Author Note: I defer this week to an esteemed guest columnist, an icon that may own the greatest monopolistic advantage ever designed, the “King of Holiday Bling,” the one and only Santa Claus.
Ho, ho, ho! Well thank you, Sean, and yuletide greetings to everyone. You know, I learned in the early 19th century that “Going where competitors cannot follow” is the only way to dominate an industry. And when you’re up against such staunch competition as the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Great Pumpkin, you’d better have unprecedented value design!
I was asked to offer insights this week because I know a thing or two about how to stand out in business and sustain long-term success. Although I’m a classic left-brain CEO (Chief Elf Overseer) – processing things logically and intuitively – I knew that if I were going to really achieve commanding global dominance, I’d have to become balanced and learn to engage the right (creative) side of my noggin. When I did, well, you’ve seen the results!
I’m excited, naturally, so let’s get right to it. Here are four ways I succeed in continuously building the impenetrable, world-class brand of being Santa Claus. If you want to sell more of your stuff for a premium, pay attention!
1. TARGET A SINGULAR, WELL-DEFINED AUDIENCE
I had a choice: Naughty, or nice? Having to focus, I chose to cater to nice people – they’re actually more profitable. I even have metrics and measurement systems to make sure I don’t stray. You see, if I expand my audience or offerings, I weaken my brand, confuse my core followers, and then everyone starts to wonder what in the eggnog I stand for! I’ve been offered contracts to do rap albums, appear on the Biggest Loser and open a chain of Santa Pasta restaurants. No way, Blitzen breath! The narrower my focus, the more we all win.
2. PURPOSEFULLY DESIGN UNPRECEDENTED VALUE
- I’ve used other celebrities as role models in becoming a “Category of One,” including Michelangelo, John Wayne, Madonna and Eddie Van Halen. None of them could be copied by the competition, and neither can I.
- Santa draws traffic into retail stores like no one else – not even Adele or Taylor Swift! And the more time people spend in a store, the more they spend overall. And that’s just smart business, right?
- As the primary resident of the North Pole, I’m a worldwide symbol of happiness to millions. And when people hear the bellowing of my “Ho, ho, ho!” who do they think of, The Grinch? Of course not! They think of old St. Nick, and what they “feel” is the joyousness of the holiday season.
- Innovation is a key to my success, too, taking full advantage of the latest GPS systems, Google Alerts and analytics, and Skype (so Mrs. Claus doesn’t get lonely). I also have more apps on my smart phone than you can shake a candy cane at.
- Because I know that marketplace distinction is usually expressed numerically, try these facts on for size: Presents delivered 100 percent on time for more than 200 years within a 12-hour window; 346 elves who have never missed a deadline (we’re hiring, by the way); and since we went “green,” we’ve saved 47 percent on our energy costs.
- Others may have reindeer, but can theirs fly, and do they have a scrawny fellow leading the way with a red neon beak that can be seen for miles? Why, the little skyrunner even has a TV show! And he’s launching a video blog with Herbie, Yukon Cornelius and Clarice – some kind of variety hour.
- Social Media, you say? Oh my, of course! What a great distribution vehicle for my brand, and a super duper way to stay connected to my fans. I may be old, but I’m not dumb! I have many Web sites, including claus.com, santaclaus.net and northpole.com. You can find me on Twitter (Twitter.com/SantaClaus) and LinkedIn. One of my blogs is ClausChronicles.blogspot.com. And we even have a social network, exclusively for Santas (ClausNet.com)!
- I’m a big believer in Client Gateways: Every one of my pseudo-Santas is instructed to ask kids what they want, soliciting feedback. Nothing like going right to the customer to identify wants and needs – both the spoken and “unspoken” types! They write to me, too. Does it work, you wonder? Hey, millions of kids don’t write letters for nothin’!
- Cause Marketing? See Santa-America.org. You won’t believe the community work we do.
4. ATTRACT FROM A POSITION OF POWER
- As you might imagine, it’s not too tough to snare a table at a restaurant once I developed and executed my go-to-market strategy, as you’ve been reading. I used to cold call a lot – asking certain municipalities for access – and employed direct mail, too. But since the demise of mass markets, those strategies became obsolete.
- Whether I’m introduced as “Father Christmas” or “Jolly Old Elf,” everyone knows it’s me. Now that’s name recognition, kiddos! I’m a recognized authority all over the world.
What’s my brand, you ask? Well, it’s what you think it is, of course. My brand lives in the minds of my customers. It’s not something that I can create and print on a sign.
If you want proof that my revenue growth and brand strategy is working, consider this: In a retail season where many indicators trend downward, my professional Santa helpers are busier than ever! Entrepreneur Magazine reports that the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, a 15-year-old organization of white-bearded look-a-likes, says they have seen record earnings, with average hourly rates up 25 percent from a couple of years ago.
That’s all for now, folks. Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!