As I mentioned in the last post, we’re going to be building our sample Brand Book on the Rubber Duckie Brand. The reasons for choosing this brand over any other are varied but include being a “duck,” not having vigilant brand guardians searching the web for every unauthorized mention, and being both iconic and well-known. As you follow along with the Rubber Duckie example, build your own Brand Book for your brand. By the time we’re done, you’ll have a complete and professional brand book that you can share within your business and with valued partners and that won’t be used as a glorified doorstop.

Writing a Brand Book is a Vicious Circle

To begin the job of creating a Brand Book, it’s important to note that wherever we start, we’re going to inevitably come back around at the end and edit what we started to create one cohesive message. The very act of creating a Brand Book will inform and enhance the Brand. Vicious circle — definitely! Should that stop you from getting started — not a chance!

Understanding the nature of the vicious circle, the best place to start is to start with the beginning… literally. One of the first pages of the brand book should be dedicated to the history of the brand. What we’re writing here is not an exhaustive history, but rather the highlights to lend context and depth to the brand we’re going to be discussing for the duration of the brand book and to begin to frame our position. As we’re writing our history, it’s critical that we pay attention to constructing the foundations of the brand position. The brand will be more authentic and transparent if it springs from its official history, rather than as a contrived marketing position that an agency has created.

The History Section for our Rubber Duckie brand could look something like this:

From Tub Companion to World Leader Rubber Duckie Brand Book History

Rubber Duckie

Rubber Duckie’s exact origins are unclear but have been traced to mid-19th-century rubber manufacturers. In its earliest form, Rubber Duckie was made from hard rubber — giving it its distinctive and descriptive name. It wasn’t until the mid-1970′s that the Rubber Duckie brand became pervasive and iconic, popularized by Jim Henson of The Muppets and Ernie’s affection for baths and his little yellow friend. Ernie, in fact, was responsible for Rubber Duckie’s theme song, “Rubber Duckie.” Later renditions of the song would be sung by great artists, including Little Richard. During this period, Rubber Duckie won the mind, hearts, and souls of America’s youth, ensuring its rightful place in pop culture.

Rubber Duckie escaped the confines of the bathtub to realize its dream of becoming an oceanographer and helped to chart the ocean currents in 1991 when 29,000 Rubber Duckies and friends went overboard in the middle of the Pacific. Some Rubber Duckies traveled to Alaska in the first year; others remained adrift for 11 years before coming in for a landing off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

In 2001 Rubber Duckie successful migrated across the Atlantic Ocean to win over the British by wooing their queen with a Rubber Duckie sporting an inflatable crown. This successful trans-Atlantic swim solidified Rubber Duckie’s ownership of the tub-companion marketplace.

Today, Rubber Duckie lends its fame to charities, voluntarily swimming in race after race to win prizes for its adopted “parents”, raising considerable funds for its charities and helping to bring communities together for good clean fun.

Rubber Duckie is proud to have provided enjoyment to countless children, helped chart the world’s oceans, and to lend its fame and fortune to worthy charities. Rubber Duckie hopes to inspire, fun, adventure, and kindness to all the world’s inhabitants.

See more from the Brand Book Tutorial Series
About the Author:

Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She has been named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

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