Santa gets a new Brand Plan

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

Some of you know that I have been regularly consulting for Santa Claus on marketing matters ever since I met him by chance in a Finnish sauna in 2008. So I wasn’t very surprised when I received a call early November from Santa. Although I wasn’t quite expecting the turn of events that followed.

Christian, do you have some time?” came the rumbling voice that I immediately recognized as Santa Claus.

Sure Santa. What can I do for you?

I need some help – everything is falling apart. I seem to working more than ever but I struggle the make the ends meet. Its driving Mother Christmas crazy!” was the plaintive response.

So, how you making decisions?” I enquired.

That’s easy. I have a list on the fridge that I just update. It’s pretty long though.”

That’s not decision making. That’s not even establishing priorities.” And here my keen marketing, cum consulting, mind kicks in. “What you need Santa, is a framework to make all your decisions. A document that clearly states what you are going do and why. Something that you can share and enroll your elves with.

What you need is a new brand plan I stated boldly. “and I have just the thing you need!”

After a marked silence “Is this another crazy idea? I’m still paying off Easter Bunny after that failed acquisition move you recommended a couple of years ago.”

No, no. This is the serious stuff,” I exclaimed. “Look it’s pretty simple. What are you trying to achieve this year? Have you defined your business objective? How will make the ends meet?

How would I know? Mother Christmas and Elvese run the facts and figures department. Let me check,” came the reply. (Note: Elvese is Head Elf Chief of Staff)

Despite his looks, Santa is actually known for his speed. So I wasn’t surprised when he came back seconds later. “We delivered roughly 27 million gifts in 2014. Elvese says that we need to deliver 29 567 144 this year just to break even.

There you go that’s your Business objective. You need do deliver 30 million gifts in 2015 or 11% more than 2014. Simple, isn’t?” I stated. “Now the question is: who is going to get those extra 3 million gifts?”

What do you mean?”

Well, you basically only have 5 options. You can recruit new kids. Those who have never had any Christmas like newborns. Or you could switch some kids over from your competition like St Nicholas.”

Nah, that won’t work,” Santa interrupted me. “Kids aren’t being born fast enough in the USA and Europe. Plus I have an understanding now with Nick.

OK. And you obviously don’t want to go for a retention strategy since you need to grow. And we were pretty aggressive on the premiumization in 2009 when you were facing those fake Santas.” I mumbled to myself. “So that leaves you with the frequency option. You need to make sure that each kid gets more gifts.”

Are you joking? Parents are already complaining not to mention my back as well.”

You are right. As a famous consultant said there is a limit to the number of favorite yogurts you can eat in a given week. But what if you could have more weeks?” I countered.


“You told me last year, that the average number of Christmases per kid is 6. And that the trend is going down. But what if you could reverse the trend? If you could get the average up to 9 or 10?”

So we brought Elvese in again and it turn out that we just needed to expand the number of Christmases up to 8 years to hit the business objective. This got everybody excited and we nailed down the 2015 Christmas Goal: Expand the number of years children believe in Santa Claus from 6 years to 8 years in 1.0 million households across USA and Europe

I will spare you the rest of the conversation as you fully know the importance of triggers/barriers, from-to statements, the must do’s and what success looks like. It turned out to be a fun session that took 4 full days (days are only 2 hours long in Lapland) as well as being very interactive with Mother Christmas and more than 25 elves merrily chipping in.

The new Santa Brand Plan

Brand Plan

We are extremely excited about the new loyalty program: Santa’s Punch Card 4 Kids®. This program will reward kids to believe longer in Santa with ever increasing lavishing gifts. Santa immediately saw how this could open new opportunities: Santa’s Punch Card 4 Teens® to open up the 11 to 19 year market or even Santa’s Punch Card 4 Two® to address the ever growing empty-nester population.

This punch card, to be tied to the traditional Christmas sock, will be pilot tested this season in 24 US states and 10 European countries starting this week. If you live in one of these regions then you have probably already come across the program. For the others, Santa has agreed that I share this with you.

Santa Punch Card

Is your marketing planning process too complicated? Does it look like this? Check out what Santa Marketing can do for you.


Santa gets a new Brand Plan
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