Faith branding is the concept of branding religious organizations, leaders, or media programming, in the hope of penetrating a media-driven, consumer-oriented culture more effectively. Essentially, faith branding treats faith as a product and attempts to apply the principles of marketing in order to "sell" the product. Faith branding is a response to the challenge that religious organizations and leaders face today regarding how to express their faith in a media-dominated culture.
The idea of branding has been around since the 1400s, back then the most prominent book that was being sold was in fact the Bible (Einstein 67). The advertising strategy was to be up front and frank about what it was that the individual was trying to sell. For instance they would say what the produce was, that people could buy that product right that moment, and how much it cost, these series of statements became known as direct sale messages (Einstein 67). As centuries past by the direct sale messages were used up until the industrial revolution of the 1800s and the marketing chain began to expand and change to adapt to the revolution. Companies and manufactures began to change the way that they advertised their products to the consumers, they now talk about the physical features and how the product will benefit the consumer as they said that it would “make things simpler” (Einstein 67). In today’s media driven society these same procedures have lived and are becoming more apparent with each and every new product that is released to the public.
This process has been refined to meet several different applications from religious groups to non-profit organizations that need help to become publicized and gain a voice of who they are and what their goals are. By utilizing commercial and advertising organizations to help promote the “product” (for example their Faith) they can make themselves known to the local area and even to the world. Due to the big media biz of the twenty-first century, many people are not aware of how often the process of Faith Branding, or Faith-based marketing is used and how it affects them day to day.
Mara Einstein, the author of Brands of Faith and Phil Cooke, the author of Branding Faith both describe the ways that faith branding is used throughout the world and how successful this type of marketing can be when you do the steps correctly and follow the plan. These two authors teach the subject of how faith branding can be used to break through the media that dominates most of the world’s lives and how it can be exploited.
Examples of Faith Branding
Since society is so caught up in media today many have become distracted from other important issues. Another example of mass media taking over the lives of everyday people including Christians who according to the standards set by their worldview chooses to place priorities out of religious order, and even non-believers who choose to live by the standards that are set forth by the media and accept that as their life style. Take the major companies that dominate the shopping industry and look closely at their marketing techniques they use to advertise their products. During a religious holiday is when they are at their worst, in this case look at the Christian holiday known as Christmas. Ever since the man in a big red suit and a white beard started appearing in story time, Companies have taken this time to pull all of the stops out to sell their products in large scale by telling every individual that they deserve bigger and better things. This is not what Faith branding is used for at all.
Negative Aspects and Precautions
Faith Branding does not always work as intended. Its methods are subject to debate. Branding in general does throw up some red flags especially when the topic of branding is about faith or even culture. Most people believe that the procedure of making something more apparent in the media would be solely for the corporations that produce and sell consumer goods that would be purchased and used by an individual, and the subject would develop a “bad reputation” (Cooke 160). In Cooke’s book he states that there are three dangerous areas that need to be revealed when it comes to the process of faith branding, they are “technology, chasing relevance, and conflict with the concept of marketing” (Cooke 160). Cooke discovered these issues so that when organizations are faith branding then they know what they should be cautious when they use the techniques for breaking through the ever evolving media age of the twenty-first century.
- Flynn, John (July 26, 2009). "Churches Communicating a Message of Hope". Global Zenit News.
- Jacobs, Mary (April 14, 2007). "Don't shy from marketing savvy in branding faith". The United Methodist Reporter.