Santa’s even bigger than Coke!
As Forbes put it: “He runs a multinational enterprise that combines uncanny customer intelligence, superb information management and world-class service. He leads a logistical tour de force that spans the globe and delivers the goods, just in time. And he does it all with a warm – some would say jolly – panache that is impossible to forget. His name: Santa Claus.” Santa’s Identity is so powerful that Best Global Brand of 2006, Coca-Cola (brand evaluated at 67-billion dollars by Interbrand) could not hold him back.
Little known to most is that 2006 was the 75 anniversary of the famous Coca-Cola Santa that was created in 1931. Before this makeover Santas image was loosely based on a combination of many ideas. In 1931 Coke commissioned the illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create an Image of Santa for their new advertising campaign and Santa has looked the same ever since.
Today Santa is ubiquitous, no one remembers that Santa and Coke were at one time partners, as a matter of arguable fact, Santa’s even bigger than Coke! He is the envy of Identity Engineers, brand managers, marketing professionals and students worldwide.
Take a look at Santa’s brand, he represents hard work, reward, and goodness. He is a jolly, fair, and giving person, his generosity is contagious. He is a global leader in the category of Hope, and he has a consistent delivery of this brand promise. He knows his customer so well…..he knows when they are sleeping and he knows when their awake. He makes them feel special. Santa is the king of consistency, he wears the same red outfit every year, he doesn’t try to change it and he’s never tempted to go on a diet.
Santa has never spent a penny on advertising, he fully understands the Customer Journey, he has advocates in place (parents) who start managing the journey right from their childrens very first christmas, even if, heaven forbid, parents stop believing, they will continue to advocate because they know they will benefit from their childrens good behavior. He is bar none, the worlds most sought after spokesperson every brand wants to associate with him. Everyone supports his mission and he is in a large part responsible for hundreds of billions in sales and charitable donations every year.
So what can we learn from this? I believe William Arruda said it best “take some tips from the man in the red suit. Stand out. Be consistent. Create an emotional connection. Remain visible to your target audience. And don’t forget to surround yourself with brand evangelists who can carry your message for you. Whether you believe in him or not, Santa is a model for branding that we can all strive to attain.”