Corporate Eye

Santa’s Brand Book 2013 – Time for a Brand Refresh

santa brandEven Santa could use a brand refresh from time to time, and the British agency Quietroom has taken the reindeer by the horns and created the 2013 Santa Brand Book. It’s a must-see for marketers and brand managers who need a laugh during the hectic holiday season.

The Santa Brand Book is filled with humor and over-the-top branding and marketing messaging. It begins with the following brand value proposition:

“*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. *Santa* winds infinite Possibilities around finite Limitations to evoke the essence of invention and the Odour of Nostalgia. It has the complexity of Simpleness and the Simplicity of complexiveness. It begins with the Hiss of Power and ends with the Ah of Surprise.”

How many brand statements have you read that are filled with buzz words but are completely meaningless, like brand *Santa*?

Next, the Santa Brand Book explains the brand promise:

  • X = excellence
  • M = measurability
  • A = accountability
  • S = snow

There is nothing like creating an acronym to state the obvious. How many times have you seen this in brand identity guides?

And the answer to the question, “Why *Santa*?” should not be missed:

* – 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 also 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 customers to the polar star, and hence the birth of dreams.

Equally amusing is the description of how to live the brand- “Snap it. Clap it. Wrap it.”

Be sure to check out the “Mandatory Venn Diagrams”, the brand assets schematic, the “Curve of Credulity”, the external communications requirements, the brand color palette, and the meaning of Pantone 032C red. Each is filled with tongue-in-cheek humor that seasoned marketers will understand and love.

Of course, the 2013 Santa Brand Book is meant to be funny, but it actually delivers an important message. When you create a brand and brand identity guidelines, make sure they actually mean something to all stakeholders (e.g., consumers, employees, investors, and so on). Anyone can put together a jargon-filled document complete with charts and diagrams, but strip all of that fancy (and distracting) wrapping away and what’s left? It’s that remaining substance which truly matters to your brand, its identity, and its success.

 Image: Roby Mikic

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

If you read, tweeted or shared our *Santa* Brand Book – thank you. By the time we got back from our holidays, it’d had 1.1 million views. We think that happened because, like lots of successful communication, it followed these 5 golden rules:

Comments are closed.