Disclaimer: this blog is not intended for people who are still children in their hearts.

Last November while visiting relatives up in northern Sweden, I came across Santa Claus. After some chitchat and catching up (did I still have the red bicycle that he delivered when I was eight…), we got to start talking about my job in marketing.
He was extremely interested in the branding concept because he facing increasing branded competition over these last years (Haloween, St Nikolas, Easter Bunny..) as well as the pain from unregulated generic street competition.

We agreed to run a 1 day branding session. I wanted to share with you all the key findings. This is exclusive information so please do not share with outside people.

santa brand 2

As a marketing consultant, the following were some of my suggestions:

  1. Just Gifts: modernize the process of gathering customer needs. Switch from snail mail to modern cell phone Text/SMS which will resonate better with the customers as well as improving operational costs. eg “SC, I gd. WII. Tks”
  2. Just at Home: Consider outsourcing delivery. The current delivery channel is increasingly incompatible energy saving initiatives (less chimneys more solar panels). Potential partners: Amazon, Uber
  3. Just at Home: the use of a flying sleigh is a strong differentiator. Care needs however to be taken that no animal welfare issues arises (Rudolf has had a red nose for quite a while and people are beginning to wonder why)
  4. Just Me: there is a need to capitalize on a strong brand recognition in order to drive differentiation. Consider a strong anti copy campaign, highlighting that there is only one original Santa Claus. Campaign suggestion: ” Read my lips, pull my beard”

Finally, continue with the jovial approach but replace antiquated HO HO with LOL.

Santa Claus is still reflecting on the above proposals, so I don’t expect any changes in 2008 but who knows what will happen in 2009.

Originally published in December 2006

Modernizing the Santa Brand
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