‘Mirror images’: How Tapat, Santugon define their branding


As the 2021 General Elections draws near, publicity materials are popping up by the dozen. For the University’s political parties—Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) and Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon)—this would mean pumping out a slew of testimony campaigns, holistic development projects, and social awareness initiatives. While their branding may just seem informative on the surface, a message that took generations to perfect lies deep within.

For the people, by the people

For Santugon’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) head Marga Cruz, their branding reflects their party’s vision of “Empowered Lasallians, Progressive Citizenry”. With an expansive catalog of over 20 initiatives throughout the year, it can get difficult to craft a distinct deck for each project, but the overall message of the project is always the focal point of the materials made. 

Each project would either have their own designated IMC representatives or an entire team working on promotional materials in a process that takes a few weeks to complete. Typically, project heads decide on potential pegs for inspiration. From there, the team would craft the materials. 

As tiring as it may sound, Cruz believes that their branding reflects the overall message of their political party. “Our organization values a person’s individuality,” she explains. “We continue to advocate and practice that belief by allowing our members to have creative freedom in designing their pubs.” 

On the other hand, Tapat’s Interim Executive Secretary Azhley De Quiroz describes Tapat’s branding as “professional, powerful, and unwavering”. This is because her party tries to keep their branding consistent, even after 36 years in the game. 

De Quiroz opines that having a vision for their publicity materials is a necessity. Similar to Santugon, she first finds the objectives of why a certain project is being implemented. One tactic that their team keeps in mind is “strictly following the brandbook” to maintain consistency and expectancy for each publicity material.

Similarly, it would take two to three weeks to finalize a project’s publicity plan. But the strenuous work does not seem to be a challenge for De Quiroz. “I do not have a hard time working hand-in-hand with them especially when I cascade my vision for a certain publicity material or a publicity plan as a whole,” she divulges. 

One and the same?

While Tapat says that they make their publicity materials “simple yet meaningful, honest but impactful” to stand out, and Santugon uses “unique designs and concepts”, JL Liongson, vice chair of the Marketing and Advertising Department, believes that the two parties are just “mirror images” of each other. 

He argues that there is a “lack of differentiation” between the two parties, stating that they implement the same tactics every year, from room-to-room campaigns, political platforms, and even scandals. This strong similarity, Liongson argues, is what has led to lower voter turnout as students become less inclined to believe in them anymore.

“They (Santugon and Tapat) should be different. They should stop what they’ve been doing all these years,” he emphasizes. 

On the other hand, Joel Legaspi, an assistant professor from the same department, sees that there is a noticeable difference between Tapat, who he says is more “serious” and Santugon, who he perceives as more “subtle” and “less formal”.

“Are you more of an activist type of group? Are you more like a senior high school student council type of group?” he comments on each party’s target market.

Legaspi also states that branding is the biggest contributor to a party’s success. Liongson, however, believes instead that Santugon and Tapat’s branding barely contributes to their electoral success and that it has become more as a “popularity contest.”

Going ‘beyond the colors’

One detail that many may not be aware of is the symbolism behind both parties’ colors. Tapat President Martha Delos Santos points out that Tapat mainly uses red, orange, and black; red symbolizes the bravery of Tapat leaders in fighting for a progressive government, while orange marks the collaborative efforts of people during the EDSA Revolution. As for black, Delos Santos explains, “[It] represents the dark times during the Marcos regime that gave birth to the formation of our organization.” 

From a marketing perspective, red symbolizes intensity which makes a brand stand out. Liongson suggests that the shift from orange to red as Tapat’s primary color perhaps came about after they realized they needed a more “striking” palette.

Conversely, Santugon is known for its blue and yellow color scheme. “The color blue represents commitment because we believe that being committed to one’s actions enables us to carry out our goals despite the obstacles we may face,” Cruz elaborates, while yellow represents the party’s dynamism in today’s ever-changing society. More recently, the party added a dash of silver to their colors to represent their silver anniversary. 

According to Liongson, yellow shows the party’s “sociability” and how they are more “pragmatic when it comes to their platforms.” Blue, on the other hand, portrays calmness and rationality.

Regardless of choices in color palette, each group maintains a commitment to their brand promise. For Tapat, it will always be “substance over style,” while Santugon is “meant to connect and relate with different people.”

Ultimately, branding, Legaspi believes, goes beyond visual identity. “Branding represents something deeper, it represents your history, it connotates quality,” he emphasizes.

Magz Chin

By Magz Chin

Helen Saudi

By Helen Saudi

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