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One of our favorite posts each year is to share the story of how NORAD began the tracking of Santa. It’s a charming story and a great marketing lesson. You can read it for yourself below. Many thanks to Katie, one of our readers, for sharing the updated NORAD link with us which allows you to track Santa’s journey around the world. She also shared something neat that Google is doing ahttp://www.google.com/santatracker/#/village along with some other Santa resources we’ll talk about next Christmas.

If you’ve got an Internet connection attached to your TV, try putting it up on the big screen around the kids’ bedtime. If the small screen is your thing, there’s an app you can download to get updates on your phone all day Christmas Eve, too.

And, of course, let us use this as one more opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

Here’s the story…

Santa_Sleigh.jpgBack when I was a boy, we knew Santa was on his way when the weatherman came on the news at 10 and showed good ole’ St. Nick on his radar. “Santa has left the North Pole…” He would proclaim in a tone that conveyed the seriousness of his message, “So all you little boys and girls out there had better be in bed…” and near panic would ensue as my sister and I scrambled off to our rooms. Today, thanks to the NORAD Santa Tracker, you don’t need your own radar to keep up with Santa’s whereabouts, just an Internet connection. Way cool.

What is even cooler is how NORAD’s tracking of Santa was started and became an annual tradition. As it turns out, a tiny error by Sears & Roebuck started it all!

The following story is borrowed from http://www.noradsanta.org.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends, have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to Christmas Eve phone calls and emails from children. In addition, we now track Santa using the Internet. Last year, millions of people who wanted to know Santa’s whereabouts visited the NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Media from all over the world rely on NORAD as a trusted source to provide Christmas Eve updates on Santa’s journey. Kids can also call NORAD to track Santa.



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Christmas e-card 2013 - Terri Red

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Oklahoma City Jeweler, BC Clark, used the same jingle for their Christmas promotion year after year. Then a few years ago, they got to thinking that maybe the market was tired of this jingle, because they were getting tired of it, so they decided to change it. They quickly learned it was a big mistake because their customers let them know! They very quickly changed it right back. You can get the whole story here.

While some might consider this a “strategic hiccup,” it’s actually quite a story in the power of their brand, and a profitable lesson for us all. If a customer is so attached to any aspect of your business they’d miss it if you changed it, you know you’ve got a loyal following. Any time your customers will take time to speak up and let you know they’re unhappy with something, that’s a golden opportunity to fix it. You’ll likely keep and grow a customer relationship, and you may even impress them so much with your handling of the situation that they’ll tell all their friends about it and your net result will be even MORE customers and more profit!

Keep in mind that customers you get from referrals have no acquisition costs attached to them, so the margins are that much better! Strong customer service is a critical component of effective branding!

It also reminds us precisely When We Should Change A Strategy.

The wise person isn’t the one who makes the fewest mistakes. It’s the one who learns the most from them.” – Harvey Mackay


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The ONLY time these two guys stopped working was to take this pic!

The ONLY time these two guys stopped working was to take this pic!

A good time was had by all and a boatload of money got raised for the Dream Fund Thursday night thanks to the Oklahoma City Marcomm Community. It’s always fun to hang out with marketing gurus (and AMA Past-Presidents) Brian Blake and Kevin Jessop, but to get to share the stage with these pros was an additional honor.

Many thanks to all those volunteers and donors for making GIVING to such a great cause so enjoyable.

If you were there you know what a well-attended, well-orchestrated, professionally done event it was. If not, you can read all about it in the Twittersphere by searching #okcjinglemingle.

I have always been proud to be a member of the marketing PROFESSION, but the comaraderie and generosity we saw at the Jingle Mingle reminds me why I’m proud to be part of this profession in this unique Oklahoma City community. That’ll keep me in the holiday spirit until at least the Super Bowl! Bravo and thanks, guys!


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Steve Jobs Book PicYou know I hate to name any one book as my “favorite” on any subject, be it business or entertainment, but if I had to pick ONE that I think everyone alive today should read, one that was so inspiring to me I found myself wishing I could get YOU and everyone you care about a copy of, it’d be Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs.

The book is written in such a compelling fashion that it almost reads like a novel! Like some tall tale of a folk hero from days gone by. Yet Steve Jobs lived in our time and this book tells the story of the impact he had on the world during his half century on this earth. It is also very candid in its portrayal of Jobs, showcasing both his brilliance and his imperfections. According to the author, and to the great credit of Jobs himself, the no-holds-barred look at Jobs’ life was endorsed by Jobs.

Anyhow, my bet is once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down. If you don’t like to read, get it on audio and listen to it in the car on a long trip. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


Prep and Landing is coming on ABC next Monday night! Check your local listings.

And let me know what you thought of it!

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There’s a holiday special I’ll bet you’ll enjoy  because it deals with the “operations” side of how Santa does things. It’s called Prep and Landing. You’ll hear the elves talk about their mission statement, their “corporate culture,” and see how they use the latest technology to help Santa visit every home on the list in one very productive night. All embedded within a very charming story. In fact there are two specials and they’ll probably both air this year. If not, you can grab them on Amazon or Netflix.

Here’s a short clip…

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Here’s Steve Earle’s most excellent rendition of Nothing But a Child to help us ring in the holidays. Look for more holiday-themed posts than usual this year…I’m just in that mood!

Crank it up!




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