You may know what the most beloved brands in the world are, especially because they are, by definition, super popular. Walt Disney, Yahoo (still!), Google, Sony, Nestle, Auchan, Netflix, Whole Foods, Apple and Lowe’s made the top 10 last year.

But a brand that’s been popular for the past 100 years, whose modern incarnation may or may not be the invention of the Coca-Cola Company, has a thing or two to say about what creates enduring brand love.

I’m talking about Santa, of course.

I was lucky to pull some strings to get an exclusive interview with the big guy. Here’s what we talked about over braised pork belly and an ice-cold Coke (he’s nothing if not brand loyal, Santa is).

Inspiring Santa Love
Sol Marketing: Santa, how do you pull it off year after year? With stiff competition from Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Mom, what is it that inspires all the Santa love?

Santa: First, I think we need to talk about what DOESN’T do it. The legend that I can see everyone when they’re sleeping and when they’re awake stems from my focus on effectively targeting my gift-giving by really understanding my customer. I know there are lots of marketers who read your blog, so I want to make sure those boys and girls understand that they’re not going to build a brand that gets love just through Big Data. You have to apply some insight and heart to see the true story.

Sol Marketing: I couldn’t agree more, Santa! And I’m not just saying that, even though it would be incredible to finally get that pony. So, if it’s not about knowing everything about your customer, what is it that you do to create all this loyalty and emotional connection?

Santa: I take that research about my customers, what brings them the most joy and fulfillment, and I deliver that to them every Christmas. Let me tell you, it’s not about the pony. It’s about what it says about you that Santa brought you a pony that truly creates the kind of connection boys and girls can’t get anywhere else.

Sol Marketing: But it is kind of about the pony, Santa.

Santa: The pony is the symbol, the token of the love you feel for Santa, because of how Santa makes you feel when you find that pony under the tree Christmas morning.

Sol Marketing: So I might still get that pony, right?

Santa: Forget about the pony. It’s not about the pony.

Sol Marketing: OK, so let’s talk about brand love. What has Santa got to do with love?

Santa: Santa loves all the children, even the ones who don’t believe. People can sense that, and that’s why everyone loves Santa. You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to know that Santa is about joy, about giving, about making and keeping that emotional connection. Not just with others, but with the child who still lives within you, no matter what your age. Brand Santa is about magic, about being jolly. Perhaps most importantly, and it seems counter-intuitive, Brand Santa is about consistency. You always know what you’re going to get when you are dealing with Santa.

Sol Marketing: Alright, Santa. Thanks for talking with us today.

Santa: You’re welcome.  And I know all about that naughtiness that goes on at the Sol offices – but Santa loves you anyway.