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Dear Santa, Traditional Branding Works

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santaChange or die. You hear it often. Change is something people have come to expect in most aspects of their life. Brands are constantly changing and for a number of them they should be. There are a few things that never change, such as the taste of Coke (although they tried), the feel of cotton, and Santa.

Why don’t they change? Why hasn’t Santa been updated to a soy milk drinking vegan under 200 lbs and stripped of the red suit? There are many reasons. The Santa we know today can be mainly attributed to illustrator Thomas Nast. He first illustrated Santa Claus in Harper’s Weekly in 1862 during the Civil War. In total, Nast created 76 published engravings of our beloved Santa. Now you may or may not know, but Santa’s first appearance in advertising was not the popular Coca-Cola campaign that started in the 1930s.

Santa’s first appearance in advertising came by way of the White Rock Beverages in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915. Haddon Sundblom continued on the same jolly old Santa trend with his Coca-Cola advertisements from the 1930s through the 1950s. Today, Santa is portrayed exactly the same as he was 150 years ago and is used to sell everything from electronics to cars.

Notice the photo of Santa in that first group of advertisements from White Rock. He really has not changed. And who can explain the phenomenon of someone who normally listens to the likes of Lady Gaga wanting to hear Bing Crosby at Christmastime? There only one explanation: tradition.

Tradition brings consumers back to their childhood. It reminds them of the simpler things in life and brings them comfort. In a world where everybody is trying to find the next new extreme, it is possible to brand using traditional values and still move forward. Every great brand can bring forth a tradition in their own way.

Some brands need to change but some get it wrong. They stray from what made them great and lose. The key is to know your brand story and to build on it. We know Santa comes in on a sleigh, only eats milk and cookies, and lives at the North Pole. We don’t specify the cookies; there could be a thousand different types. This is where Santa can branch out. This is the least barrier to entry for changing something about Santa. Instead of trying to come up with the next new thing out of the blue, ask yourself this: “What are my cookies?”

Photo courtesy of www.whiterocking.com

Article originally published on Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/news/Dear-Santa,-Traditional-Branding-Works/16253.html

Home Depot Helps in the Sand(y) Box

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Hurricane, Superstorm, Frankenstorm. Whatever you call it, Hurricane Sandy is taking the East Coast by surprise. The is the biggest storm that this portion of America has seen since 1820. And who is there to help when others are running away? Home Depot.home-depot-logo

Home Depot has done a great job of marketing itself as a sort of storm headquarters. They are able to make supplies available such as batteries, generators, flashlights, chain saws, and the like, when others cannot. When Hurricane Irene came around the Home Depot increased their quarterly sales by a full percentage point. By the looks of things, Home Depot’s sales will be through the roof once again.

According to an Ad Age article entitled, How Adland Is Weathering Hurricane Sandy, Home Depot had this comment:

“Our goal is to be the last to close and the first to open. We stay open as long as we can, as long as it is safe for our associates to be there,” said Meghan King, a spokeswoman with Home Depot. “On the other hand, many stores have extended their hours to serve customers as long as possible. Hurricane planning is a year-round exercise for us, so our operations, merchandising and store teams know what to do and when to do it,” Ms. King added.

Home Depot has not only performed well at the retail level but they have also created their own hurricane command center. Doug Spiron, Captain of the Home Depot Command Center, said they are open 24/7 preparing for the storm. They have adequately supplied the stores in preparation for Hurricane Sandy and have trucks on hold to push more supplies into these areas. Watch the entire video interview with Doug here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1932487849001/

When Home Depot is there, rooted in these areas that are desperate for supplies, customers will remember. They will remember Home Depot’s far-reaching social responsibility. Companies such as this that are good corporate citizens create lasting relationships with the communities in which they reside. Home Depot has done this and continues to do this in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

Home Depot is a great example of how a solid marketing plan and dedication to social responsibility can not only be good for the public but also good for the corporate brand. They know that if you need help you will look for the infamous orange aprons.

What other companies have you seen that are taking a similar approach?