Friday, December 20, 2013

Branding Santa – A Hilarious Marketing Lesson from UK Agency Quietroom

Santa Claus has been a household name for centuries, featuring on greeting cards and product packaging, and appearing in ads, movies and TV shows. So what if Santa decided to brand himself like any other enterprise?

The creative minds at Quietroom, a UK branding agency, made a presentation that explains in detail what the new *Santa* brand is all about. But apart from being a wonderful spoof, it also teaches us all the elements of today’s branding policy.

It’s especially useful for anyone working in the field of marketing & PR, graphic design, and even law (just read the legal disclaimers at the bottom of the pages!).

Mission Statement

The first page starts with the mission statement that is as meaningless as many others that are floating around.

"*Santa* is a Concept, not an idea. It's an Emotion, not a feeling. It's both Yesterday and Today. And it's Tomorrow as well.”

The Brand Explained

In the Age of Acronyms, Santa just has to be an acronym!

*Santa* stands for:

* The introductory asterisk reminds customers of a snowflake alighting on the eyelash of a fawn.

SAN The first three letters represent South And North. We are headquartered in the North, but our reach is global.

N The N symbolizes nitrogen, the most abundant atmospheric element, calling to mind the abundance of gifts we distribute.

TA The final two letters are the (abbreviated) thanks of the world’s children.

* The terminating asterisk points to the polar star, and hence the birth of dreams.

Brand Promise

A brand must represent certain values and evoke emotions. That’s why the “brand promise” is explained as follows:

What does *Santa* represent? E(x)cellence, (m)easurability, (a)ccountability and (s)now -(X-mas)

To further explain the brand values, (re)branding presentations contain a bunch of Venn diagrams trying to explain target audience, USP, public image, etc.

In this case, it shows the brand value of Santa, Ho Ho Ho, and Rudolph.

Brand Journey

In this section, the agency or designer tries to explain (justify) the new brand. It is normally an analysis of the history of the brand, competitors and market trends. But what if you don’t have a lot to say? Well, you can go for metaphors…

In this case, they compare Santa to a bird (stork), a river (Danube), a biscuit (Hobnob), and a holiday (Eastern).

Brand Concept

The branding agency or designer normally has a vision about the new brand and how it will work for the entity. Most of the time, they opt for a complicated diagram or illustration that tries to explain the whole (re) brand concept/process in one shot.

In this case, they came up with the Brand House “a brand is a sack on the sleigh of belief”.

Brand Justification

This section “justifies” the (re)designed brand. It tries to explain the added value that the brand will bring to the company/entity.

Logo, Color and Font Use

A logo is part of the corporate or personal brand. Apart from being a differentiator, it is also a major asset. To prevent subsidiaries, subcontractors, resellers and employees to get “creative” and “improve” the logo, a company normally has guidelines (style guide) for using the logo, fonts, colors etc. in place.

Corporate colors and the typeface are also part of a corporate identity. In many cases, designers opt for mixing two pantone colors to create a unique color for the company. The same applies for fonts. Once a company has its own font, it becomes its IP.

In this case, the *Santa* logo cannot be "altered, adjusted, changed, adapted, modified, varied, reformed, revamped, refined, reorientated, transmuted, metamorphosized, customized or tailored in any way."

Tagline, Slogan and Writing Guidelines

Many companies have a tagline to explain its mission. Famous taglines are “Just do it” (Nike), “sense and simplicity” (Philips), and “Got Milk?” (California Milk Processor Board).

*Santa* has its own tagline: “Snap it, Clap it, Wrap it”. It replaces the previous “Meet it, Greet it, Eat it”.

A slogan is designed for branding a specific ad campaign or event. For 2013, Santa’s slogan is “Never Knowingly Undersnowed”.

The writing guidelines instruct marketing and copywriters which phrases to use or avoid, whether writing should be formal or informal, how to use abbreviations, etc.

In this case: *Santa* is: fond of children, generous, round and jolly, and rosy cheeked. *Santa* is not: a bit creepy, a mug, morbidly obese, and half-cut.

Magic Quadrant

The Magic Quadrant (first designed by the Boston Consulting Group) shows how competitors rank by comparing two characteristics. It visualized who the main threats for a company or entity are.

In this case, “Fatiness” and “Beardiness” were used to chart the strengths of potential competitors. Miley Cyrus is the least threat (being slim and beardless) while Harry Potter's Hagrid is the main competitor based on body mass and beard. King Henry VIII and actor Brian Blessed also pose a threat.

Customer Profile

This section identifies the target audience. The wants and needs of the potential customer drive the brand.

In this case, the target audience consists of “people that believe”. A graph relates the age of a person to his/her believing in (1) Santa, (2) communism, and (3) God. The target audience consists of children up to 10-15 years. After 25, people don’t believe in Santa anymore…sorry *Santa*!

To read the *Santa* Brand Book of Quietroom, click here.

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