My parents recently had my childhood home videos transferred from VHS to DVD. Over Thanksgiving, my family took a walk down memory lane, enjoying the clips of birthday parties, school plays, and laughing at what was considered fashionable in the 1980’s.

During one Christmas past, a two and a half year old version of me was caught on tape dancing around the living room singing Christmas carols. I couldn’t spell, swim or tie my own shoes, but I knew the signs of Christmastime. In the video, I barely got the words “Ho ho ho, Merrrrry Christmas!” out of my mouth before launching into a full rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like some pretty effective branding.

If your company could create brand image so contagious that 2 year olds were quoting your most recent commercial, wouldn’t you do it? I thought so.

Cue the holiday cheer and bear with me. It may be corny, but here are a few things your business can learn from Mr. Claus and his jolly brand:

Be human, be likeable.

  • Santa climbs into our homes at night via the chimney, but we look past the potential creepiness of this because he has proven that he is trustworthy. And remember, it is Santa who brings the treats, not “A Representative of the North Pole.”
  • For you, small-town etiquette still applies, what has changed is the medium used. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook give businesses the opportunity to publish obnoxious quantities of unsolicited information OR to show the kind of personality and human touch that was the basis of brand loyalty 50 years ago.

Listen and use what you learn to make your customers happy.

  • Your customers are freely distributing information about themselves, their habits, their interests and their opinions. Quiet down for a moment and listen. Have you ever visited Santa at the mall? He asks what you’d like for Christmas and then gives you a candy cane. Nowhere in the exchange does he say, “By the way, customers who leave extra cookies and milk this year get priority on the Nice List next year!”

Be memorable for the good, and take the bad in stride.

  • For every Santa impostor who schemes to steal Christmas cheer, there is a redeeming quality of real Santa. Your business can build that same positive perception by consistently delivering the highest quality products and services possible, and treating your customers with care. Lifetime value of a loyal customer and the patience to build your brand over time cannot be overlooked.

What does your business do to retain customers? Does your brand have a personality or just a product?