Friday, February 26, 2010

Breaking Through the Clutter

This post is by Chris Smith, a Campus Ministry Intern at St. Mary's. Heand the other interns are guest blogging for us during Lent. 

The average American is exposed to 3,000 ads per day. On the Internet, at movie theaters, billboards, sporting events, television, and in bathroom stalls- advertising is everywhere! (Media awareness) With giant corporate monsters such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and Apple dominating the advertising industry, we can look to these business empires for tips on marketing the Church. Yes, even the two thousand year old bride of Christ can and must be marketed to its people.

The Church has a stable brand image that has stood the test of time even when threatened by society‘s questions on her views on marriage, contraception, and abortion. But even a stable brand image must be able to break through the clutter that engulfs our subconscious by increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty. During my advertising classes at MAYSBusiness School, I sometimes reflect on whether or not the Church is called to invest in advertising. I looked to scripture and found in the Gospel of Luke that we are called to “market” the Church as we are challenged to “Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.” (Luke 14:23) The Church’s brand manager, Pope Benedict XVI realizes the need for marketing the Church and has begun to encourage priests to blog and post their homilies on-line. This is just one step in taking the Church and her Truths to the people.

One example of utilizing advertising in the Church is seen in the Archdiocese of Washington. “As lent begins, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington launched a marketing campaign to reach members who have stopped attending mass. The diocese is spending $75,000 on a video (YouTube), blog, and advertising campaign with the slogan, “Longing for something? Maybe it’s God?” Their hope is to reach people online and help members who have drifted away to feel more comfortable returning to the church and let them know they are welcome and invited." (Church Marketing online)

Just like the Archdiocese of Washington, the Catholic Church must continue to market to its people by utilizing modern technology and advertising techniques. If the Church’s global brand image does not compete with the 3,000 ads, we must ask ourselves whether the lost sheep will forever wander amidst the clutter?

1 comment:

tour86rocker said...

"The Church has a stable brand image"

I have to say I disagree to a certain extent. The moniker "Catholic" has become almost entirely nebulous in society. (Certainly for ardent Catholics, maybe 7%? it's very clear) Imagine vegetarianism if most vegetarians ate meat and only called themselves vegetarians because their parents decided they were going to be one when they were babies (and it had gone on like that for about 16 or so centuries).

Out of every ten Catholics one meets, you're lucky if one MEANS something by it, do you know what I mean?

Catholic teachings are very clear, but the Church continues to receive new members who have no intention of seeking to live Catholic lives. I have no expertise in your area, but it looks like a brand identity CRISIS from where I'm sitting.