The most recognized brand in the world isn’t Disney, or Apple or Microsoft or Walmart or even McDonalds. It’s Santa Claus. So how is it that a spirited little fat guy in a red suit, with an entourage of elves and a team of flying reindeer, can earn the undying love and devotion of generations of young and old alike, and make us all want to be part of his story, whether we believe in him or not?
We know what he stands for. After all, he reminds us every year. (Consistency counts). He’s all about loving children and animals, goodness and giving, generosity and hard work. He keeps his promises, leaves us presents, and makes wishes come true. (Although, I do remember one year when Dad swore Santa was going to give me coal. As I recall, he didn’t). And, to top it off, he has a positive attitude. I never knew a Santa who wasn’t having a jolly good time.
We have an emotional connection to him. We’ve known Santa all our lives, so each and every one of feels an inate bond with him, and the meaning he’s brought to our lives. No other brand can compete with that. Just the mention of Santa, or seeing one, whether ringing a bell on a street corner or sitting in a mall with a child on his lap, conjures up feelings that can bring tears to the eyes and soften the hardest hearts. Nostalgia. Memories of friends and families together. Snowy winters. Children opening presents. We buy in because he reminds us simultaneously of where we are and where we came from. We share his values, so we share his mission. We repeat it year in and year out. It’s tradition. But it’s not just us who feels that way. It’s everyone. As the recognizable symbol of the Season of Giving, the commercialization of Santa that he’s grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry. Yet, we still feel the personal connection.
Amazing, especially since there is no Santa, except in our hearts and minds. Santa’s a concept. Santa’s a perception. Santa’s an emotion. Santa holds a promise – like other brands do, but Santa never disappoints, and exceeds expectations most of the time. a global brand. His customer loyalty is unsurpassed.
We don’t have a couple of thousand years to build a brand, but there are lessons to be learned from the man in the red suit:
- Demonstrate value.
- Make an emotional connection.
- Make it about them (your customers), not you.
- Keep your promises. (Be consistent).
- Reach out and be visible to the people you want to attract. (Red suit not required).
- Tell your story to them. Make it honest and authentic. Give them something they can talk about, and they’ll help you grow your following.