Santa’s back in town! I saw it for myself — several sightings on the retail front.

We can learn a lot from Santa when it comes to branding. He does a pretty darn good job when it comes to effectively delivering his brand promise.

Think about it . . .

  1. CREATES RELATIONSHIPS: Santa builds positive relationships across the globe; he attracts throngs of people who are willing to stand in line to meet and talk with him — if only for a few minutes.
  2. SERVES HIS COMMUNITY: Santa serves his “tribe” by offering a service unlike any other. He’s definitely not “in it” for the money, but more for the outcome — the feeling his followers receive when they interact with him. He has definitely earned the love and respect of customers AND his staff.
  3. BELIEVES IN HIS BUSINESS: Not only does Santa BELIEVE in his mission, but so do his followers. It’s all about offering a product or service which makes people happy — we are ALL attracted to people and things that make us happy. Santa consistently fulfills his positioning statement of Bringing Joy to the World.
  4. PLANS FOR SUCCESS: Nothing stops Santa — just remember Rudolph and the fog. Santa finds solutions. He’s a “can-do” kind of guy. The kind of guy you want at the reins of your business.
  5. BUILDS TRUST: Santa instills “trust” and “warm cozy feelings”.  If you can’t trust Santa who can you trust? You’ve been telling him your heartfelt wishes since you were a kid. Santa listens and follows through on his commitments. He doesn’t over-promise, and always has a back-up option — just in case (toy recall).
  6. CROSS PROMOTES: Santa is everywhere. He graciously offers his positive brand to movies, car dealer ads, non-profit causes and more — all in the hopes of spreading goodwill and good cheer across the globe.
  7. STAYS FOCUSED: You don’t see Santa expanding his line of offerings beyond the aspect of “giving”.  The downfall of such was creatively portrayed by Martin Short’s Jack Frost and Tim Allen’s Santa, in the “Santa Clause 3” movie, showing the negative impact of wandering off-target. Ultimately, “good” overcomes “evil” and the movie ends with the North Pole back to “normal” — back on target.
  8. SUSTAINS HIS IMAGE: Santa creates a positive response in the marketplace and emotes a distinct visual image which immediately comes to mind when his name is mentioned. Even with 100’s (if not 1000’s) of Santa likenesses seen around the world, we all have our favorite that comes to mind — white beard, red suit, and a wink of the eye.
  9. ADAPTS EASILY: It’s not everyone that can morph their body PLUS a 100-pound bag of toys small enough to fit down a chimney (and in some cultures through a keyhole). Knowing when and how to adapt to your customer’s needs — and a willingness to do so — always give you an edge with the competition.
  10. RISES ABOVE: Santa is basically one-of-a-kind, so rising above your competition is a piece of cake (or cookies and milk). Taking flight is easy when you keep your magic-sparkle flying dust handy. Markets change as often as the weather . . . being able to fly above a snowstorm or around lightning strikes allows Santa to deliver a solid brand — on time, on target and on budget.

How are you delivering YOUR brand?

I talk to my clients quite a bit about finding the “Golden Threads” when it comes to their branding and how to create a connection between their passion, purpose and profits. It’s the common golden threads that become your signature — your brand — the reasons why your followers feel comfortable working with you.

As we make our way through this 2013 holiday season, I notice the “sparkle” of lights popping up in neighborhoods and retail areas. Within our diverse circle of friends, family and clients, the use of light — be it with candles, twinkle-lights or fireworks — seems to be one of those “golden threads” helping to create a global community.ThanksMerry12

Many of our neighbors adorn their homes with lights, glitter and “all things that sparkle”. Our community is one of many faiths, each celebrating their own traditions — which ironically also involves the use of twinkle lights and candles — I guess it’s our attempt to bring back the magic of childhood, while at the same time add some light on our shorter, mostly-gray winter days.

  • Diwali: Starting in November with the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, is often celebrated with food, dancing, parties and colorful lights hanging everywhere. Lamps, candles and fireworks are lit, representing the celebration of family and community.
  • Hanukkah: Also known as the Festive of Lights, Hanukkah uses the eight-branch Menorah to light a candle on each of the eight nights during the holiday. This age-old tradition is associated with the miraculous burning of the Menorah during the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
  • Bodhi Day: Observed on December 8, Bodhi Day celebrates the day in 596 BC when Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Lights symbolizing enlightenment are strung around the home or along pathways during the 30-day celebration.
  • Saint Lucy’s Day: A Scandinavian tradition on December 13, where the female chosen to play Lucia wears a white robe and crown of candles, chasing away the winter.
  • Winter Solstice: The word “solstice” is derived from two Latin words: sol (“sun) and sistere (“to stand still”) — essentially the day the sun “stands still”. The winter solstice occurs on or around December 21, and marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. Historically, candles, fireplaces and lights have symbolized “lighting a path”, “enlightenment” and “rebirth”.
  • Christmas: The most obvious symbol of Christmas are lights – Christmas candles, window lights, luminaries, lights on the Advent Wreath and Christmas tree. All signifying to Christians that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.
  • Kwanzaa: The kinara candle ceremony is the center of the Kwanzaa celebration. Candles have two primary purposes: to symbolically recreate the power of the sun and to provide light. The celebration of life through candle-burning uses the seven candles of Kwanzaa…three red, three green and one black.
  • New Year’s Eve: Many New Year customs that include “light” actually date from ancient times. Diverse cultures and countries around the world display fireworks in celebration of new beginnings, typically at midnight. In China, firecrackers are known to dispel evil. In New York, the Times Square crystal ball “drops”

Whatever your celebrations may be this holiday season, may the Golden Threads of Light that we all have in common serve as a precursor for a most marvelous New Year in 2014!


As we usher in a month of winter celebrations, it gives us the opportunity to BELIEVE in that which makes us feel at peace with ourselves and with others. We surround ourselves with family and friends, building deeper connections as we “commune” and expand our community. When we make time to focus on that which brings us together, we release our differences, or that which separates us.

“Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in, seriously.” – The Dalai Lama, The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989

May this Holiday Season find you at PEACE with your world, and BELIEVING in Love and Kindness