If Christmas Were a Real Business, Would it Be Successful?

What is one of the events almost everyone is excited for every year? Christmas. And who is Christmas’ brand ambassador? Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus; possibly one of the most powerful brand ambassadors to have ever lived.

Does this mean Santa’s business model is driven in its brand? If that is the case, and on the commonly agreed assumption that Christmas is a business in its entirety, what are the brand values that make Christmas so financially successful?

The truth is Santa and his gang can offer business leaders a great deal of know-how in the business world. Christmas is a tradition and a business that goes back at least 200 years, one which according to Forbes, accounts for over $1 trillion, or 25% of US annual retail income. As a corollary, Christmas also monopolises on retail data, as just like in Santa’s Grotto, we tell markets exactly what we like and want the most.

Starting with the business’ marketing, Father Christmas’ branding model is built on worldwide collaboration, in that everyone believes and trusts the brand, the promise of reward, in the form of gifts and celebration, and the use of emotive marketing, via songs, colours, smells, clichés and scenarios, all of which come together to stimulate feelings of family, community, togetherness, joy and nostalgia, among many.

The brand itself is the strongest driving part of Santa’s business model, and if anything could imitate the above formula as successfully, they would likely be the richest and most reputable company in the world. Brands that have tried and come close are the likes of McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Disney, yet these come with shortcomings, mistakes and elements that carry negative connotations, like sustainability, sourcing, sales and taxes. Not to mention their ability to stay as relevant and innovative as Christmas. With the Christmas brand as a whole however, being a collaboration of all businesses and consumers involved worldwide, these negative undertones are looked over and left mostly associated with what Christmas is about. When you think about Christmas you simply think about the good stuff.

The brand itself is the strongest driving part of Santa’s business model, and if anything could imitate the above formula as successfully, they would likely be the richest and most reputable company in the world.

In terms of the business operations, small to large firms around the world can learn several important pointers from Father Christmas. He treats his employees fairly, he has a diverse and equal workforce, each with an important role suited to their talents or features. Donner helps Santa navigate his delivery route, while Rudolph, lights the way with his ‘very shiny nose’. Santa himself, as the Director of his company, has a job that was tailor made for his likeness and character.

Assistant Professor Fang Ruolian of Management & Organisation at NUS Business School, said: “Santa’s enthusiasm is infectious and the reason why he has built such a loyal following over the years and across generations. He spends time getting to know his customers in his grotto, learning what they want for Christmas, and then goes the extra mile to see that their wishes are met; all the time accompanied by a jolly “ho, ho, ho!”

In doing this, Santa learns about his customer base, collects data on a regular basis, and actions operations and gifts based on said data. And as far as we can tell, Santa doesn’t share any customer personal data with third parties. In addition, every year Christmas happens is a new year, with new data, which in turn means growth and evolution, as Santa and his elves have to keep up with a changing market, adapting and innovating each Christmas. They work together and collaborate, each department preparing all year round to deliver an excellent service with impeccable timing and precision; his wishlist staff work closely with the customer service department to get the right gifts to the right people.

Every year Christmas happens is a new year, with new data, which in turn means growth and evolution, as Santa and his elves have to keep up with a changing market, adapting and innovating each Christmas.

On the topic of customer service, Christmas is built on several promises. That kids will get presents, that family will come together, that people can be good, that it will happen again next year, and the year after, and so on. Businesses around the globe have to keep these promises, accommodate logistics and operations to meet demand, and in doing so contribute to the overall success of the Christmas brand. Christmas breeds a likely 95%+ customer satisfaction rate and a customer retention rate that is just as successful. Can your business say the same?

All in all, Christmas is one of the most successful business models to have ever been conceived and all businesses should strive to imitate its values and methods. In terms of actually delivering gifts all in one night, there is a questionable logistics issue, but with everything else on the table, Santa’s workshop and staff make a winning business model possible. With the real-life Christmas period ahead of us, and as markets are set to action the Christmas spirit, we wish you good business and a happy new yield this quarter.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bryanpearson/2016/12/22/holiday-spending-to-exceed-1-trillion-and-11-other-surprising-data-points-of-christmas/#609c6dbb247f

https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2015/10/01/disney-cocacola-and-mcdonalds-fight-to-remain-relevant-in-a-digital-world

http://thinkbusiness.nus.edu/article/santa-claus-the-business-model/

https://designabetterbusiness.com/2017/12/21/why-the-business-model-of-santa-claus-is-so-successful/

https://www.omaha.com/money/retail/amazon-expands-free-shipping-ahead-of-christmas-to-compete-with/article_033de127-80b6-5c34-9085-c41042c19c46.html

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