The best companies learn from the strengths and weaknesses of other businesses. Whether they admit it or not, business leaders get some of their best ideas by watching and evaluating their competitors. This time of year you can pick up some time-tested tips from someone who has had a thriving business for centuries. Here are seven business lessons you can learn from Santa Claus.
Seven business lessons you can learn from Santa Claus
Create a Strong Brand
Santa Claus has created a solid brand identity that is instantly recognizable. His red suit, white beard and black boots combined with his jolly personality and patented “Ho, Ho, HO” giving nature have helped to define an entire season for millions of people. Santa’s brand conveys fun, celebration and excitement. His image is so strong, in fact, that he has been able to ride it through major cultural changes with hardly a whisker out of place.
Develop a Loyal Customer Base
Even before the digital age, Santa Claus had advanced ways of keeping in touch with his customers. He uses specialized analytics to determine exactly what his customers want and is careful to keep up with changing cultural trends and demographics. In return Santa’ clients are fiercely loyal and will even wait in lines to speak with him each year. Some clients are so pleased with his work that they leave him cookies and milk as a reward for his efforts
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Know Customers by Name
Santa Claus knows the importance of learning his clients’ names and using them often. We are intimately connected with our own names, and we respond positively when someone says our name and uses it in conversation. It is both a conscious and a subconscious boost when a colleague remembers and uses our name on a subsequent meeting. Santa deals with millions of clients, yet makes each one feel special when he calls them by name. He keeps his client’s names stored on lists and updates his data regularly.
Santa Claus has a highly organized operation with many employees who each provide a valuable part of his service. He provides food, clothing and housing for his elves and gives them plenty of feedback on their work. Studies have shown that Santa requires his elves to come up with many of their own ideas for toys and to perform quality control as part of their duties. The elves, therefore, feel invested in the business and want to provide a good product.
Santa Claus also has devised a unique delivery system that relies on the cooperation and teamwork of his reindeer. While the reindeer only work a very limited time of the year, they know their role is crucial to the entire operation. Employee morale is high as a result.
Deliver on Time
The jolly old elf has an amazing on-time delivery record, and his has built his reputation on it. Customers know they can count on him and that they won’t get excuses about the weather, or about traffic or about shortages. That reliability is a huge part of Santa’ reputation and why he has built such a broad customer base. His only requirement? That his clients are asleep when he arrives for Christmas Eve delivery.
Create a Strong Marketing Campaign
Long before the internet and social media, Santa Claus was able to position himself and his business on a global basis. The results of his sophisticated marketing techniques include having: his face on everything from billboards to drinking cups, his delivery service monitored on the evening news, and his look-alikes representing him on malls and street corners throughout the world. The size and scope of his direct and in-direct marketing is unparalleled in its scope.
Has a Positive Attitude
No matter what, you can count on Santa Claus to have a smile on his face. He has endured through times of steep economic decline, wars and all sorts of cultural turmoil by staying true to what he does best. He has a strong moral character and a sense of dignity that is unmatched in the business world.
Santa also has a unique ability to bring out the best in his clients. Customers want what Santa deliver so much that they will even change their behavior – from naughty to nice, for example — so that they don’t miss out.
Takes Time Off
Santa sets a pretty impressive example for us to follow. He works hard all year, but he does take time for a much-needed break. Although he is secretive about it (and justifiably so considering the media frenzy a photo of him out of uniform would cause), multiple sources close to the big man report that he takes a tropical vacation each year, right after Christmas. He gets away from his work completely — no toys, no letters, no holiday decorations and no snow — so that he can recharge for whatever the New Year brings.
So this holiday season, why not take a few business tips from Santa. He provides an excellent business role model.