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Ultimate Brand: Santa Claus

Santa - the ultimate brandWe encounter branding every day. You, me, we all do. When we think of household brand, we think big. Apple. Nike. Coke. Big name. Big presence. Big identity. In my humble opinion—and not just because I’m trying to score points with the big guy—Santa Claus is the epitome of brand. Now, I know that the holidays are a few months off, but they’ll be here before you know it. So take a minute to see what Cassandra Johnson has to say about branding…


Claim your market space by addressing needs and barriers. First, a brand must address a need or a barrier that potential clients face. In Santa’s case, he knows you need that cute sweater, Xbox or iPad. But more importantly, Santa knows that you are in need of holiday spirit, giving to others and peace throughout the world.


Identify your target audience. The next important step to brand success is knowing your target audience. Santa is very clear about his target audience–boys and girls around the world. He also has great insight into his audience by identifying those that are “naughty” or “nice.”


Determine your brand tonality. Voice or tonality is a very important component of brand. It’s a representation of the personality of your organization. Some companies appear authoritative. Some come across as creative. Others are forward-thinking. Santa Claus and the entire North Pole enterprise is very consistent with brand tonality that appears to be jolly and merry.


Provide a tagline. A tagline is a quick synopsis of your key message delivered in a way that is memorable and digestible, and in a tone that represents your personality. Santa’s tagline is perhaps one of the most memorable, repeatable and quickly identifiable phrases in all of the languages of the world. Simple but straightforward. “Ho, Ho, Ho.”


Be consistent in messaging. In addition to a tagline, messaging should be consistent and compelling in order to build brand value. It should identify what you do, the value you deliver and the reasons to believe in that value. Santa delivers the spirit and magic of Christmas, and brings peace throughout the world by going to each and every child’s home on Christmas Eve to deliver special toys individually chosen for those who believe.

It’s a clear message that is consistently delivered through his workshop, his elves, his reindeer, his letters to children, his e-mails and even his Twitter feed.


Stick to brand guidelines. Finally, a brand is known by its consistent visual representation. We all know the Nike swoosh and, of course, we know the branded elements of Christmas–PMS 032 Red or PMS 356 Green. Plus, Santa’s red suit, black boots and white beard are all branded icons that reflect the Santa brand.


When you are looking for an example of branding, remember Santa. He has the whole package.


I’m sharing this to remind readers that when choosing a promotional product, keep the above in mind. Identify your audience and address a need. And be consistent. With few exceptions, the promotional product you utilize should also be consistent with your brand and voice. With lots of experience and a huge product database, that’s where I can help you – to choose an item that fits. One that works for you.   –Ted


Cassandra Johnson is a tech-savvy marketing communications consultant and freelance writer. She reports on the latest trends in the promotional products industry, public relations, direct marketing, e-marketing and more. She supports clients in a variety of industries, including promotional products, hospitality, financial services and technology.



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