What We Can Learn About Branding From Santa C.

branding santaI would dare to say that in terms of worldwide brands, few – if any – are as big as Santa Claus. Heck, the big guy was an expert on branding more than a century before today’s marketing gurus discovered the concept.

And whether he originally designed a global branding strategy or is just a natural born branding genius, there are many things we can learn from him. Let’s look at some notable features of his branding strategy.

Consistent look and feel. Santa Claus runs a global empire and is well known on every continent. And although he has adapted to a wide range of cultures and language groups, his red and white clothing makes him instantly recognizable anywhere on the planet. By the way, I suspect Coca-Cola marketers used his color palette for inspiration.

Regular and dependable. You can set your watches – well, at least your calendars – by Santa’s schedule. He never misses a delivery. Come Christmas morning, his deliveries will be under the tree. I might note that because of his reputation and universally known schedule, Santa does not have to waste valuable resources developing and maintaining a tracking app.

Also, to assure his dependability, Santa makes lists and checks them twice. Good advice for all of us. By the way, rumor has it that he has abandoned his old bound volumes and now is managing all his lists via Evernote.

Multicultural. Long before the concept of multiculturalism was on anyone’s radar screen, Santa had adapted his operation to a wide variety of cultures, ethnic groups and nationalities. He recognized early on that it was vital to his brand.

Generous. Santa does not charge children for the presents he delivers. At first this might seem crazy, but you need to see the big picture. The presents he gives children assures their love and loyalty as they grow up. Later when these same people have children of their own, they go to work for Santa, donating their labor and goods! In the same way, Google and Apple give away their map apps for free and we all go around helping them improve their navigational database.

Content marketing. Santa is a content marketer without peer. Consider a narrative like The Night Before Christmas. That piece of marketing content first went viral in 1823 and it has been “shared,” “liked” and “retweeted” (actually “republished” – it’s more than 140 characters in length) millions of times since then. I won’t even begin to list all the popular songs about Santa.

Knows his target demographic. Santa is huge with kids from six to 65. This group has been his focus from day one and it continues to be that way today. I don’t see it changing.

There is much more that I could say about Santa’s success. For example, although he delivers all around the world, his mode of transportation leaves no carbon footprint. In fact, it leaves nothing more than a few small hoof prints atop roofs. This forward-thinking strategy has done much to endear him to eco-sensitive consumers.

But rather than take more of your time, let me end with a line from that famous narrative I mentioned earlier:

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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