Dear Santa…

Mark Smith, Senior Strategist, talks about why brands should create delight this Christmas, not just satisfy needs.

Have you written your letter to Santa yet? Don’t know where to start? Well, you better not cry; You better not pout. There are plenty of ‘Letter to Santa’ templates to be found online, as any four-year old can show you. Oh, and that four-year old will also tell you that Santa doesn’t exist as he’s Googled it*.

This is a true story retold by one of my colleagues following a chat with her nephew. It just goes to illustrate the emergence of the first true Google generation, those characterised by never knowing what it is not to know. Information is instantly accessible and shareable, for consumers and retailers.

Children are keeping their Christmas lists as Amazon Wish Lists or Wunderlists. Emailed around to the family to tick off. Allowing the kids to see what they are getting and from who. There are wedding contribution services instead of wedding lists, ‘Help us buy our dream sofa :)”, and a whole plethora of curated shopping apps to show you the latest fashion.

Fantastic innovation, but all too often the data obtained by retailers is simply homogenizing service. As an example, how many generic retailer emails have prompted you to ‘unsubscribe’ this present season? Are we missing something from a brand perspective?

By pursing the digital dream and service excellence without considering what they really stand for, brands can erode the potential for an emotional connection and longer term loyalty. Brands with purpose know their customers and themselves. Their brand experience is one that creates delight, not just a satisfaction of need. The best brands surprise. Create unexpected moments. Excitement… even love.

So once you have your shopping out the way, what better time to have a think. How do you build a little mystique and sparkle back into your brand experience? What do your customers really want for Christmas?

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* P.S. I’m happy to report that following a brief market research exercise (I asked my eldest son), Santa does in fact exist and will be delivering a Nerf Modulus ECS10 Blaster to our house this year apparently.

Photo Credit: FreeImages