Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick is a master of brand optimization …
(which is just one of the many reasons we, at Creative Company, love him). Not only are his iconic outfit and signature “Ho, ho, ho!” instantly recognizable, he has galvanized an army of brand evangelists in the form of elves, parents, retailers, toy manufacturers, movie producers and of course, happy children.
His niche is so clearly targeted and messaging so focused it’s easy to manage his brand’s perception.
His primary goal is to get kids to ask for presents and parents to buy by December 24th every year. He inspires good will, charity, joviality and other positive traits. He does all of this without adding new products or services, instead simply seeking strategic alliances and additional points of contact with his core audience.
Santa knows his stuff.
He has created a very specific image through books and pictures, even making in-person, department store appearances for more than 120 Christmases in a row.
An early adopter of radio and print, he moved to television and the movies, and then entered the mix of social media. Santa even wrangled the good people at NORAD to get the word out — getting press you literally can’t buy.
How, how, how!…does he do it?
Despite complaints of the over-commercialization of Christmas, Santa remains above the fray, keeps on plying toys, keeps the magic alive. Santa has found the right balance between remaining true to himself and continuing to evolve into an even stronger brand.
In an era when many venerable brands have completely faded away, Santa is heading convincingly to bigger and better things.
He makes a promise and delivers on it, literally.
He stays on message at all times. (Ho, ho, ho!)
His brand is clear and present at all points of choice.
He doesn’t try to be all things to all people. He does one thing — really, really well.
He remains accessible — you can write, email, or visit (his ambassadors).
He empowers others to be brand messengers.
The red suit and fluffy beard are his visual brand, no matter who’s wearing them.
The North Pole and Coca Cola
Santa also recognizes that changing his traditional outfit, giving up his sleigh or shaving his beard would undermine his legendary image and thereby compromise the brand.
As the face of the brand, public relations and consumer confidence are of the utmost concern. He manages his appearances carefully. From mid-October through December 25th, Santa is omnipresent.
However, within 24 hours of leaving the NORAD radar he also leaves our minds. The North Pole is his haven, where he’ll remain out of the spotlight for nine months, at least until the next generation of elves get onto YouTube. We take comfort in knowing he will be back next year.
Strategic partners build the brand
Over the years, Santa has chosen strategic partnerships with brands like Coca Cola and Macy’s. More than eight decades ago, he chose to align his brand with the marketing gurus at Coca Cola. Perhaps it was the red? Santa’s cheery, seasonal persona increased sales for a company who usually struggled during colder months. When the season passes, each resume their regular, separate activities.
Although it’s a bit tongue in cheek, the Santa filter is a good one to apply to your company. The story, the myth and the image of Santa are a brilliant and beautiful example of how a brand can really work.
He knows his audiences
He understands when and where they decide to take action
He is careful to have all contact points reflect his core messages and encourage actions.
And we all know his color is red.
This is his gift to branding.
The holidays are a busy time for all of us …
And a time of reflection. Do yourself a favor, take a page from Santa’s playbook and optimize your brand. The red suited fellow is rather famous for his checklist.
We have a few good lists of our own.
Visit our website and download our e-book 10 tactics to optimize your brand or one of our other handy worksheets … free!
And in the words of Francis Pharcellus Church, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
What do you want people to know and believe about your brand?
Are you perhaps considering a red suit and a fluffy white beard for your iconic image?