Brand History: Start at the Beginning of the Brand Book

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..

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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.

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Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently 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.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

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