It’s December 17th, almost time for Frosty the Snowman to return once again. He shows up around this time every year to entertain children, rankle some police officers, and take a couple of puffs from the corncob pipe. Don’t worry, he doesn’t have any lungs, it can’t hurt him.
The American viewing public only gets to spend half an hour with Frosty every year, but we darn sure make the most of it. In one annual special, Frosty does a lot more than just say Happy Birthday and talk to animals. He also shows us lessons we can still apply to business more than 50 years since Frosty was first rolled up. I’m Sean from Prime Concepts, and this is Part Four of our series, Do You See What I See, Business Lessons From Holiday Classics.
Today we’re covering the top five lessons from, you guessed it…Miracle on 34th Street. No, of course, it’s Frosty the Snowman. Let’s get started.
Lesson One: Hire Your Weaknesses
No one man or woman is without their fair share of weaknesses. Achilles and his heel, Superman and Kryptonite, Donald Trump, and Facts. It’s part of what makes us human. But, weaknesses are not limited to just humans, snowmen have them too. Do you know what it is? Heat. Along his journey, one of Frosty’s companions requires warmth to continue and Frosty’s not the type to leave one of his own behind. Knowing that building a fire would come at the expense of his life, Frosty calls upon the forest critters to work together and build a raging flame.
While it’s important to continually invest in oneself and one’s team to better their bests, it’s crucial to understand when the return isn’t worth the investment. Time is a limited resource and it’s not always viable to learn that new skill or develop the necessary requirements to achieve a certain objective. That’s why you need to hire your weaknesses when it’s called for. This will allow you to focus on the highest and best use of your time. Sure frosty could have built that fire, but at what cost? Certain dearth? That would be a hard pass for me.
Lesson Two: Chase Trends, Not Fads
While we’re on the topic of the natural lifecycle of snow…It’s stressed throughout this Christmas special, that Frosty was birthed into a cruel and limited existence. In fact, the entire movie is a race against time to save frosty’s life from the impending temperature change. Now, it stands to reason that if the hat is what brought frosty to life, then why not use that magic on an object with more permanence? Would the kids not be satisfied with Thomas the Toaster or Charlie the Coatrack?
Fads are here today, gone tomorrow. So don’t build your brand around them. They are fleeting moments of interest, like Tamagotchis, Frozen Yogurt Stores, and sunlight injections. Of course, seize the opportunity, lean into them if possible, but don’t build your foundation on them. Instead, set up your shop on strong trends, changes that will have a lasting impact and shift the entire marketplace, such as the continual implementation of artificial intelligence. Hey Google, can snowmen contract ephyezema?
Lesson Three: Celebrate Your Victories
I’ll be honest with you, I’m glad the children didn’t have the foresight to create Charlie the coatrack, because Frosty the Snowman is the quintessential hero’s journey. As the temperature rises and the weight of Frosty’s expiration starts to grow, the hero approaches his first challenge–death. But death is no match for this hero and his guides! With no time to spare, the brainstorming begins and subsequently ends on the first and only idea… get Frosty to the North Pole. And with that, they celebrate their victory with a parade through the streets.
Although this is probably one of the least significant reasons to throw a parade, the logic is solid. These kids were facing one of the most tragic events in their lives and they were able to overcome it, in a matter of minutes. That’s a reason to celebrate. What’s important to note here is the impact this makes on everyone involved. The mood drastically shifts from sad, to happy, to ecstatic. How leaders lead in times of victory drives the company morale in a positive or negative way. Next time you change your password more than a day before it expires, go ahead and throw yourself a parade. You deserve it.
Lesson Four: It’s Not What You Know, It’s How Well You Execute
This next lesson is one everyone needs to hear and come straight from the top, the big man himself. No, not Santa, I’m talking about our CEO Ford Saeks.
The movie opens on a class full of school children being entertained by Professor Hinkle, the magician. It’s a shame they couldn’t get Bill Nye the science guy. After the middle-aged professor performed failed trick after failed trick, Hinkle slings his magician’s hat into the trash… and rightfully so. He’s awful. The school children repurpose the magician’s hat and inadvertently unleash the hat’s magic… apparently for the first time. Hinkle chose the life of a magician and has pursued it his entire life, so why wasn’t he bringing inanimate objects to life way sooner?
This is a classic archer, not the arrow situation. Anyone can learn to do something, but knowing how to do something is very different than actually doing it. To achieve success, you have to actually do. Execution is key. Because in the words of Ford, it’s not what you know, it’s how well you execute it. Hinkle had the tools to succeed and the knowledge to do so, but he wasn’t able to execute.
Lesson 5: Consistency is Key
Finally, after the team lands a Hail Mary, Santa himself delivers Frosty to the North Pole. Hooray, the day is saved. And He lived happily ever after in North Pole where over the next few years he eventually became but a distant memory in the mind of all those children… That’s exactly what would have happened, had Frosty not set the consistent expectation that he would be back on each and every Christmas day.
In everything you do, be consistent. Are all of the branches of your brand communicating the same values, using similar strategies, working in unison to create a consistent identity? Consistency means your target audience is being exposed to core messages repeatedly, which will ultimately solidify your brand recognition. And that’s why we all know the tune Frosty the Snowman and why we’ll all have it stuck in our heads long after this video.
OUTRO: With a Corncob pipe, a button nose, and a heart of Gold, Frosty the Snowman slid into our lives more than 50 years ago and hasn’t loosened the grip on our collective soul ever since. In spite of his likely tobacco addiction, Frosty has a lot to teach us about life, business, and sweating off the extra pounds. We love ya, Frosty.
And we love that you watched this video. If we left out a business lesson you found in Frosty the Snowman, share it in the comments below. And stay tuned for the next installment of Do You See What I See.