PSCS - Santa Business Tips - Marketing Tip # 17 BRANDING YOURSELF AS SANTA

Pro Santa Claus School - Santa Business - 

Continuing Educations and Information
for serious New and Veteran Professional Santas 
based upon level 1 core curriculum from 
Professional Santa Claus School (PSCS) of Denver Colorado. 
Founded in 1983 
to support great men with great hearts (Real Santas!)
 in maintaining our great holiday tradition.
We'd love to hear from YOU!

In this day and age “marketing” has inundated our lives. 
We almost become immune to noticing it unless it is unique, captivating and memorable.
We can’t turn on a radio, TV, cell phone, computer or drive down a road without being sold something!
He who “markets” effectively, has the competitive edge!
It is a fine balance between honing your Santa Claus craft to excellence and letting the public know what you do, in a way the catches their attention and makes them take action!
My personal preference is to spend more time BEcoming a better Santa and having the greatest of all marketing powers working for you, doing minimal "marketing" but using quality testimonials and referrals to build your business. (Versus spending lots of money on conventional “marketing” tactics, beyond a quality business card.)

At Pro Santa Claus School Conference in Denver, we spend 5 hours on business education, most of which covers unique, low cost/Free, very effective ways to market yourself.

Here is just one of the topics we cover…

One of the new generation’s twists on words, stolen from the good old past. (i.e. “brand” your livestock.) These young whipper snappers wouldn’t know what a real branding iron is if they saw one! Ho Ho Ho!
BRANDING means; Repetitive, instantly recognizable, patterns of advertising & promotion (logo, colors, mascots, visuals, music/jingle...) that evokes an instant feeling/emotion, linked to a service or product. A Brand associates YOU with a specific, unique product, service, concept...
(i.e. The Golden Arches, Ronald McDonald, "2 all beef patties, special sauce. lettuce...", Flo with Progressive, The Lizard from Geico - I liked the cavemen better!)

When you see the Coca Cola logo, you can taste the soda.
When you see the Michelin (marshmallow tire) Man, you associate safety on the road.
When you see J and J, (Johnson and Johnson), you immediately smell baby shampoo and get the feeling of warmth, care and love in tending to a child. And so on…

SO….? When people see your marketing collateral; web site page, business card, flyers, Facebook “Fan” page, etc… what instant emotion do you want to evoke? What tools are you using to make that happen?

AND…Does ALL of your collateral MATCH? (Is it “BRANDED?”) Is there continuity? This is so very important! Is it instantly recognizable? And does the viewer immediately link it to YOU and no other Santa? Does it effectively evoke the correct emotion you want to have built into your “branding?”

Being Santa and BRANDING yourself... because there are lots of us, all in red suits with white beards, with a basic business card. It will take a good amount of thought to DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF from the pack. You can do it! What makes you, as Santa, different? What sets you apart from all other Santas? And what have you incorporated into your portrayal and programs that needs to be translated into your marketing presentation, so people you market to, pick YOU?

First thing Santa must do is be a great Santa!
Second you'll need to spend the time and energy to create your “brand.” This may mean weeks, not hours! WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT? What emotion do you want to evoke in your desired audience? WHO do you want to appeal to? What action do you desire them to take once they see your presentation? What do you wish to accomplish with your Santa career? All this must translate into your collateral. Then…Does it work as you want it to? Find out by testing your pieces out on informal focus group viewers.  PLEASE, Go beyond friends and family to get opinions, comment and input.  Ask dozens of questions like; When you see my business card… what feelings do you get? Which logo / picture do you like better? Why? What is my message? etc.

Then you'll probably need to make some revisions, retest! Once you have settled on what works INTEGRATE all of your pieces to match (Brand!).

The days of slapping a picture and phone number onto paper and calling it “marketing” are long gone. Sorry!

But also, people are so “attacked” by marketing that no one likes the constant shouting of the crazy car dealer (every big city has one) whose ads run over and over and over. Getting in people’s faces is anti-marketing and they’ll be sure NOT to book with you. The thought of having music playing on your website is cute but the typical visit to any page is 30-45 seconds. Music may make that visit even shorter, albeit a cute idea! Oops! Have dignity, ethics and integrity in all of your marketing and correspondence.

Before you “launch” your “brand,” be certain it works (accomplished the emotional response you want!) You have to love it, as do your viewers, because you will be married to your brand for a long, long time.

What happens when a company who has had a particular logo or “look” for a long time, tries to change their look? Stomach turn and folks kind of “rebel,” don’t they? Coca Cola tried to go to a new logo COKE… didn’t work did it? So even if it takes a few months to find the right “brand” to carry through all your collateral, take the time! Do the research, then commit it to all your collateral!

In 1987, American Events adopted our cutie little Santa for our Santa visits advertising. Year after year, for over 30  years, people recognized and LOOKED FOR our logo when booking their Santas. They knew what was offered and the caliber of quality they could expect. When we added various Santa programs we tweaked, but maintained the same logo. For our Santa Claus School, (a completely separate company, managed by the same owner) we again tweaked the very same recognizable logo. Here are some samples…



So get savvy! Be coordinated! Make it fun! 
Be willing to spend what it takes for a polished, classy look. 
You don't have to (so please don't) go over the top! 

Remember… your referrals and testimonials are the best, most effective and lowest cost  (FREE) marketing you’ll ever have.  (PSCS does some promotion of, but no advertising for, our Pro Santa Claus School and it fills up every year with super top rate, great, new and veteran Santas. We don't have to slam the Santa industry with our advertising or communications. Our level of excellence, comprehensive / unique curriculum and the results achieved by our students after attending is plenty to attract the top Santas in the world! AND they truly benefit & profit from attending!)  Word of mouth via our very successful Graduates is the key! Sort of the best kept secret in the industry!)  

BE a great (sincere, positive and enthusiastic) Santa first, and a marketing guru last! If you are truly a great Santa with something unique and special to offer, chances are you won’t even have to bother with much marketing after your first 2 years in business!

See you at the Pro Santa School Conference this fall!

Susen C. Mesco
Master Santa Claus Trainer since 1983!
31st Annual Professional Santa Claus School Denver, CO
August 30 – September 3, 2013