Friday, January 10, 2014

Brand Stewardship in Action

If you've been tracking the success of A&E's Duck Dynasty show - you've seen it has had a rapid rise in popularity. The recent snafu with Phil Robertson and his short-term "suspension" has only propelled the show into new dialogues of the social sphere. In the end, A&E was swayed by a viewer boycott and rapid loss of viewership after indefinitely benching the elder Robertson. It just so happens Duck Dynasty is A&E's top-rated show after carelessly shooting themselves in the foot they quickly patched things up and "un-suspended" the conservatively minded patriarch.

It turns out the dedicated followers of the Duck Dynasty show are socially savvy. They put their collective power to use and quickly quelled any notions of canning the lucrative show - as it could not have gone on without the elder Robertson. In the end the nearly 12 million viewers got what they wanted and were "happy, happy, happy."

Swing your semi-auto gaze to another field filled with passionate duck lovers. In our world of high-tech tracking and gadgets that follow our every move - even ducks and geese are not immune to the eagle eyes of hunters, biologists and wildlife refuge officers. has slick Waterfowl Migration tracker - sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and Remington that gives reports on the status and movement of the quacking sort.
Looking up a report in my neck of the woods near Toledo, Ohio shows a report by Gerry Mazur, Avery Pro Staff. His report gives a glimpse to the trials and tribulations of being a duck and goose in the wild when temps are sub-zero.

Hunting: Has been too dangerous to be out.

Species/Numbers: Ducks and geese are working the rivers for open water and near salt piles to stay alive.

Weather: Starting a slow thaw from the dangerous could the last 4 days. wind chills were in the -40 below category and some spots close to a foot of snow.

Let me first say - this is why I prefer a coat with down vs. synthetic. No other material in the world has the insulating properties of down. Human skin is rather lacking. A bit better with beards like the Robertson's, but still lacking. The National Weather Service reports that exposed skin can get frostbite in as little as 10 minutes with wind chill reaching -40 to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes.
Equally impressive is the fact that Gerry Mazur was out and about checking on the status of ducks and geese in this frigid weather. This kind of dedication is commendable. A real die-hard for ducks.

So what is this "Avery Pro-Staff" designation alongside Gerry's name? Turns out it is a special program for outdoor-minded individuals (aka hunters) that use Avery Outdoors equipment and want to become more than a consumer, but a team member (brand steward). They have very strict criteria for their staff and expect a certain level of dedication to the cause. An application process is posted on their message board, where they stress, "being part of this special team is hard work and will require a commitment of time and energy that many cannot make." They stress being a team player and the seriousness of the calling. has a Pro-Staff page that includes biographies of each Staff Member on their site and it appears to be a big part of their marketing program. This empowerment of the masses to be brand stewards and promote the good of duck hunting as well as their own brand is noteworthy.
Proud duck dog from North Texas.
My hope, as a writer and brand steward of the Jeep brand, is that as Gerry is trekking through the tundra tracking ducks along the migratory waterways of Michigan and Ohio -- he would be doing it in a Jeep 4x4. I applaud Avery Outdoors for their nurturing of brand stewards that actively monitor their pro-staff flyways and represent their brand. Well-done and happy spotting!