I think you could agree with me that jolly old St. Nick is one of the most recognizable and beloved brands in the western world; one that children have adored and parents embraced for centuries. Santa Claus has endured wars, depressions, scrutiny (is he real or not?), and even impostors who tried to tarnish his image (aka The Grinch).
So how the heck did he do it? What lessons can businesses owners like you and me learn from him for our own brands?
Below are six key things that Santa does to solidify his brand, create raving fans, build trust and grow his Empire!
Most of us awoke every Christmas morning, year after year, to find a plate sprinkled with cookie crumbs, an empty milk glass, and a bounty of presents; all bearing witness to Santa’s late night visit. Santa is the epitome of reliability.
Business Lesson: Like expectant children on Christmas mornings, our customers have high expectations and it’s our job to deliver – or risk losing them. Make it habit to ask customers what products or services they’d like you to offer. Being painstakingly reliable builds trust and people buy from companies they trust!
Who doesn’t think of Santa and smile? Whether it’s flashing a jovial smile and belting out a jolly “Ho Ho Ho”, delivering that gift we’d been obsessed with for months, or making a surprise appearance with a bag full of goodies at a holiday party, happiness and smiles follow Santa wherever he goes.
Business Lesson: Can you say the same about your brand? Does your business leave a lasting smile and happy thoughts? If not, study your competition and your industry, then do something that no one else in your industry does. Find that “something extra” you can add to your product or service. Customers love the unexpected, so what can you do to surprise and delight them?
Everyone knows Santa loves getting our letters – and even reads every single one of them! And what does he ask of us? Nothing but a list all the presents we want him to deliver on Christmas morning!
Business Lesson: Imagine if our customers felt comfortable enough to send us a list of their wants, needs, and desires. Don’t you think that would help us understand and serve them better? What can you do to encourage your customers to stay in touch with you? Since we don’t have our own North Pole address, I’d recommend things like suggestion boxes (on, or offline!), surveys, and service follow up calls.
“Have you been naughty or nice?” Your answer could mean the difference between that diamond necklace you’ve been eyeing or a big ole lump of coal!
Business Lesson: Businesses can build their brands by rewarding “good” behavior too! Did a customer buy more than usual? Reward them with a discount or an extra freebie. Did a customer refer you or leave a raving review? Send a special present or gift certificate to say “thank you.” Rewarding good behavior not only shows the customer your appreciation, it encourages them to do it again!
Santa wouldn’t be Santa without his team. Do you think he’d be able to read all of our letters, be painstakingly reliable, or jolly and delightful if he didn’t have a team to help him all his Christmas responsibilities? Of course not, so then why do you expect to be able to take care of all of our business responsibilities yourself?
Business Lesson: If you don’t have the time to provide the level of service you want, surprise and delight customers – or market and build your business then it’s time to get your own team of elves and reindeer! No one ever built an empire alone… and it may be time for you to hire some help!
Santa has an image like no one else: long gray beard, velvety red suit, and shiny black boots. Santa has a catch phrase, “Ho, Ho, Ho”. Santa knows his target market are children. Santa also knows these three things set him apart from the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and parents. He uses this to build the Santa brand to be the unmistakable symbol it is today!
Business Lesson: Take a look at your business, what can you do to make your business stand out from the crowd? Do you have a unique image? A symbolic uniform? A bright red sleigh pulled by reindeer (Ok, a fleet of bright red trucks will do!)? A quirky catch phrase? Find your uniqueness and do something big to stand apart from the competition!
Thanks for spending some time with me today!