Seth Godin, Santa Claus Is A Linchpin!

Posted by Lady Mel On Friday, December 24, 2010 0 comments

I’ve come to realize that Santa Claus is not real after I recognized my mother’s signature on a letter intended for Santa one year. However, I’ve come to appreciate the face behind modern holiday materialism, not as Jolly Old St. Nick, but as one of the greatest ‘fictional’ linchpins of all time.

So what is a linchpin? A linchpin, according to marketing guru Seth Godin, is someone that you should aspire to be. Linchpins stand out by creating ‘art’ (meaningful work) through emotional work and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. With this economic recession, a lot of people including myself, are reevaluating our career choices. People are leaving their jobs to launch start-ups and other ventures. If this had happened 50 years ago,  these people would have been outcasts. Why would they leave their secure jobs with good 401K plans, health insurance, and retirement pensions to start a company? Now answer this question. How many current “jobs” have these same financial benefits? Very few. Fast forward. So wait, Santa Claus performs meaningful work? Think about it.

For centuries, he has influenced Western culture from blockbuster movies and music to the holiday branding of retail stores, charities, companies, social media platforms, malls, and human behavior. He loves what he does for a living. He takes a year to deliver presents to all the good little girls and boys around the world. He does his job not for the money or for the power, but for his passion to change lives. He inspires others to get into the Christmas spirit and dress up as him to inspire the hearts of children and the less fortunate every year. Real linchpins and game changers are passionate about what they do and how they promote their causes to their audiences, leaving money out in the back-burner. Santa Claus does not care about material things. If he did, he would be the most wealthiest person alive right now.

Recently Melinda Pfeiffer, an unemployed North Carolina woman, sent a Santa letter to her local newspaper, asking Santa Claus to give her job for Christmas. I don’t know if she truly believes in Santa or marketed her distinctive skill set to local readers of the newspaper, but if you are an adult woman writing to Santa Claus for a job, even though he is a myth, the image of Santa Claus is still powerful

In Tribes: What Need You to Lead Us, Godin discusses that a leader of a tribe or community should encourage his/her members to be leaders themselves and inspire their audiences to lead and connect ideas. Santa Claus’s tribe consists of two groups: the elves and the rest of us. The elves are the foundation of the Santa Claus brand. Without their 'art', there will no toys and gadgets for the little boys and girls and holiday conspicuous consumption would be at an all time low. The rest of us are the people responsible for keeping the myth alive by believing in the myth and instilling Christmas spirit and hope in others. With communication, delegation, and leadership, the legend of Saint Nicholas leaves on.......until 2012 arrives and the world ends.

Today, people create blogs and social profiles to leverage average consumers, future employers, and industry experts. Santa pretty much does need to use social media like we do because his brand has already developed through centuries of folklore, not YouTube. But if he were real and wanted to get with the times, a strong social media presence would be beneficial because he could connect with millions of his fellow admirers online.

Do you know how many tweets and Facebook comments he would get from people? Trillions. Epic Twitter shut-down! But for Santa Claus, it would just be a day in the life of a linchpin, reinventing himself one character at a time.

What are your holiday plans for Christmas and New Years this year? How has Santa Claus change your life? And Happy Holidays everyone! :D