Every Wednesday, my Facebook feed is filled with excited posts about the upcoming new episode of Duck Dynasty that night. This show is either rapidly becoming a phenomenon, or I have an extra special set of friends. (If the latter is the case, please stop reading now and forget that you ever saw this. Sound good? Okay, thanks.)
For those of you pretending that you’ve never heard of the popular television show, the show’s network, A&E, describes Duck Dynasty as a reality show that follows “a Louisiana bayou family living the American dream as they operate a thriving business while staying true to their family values and lifestyle.” The Duck Commander business is owned and run by the Robertson family, who made their fortune creating duck calls and found fame with their comfortable charm and flowing facial hair.
What does a company that was founded by an admitted technology hater in the Louisiana Bayou and is funded by duck hunters have to do with how you run your reputation online? A whole lot, if you follow the Robertson lead in a few key areas:
- Know your roots. Duck Commander may be a multi-million dollar company today, but they started out as a one man operation in a small family shed. As they’ve grown, they’ve stayed local, using Louisiana cedar trees to make their product. They’re involved in the local community, live modestly, and have regular family dinners. While they’ve got a lot more money than they used to, they don’t have a lot of problems that typically go with that type of success. My guess is that remembering what really matters (values, family, community) they’ve been able to avoid the headaches that accompany those who all too often grow too big for their britches on the heels of success.
- Know your market. By maintaining the lifestyle and hobbies that they had when they got into the duck call business, they not only understand what their customers want, but they can relate to them as well. They know their market so well because they are their market.
- Be genuine. These guys are very serious about their business, but they’re also not afraid to be themselves and act silly. Often, people try to be what they think their audience wants them to be. These guys are totally comfortable with who they are, and their audience loves them more for it. They’re silly, sometimes awkward, and give each other a hard time. Throughout all of that, you can see how much they value what they do and who they work with.
- Be a good sport. Despite all of the silly antics and teasing, the show always ends with the family, together at the dinner table. They have a lot of fun together, and sometimes have not so fun moments, but they always seem to set frustrations aside and come together as a group in the end.
- Respect your elders. All of the kids on the show frequently are heard saying “yes, Ma’am” and “yes, Sir” when addressing their family members. While it may be considered old fashioned to many, showing respect to those who paved the way for you (in family or in industry/work settings) is never a bad practice.
- “When you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best to do it quickly.” Perhaps one of the show’s most famous quotes, it rings true in many areas of life. Are you testing something new that you’re hoping will be pure magic, but are maybe a little afraid may explode in your face? Whether the potential explosion literal or figurative, sometimes it is best to jump in with both feet when you’re trying something new.
- When relationships work, support them. Whether it be family or coworkers, some people just have great chemistry. Where there is great chemistry, success usually follows. Great working relationships are invaluable. If you have a great team, do what ever you can to support their success. You won’t regret it.
- Stick to your guns. Don’t sacrifice what is most important to you. Ever. When a company or a family compromises their values, they may as well throw in the towel. Those that follow their convictions and maintain integrity rarely find themselves in compromising reputation management positions.
As Jase from the show said, there’s “a fine line between being a matador and being a rodeo clown” -and many of us will go back and forth between the two as we stumble through our lives and careers. The goal is to be able to laugh yourself through the clown moments, and figure out how to shine during your matador moments.