We know that a “brand” is nothing more than one’s perception of a product, a service, an experience or an organization. And as one of my former bosses said frequently, “A brand is a promise, and a great brand is a promise kept.”
Called to be evangelizers, our role in the Church is to be a kind of “brand ambassador.” Just as the apostles were instructed in the Great Commission to “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:14)” and to “love one another” as Jesus loved them (John 13:34), we are called to do the same.
For more than 2,000 years, we have seen the fruits of our evangelization when we are “on brand.” It was the early Christian convert Tertullian, around the year 200, who noted “Look… how they love one another.”
And yet, for at least the last several decades, Catholics in America have a unique and nagging habit of going off-brand and off-message as we deprecate our Church to the outside world. From Baby Boomer Catholics who stereotypically paint a picture of all religious sisters rapping their knuckles with rulers when they were younger, to Gen Xers who lament what they perceive to be ugly churches, insipid music, and/or the butterflies-and-rainbows catechetical efforts of the 1970s and 80s, to Millennials and the rising Generation Z who seemingly question all authority and challenge the Church’s authenticity – all of us, through our negative words and actions, are “damaging the brand,” as they say.
We are called to do and to be so much more!
Peter’s first letter is a reminder about how to be a good, positive “brand ambassador” for the Church. He writes:
“Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:1-3
“Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that … they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12
“Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble.” 1 Peter 3:8
When we are “true to our brand,” we attract. It’s really that simple.
As KP Consulting works with Catholic clients on their brand identity – parishes, schools and other institutions who want to increase Church membership, boost school enrollment, and/or foster a culture of giving – we focus on that which is positive, differentiating and authentic.
And through an integrated marketing plan, we look to support and promote that brand identity across particular audience groups, both internally and externally.
Perhaps one might call it “sharing the good news.”
Because even today, when we are “on brand,” people can’t help but say, “Look… how they love one another.”