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[Above: gratuitous shot of my holiday card from 2 years ago…]

Ok, ok. I like Christmas. In the past, I’ve blogged about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (during the holidays) and Elf on the Shelf (when it was announced this newest addition to American tradition would be featured in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade). So why a July post about Christmas – and a second one about the Elf, for Santa’s Sake? Well, this really is a social media story, with lessons that apply at any time of the year.

After that elf-related post I mentioned, the folks at Elf on the Shelf (a company called CCA and B, LLC) tweeted about my blog post. We then engaged in some twitty repartee…and the next thing I knew, I was getting a LinkedIn request from the person who plays the role of Social Media Elf. I thought that was interesting. Some time went by, and then I got a printed invitation in the mail – an invitation to a media event to celebrate the elf’s upcoming debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now that’s some nice follow up!

So I went to the event, and found out that behind every good elf there is a great woman – actually, three of them. Carol Aebersold and her twin daughters, Chanda A. Bell and Christa Pitts, are the ladies who brought Elf on the Shelf into this world – and who still print and distribute every book. A couple million elves later, they have expanded into other line extensions, an animated special, and soon – the big parade balloon. Keeping control of the entire process has helped them build these little guys into an amazing brand. Do you think you’ll be seeing palettes of elves on the floors of Costco? No way, I’m told. You also won’t see them in bargain bins on December 26 – that’s just something the owners won’t allow. It is of primary importance to them that every elf experience be special – magical – even if it means less sales. 

[Below: the founding mothers of Elf on the Shelf]

Just as they want to keep the magic of Christmas alive with every single elf, these ladies have a social media strategy that is at once personal and protected. By personal, I mean – look at how they turned social media influencers into 1:1 meetings via this media event. By protected, I mean they have a team working 24/7 during the holidays to review each post and pull down anything that damages the spirit of their brand. That’s no small job for any company.

~ @AdvertGirl

PS – Tomorrow (7/25/12) @elfontheshelf is having a twitter party at 10am Eastern “to answer all of your North Pole questions.” Well done.


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