Like many of you, I’ve been juggling my work life with getting ready for the quickly approaching holidays. I can’t help myself – I see marketing everywhere I look, even classic Christmas stories! Have you ever really considered the marketing messages that are woven into the classic Christmas story about that scamp Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?
Marketing lesson #1: You can’t hide the truth.
Rudolph didn’t embrace the fact that he was different from all the other reindeer. He tried to pass himself off as something he wasn’t just because he wanted to have a cute little black nose and the chance to play some reindeer games. That didn’t go too well for him. He got called out in public for faking it and that made people question his integrity.
If social media has taught us anything, it’s that you can fool people for a little while, but if you can’t walk the talk…don’t even try it. Be true to who or what you are and you’ll attract the perfect customers.
Marketing lesson #2: Never make assumptions. Just ask.
One of the main reasons Rudolph ran off was because he assumed Clarice wouldn’t love him once that fact that he had “a nose so bright” became common knowledge. Think of the grief he could have saved everyone if he had just checked in with her.
The speed of marketing has accelerated so much over the past few years but the one thing you shouldn’t rush past is actually talking to your customers and prospects. Check your assumptions before you go off in some crazy direction, based on a false belief.
Marketing lesson #3: Your worst enemy can turn into your greatest ally.
Sure…the Abominable Snow Monster tried to eat his girlfriend but Rudolph came to see him as a buddy — even letting him put the star atop the Christmas tree. All it took was someone like Hermey the Elf taking the time to listen to the Bumble so he could acknowledge his pain and voila, he turned the grumbling beast into a helpful and happy pal.
When someone criticizes your company, product or services’ shortcomings, it’s human nature to get defensive and assume the worst. Instead — listen. If you really work towards understanding their perspective — you can not only save the relationship but you can turn that negative word of mouth risk into a brand advocate.
Marketing lesson #4: Create raving fans and a community by giving first.
Rudolph didn’t have to promise the Misfit Toys anything. At that moment, they couldn’t help him. But with a generous heart, he promised them he’d try to find them good homes with children who would love them.
When you do something without regard for “repayment” of any kind, you create value. When you create value, people keep coming back. When they do that, you begin to build a relationship and a sense of loyalty and no one has even tried to buy or sell yet. Which makes the selling a whole lot easier, when the time comes.
Marketing lesson #5: When you find what makes you unique, it can be your ticket to new heights.
When Rudolph began to see his nose as an asset and recognized it was what set him apart from all the other reindeer, he suddenly got asked by Santa to take a leadership position. From then on, it was his calling card. People told others about his nose and pretty soon, he was known from coast to coast. That’s what branding is all about!
Companies like Apple rise to the top because they celebrate what makes them different. They recognize that having a niche means you can create brand loyalty as opposed to being lost in a sea of sameness.
Maybe the real lesson here is if you look hard enough, there’s a marketing lesson in everything!