Christmas and the power of brands

Merry (branded) Christmas


As brand strategists, we are often asked to answer the question of what a ‘brand’ really is; we find ourselves disputing the common assumption of ‘brand’ as just a logo or a tagline, and we often have to fight to give branding the credibility it needs within a company in order to deliver on real business results.

But then, Christmas rolls in and as a brand strategist I get the pleasant reminder that sometimes brands do come to life through a clever tagline, a one-of-a-kind logo, or an outstanding marketing campaign. Of course, I’m not saying that that’s all they are, but thanks to things like creativity, business acumen, and dedication, brand-led organisations can deliver campaigns that make brands change the entire way we see the world!

Think I’m exaggerating? Consider Christmas. Do your kids believe in Santa? If they are young they probably still believe in the big, jolly, white bearded man in red clothes that brings presents to good children. THAT Santa is actually a very clever invention of Coca-Cola. You can read the whole story here but basically before Coca-Cola designed it, Santa did exist, he was just very, very different….

Of course Coca-Cola is not the only example. Did you know that until the early 1900s a diamond ring was not necessarily the way men proposed to their beloved women? Once again, it was a clever strategy from De Beers who, controlling the offer and demand for diamonds, created an empire that can be summarised in one sentence: ‘A diamond is forever’. And now, every young man alive knows that to win the heart of his beloved woman he needs a diamond ring. You can read how they managed to change the world here:

Most recently brands have changed the way we speak, from ‘Googling’ something, to ‘Hoovering’ the carpet, from saying ‘Just do it’ to encourage someone, to dropping an ‘I’m loving it’ to express support.

The way brands have achieved this varies from company to company, but they all have a few things in common:

  • They are brand-led
  • They have a clear understanding of their audience
  • They have a unique value proposition,
  • They know how to connect with their customers
  • They have excellent marketing strategies, and
  • They probably have some luck too, why not!?

So make your 2017 resolution to be bold, to be brand-led, to be creative! After all, ‘For everything else there is MasterCard’…

Merry Christmas from KnowThyBrand!

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