2011 to a multimillion dollar empire in 2012, the year the show aired. The Robertson’s have done a great job of branding themselves in a true and interesting fashion and have leveraged self-made instructional videos, TV and social media to effectively engage with their fans. I think companies trying to increase their consumer or corporate brand awareness or even their employment brand awareness could learn a thing or two from the Duck Boys from Monroe, La.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the Bearded Boys:

  1. Sell by tell. Tell your story with passion! Consumers and job seekers alike will then be compelled to want to learn more and to engage with you.
  2. Make it visual: Use plenty of relevant, candid shots of your people and events.
  3. Keep it real: this is huge! Genuine wins every time!
  4. Multimedia wins: Employ as many media platforms as possible to share your message: TV, video, social, print, in person events.
  5. All In: Get everyone at your company on board to support the cause, especially on the social media sites. This is best way to grow your fan base organically.
  6. Have fun! If you aren’t “Happy, happy, happy” Jack, then you need to hit the road!

The Duck Boys may look like dumb rednecks, but they’re smart and savvy marketers. Looking forward to more lessons in Season 4!