What Makes Santa Claus a Content Marketing Genius? [2016 Update]
Did you know that the jolly old elf has a thing or two to teach us about content marketing? Join me for a look back at one of our most popular posts from Christmas past, updated for 2016.
“‘Twas the night before Christmas …”
“You better watch out, you better not cry, …”
“Up on the rooftop, reindeer paws …”
Just skim through the above lines and you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about, even though I haven’t mentioned his name. That, my friend, is powerful branding.
Although he bears little resemblance to the real St. Nicholas — whose “presents” in 3rd century Turkey were bags of gold that allowed poor families to offer dowries for their daughters — the modern-day Santa Claus (aka Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Père Nöel, der Weihnachtsmann, etc.) has become one of the most recognizable figures in the world, especially at this time of year.
So, what is it about Santa that makes his brand so powerful? For this little girl who is still hoping to make the “good” list, it’s gotta be his brilliant approach to content marketing. Here’s why:
He has a strong visual brand.
Did you know that much of what we know of Santa — visually at least — comes to us courtesy of the Coca-Cola Company? Back in the early 1930s, the company hired illustrator Haddon Sundblom to help them increase sales of the beverage during the winter months, when sales were traditionally slower. While artists had been creating images of Santa for years, Sundblom’s vision was the first to be marketed to a wide audience. And thus an unmistakable visual brand was born.
The round belly, the red suit (a nod to the real St. Nicholas’ red bishop’s vestments), the snowy white hair and beard, the sleigh, the reindeer, and of course that iconic hat — Santa’s got the whole visual package, and we’d recognize him anywhere.
What we can learn: You may think that people don’t notice visual elements like colors, fonts, layouts, and consistent use of images, but these are all important aspects of your visual brand that make your content instantly recognizable. Give them the attention they deserve.
He keeps it personal.
Even in this day of social media and texting, the United States Postal Service still receives over 1 million letters — yes, handwritten letters — personally addressed to Santa every year. The tradition of a child sitting down with pencil and paper to make an annual plea for toys and other goodies goes on and on. They just know that when it comes to Kris Kringle, the appeal has to be that personal. And many times, yes, Santa writes back.
What we can learn: You may not be able to send a tailored message to every person in your community, but you can create content that is so attuned to their wants, their needs, and their dreams for the future that it makes them say “Wow, how did they know?”
His story never changes.
It’s not like one year Santa comes down the chimney and the next he slips in under the garage door. He doesn’t experiment with St. Bernards or zebras pulling his sleigh. And thank goodness he doesn’t have a stylist telling him that a magenta suit would be more “edgy.” Year after year after year, Santa’s story is the same … and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What we can learn: Make sure you’re telling the same story everywhere, all the time — on your website, in your print materials, in your day-to-day content, in your ebooks and white papers. It’s that kind of consistency that allows you to start building a tribe around your story.
Speaking of Christmas goodies, The Content Marketing Coach makes a perfect gift for the marketers on your list. Order 3 copies or more to take advantage of our Team Discount!
Find out why Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, had this to say about The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN:
“A simple yet effective guide to an approach that most businesses get flat out wrong. Do yourself and your business a favor and take a deep dive into this book. You won’t regret it.”
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!
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