I first published this post in early 2009, on an earlier version of Brandhappens.com, but I think it’s still a great question.
At the very end of Chapter 14 in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he made this brand statement:
Now, did that mix of faith and marketing get your nervous? Make you uncomfortable? What about those brands that do it all the time?
- Hebrew National is a brand that quickly comes to mind. The kosher meats manufacturer and marketer is probably the largest, most well-known kosher brand in the U.S., thanks in large part to its over-the-top commercials and clever tag line: “We answer to a higher authority.” The brand focuses on the observant Jew’s desire for a variety of meats and condiments.
- Chick-fil-a doesn’t wear its faith on its sleeve, but the brand is more than willing to honor the Sabbath and close up its restaurants – even its mall locations – on Sundays so that customers and employees are free to go to worship, if they desire. Its fans seem willing to skip a chicken sandwich on Sundays as long as they can get one any other time of the week (note: the Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich is in a category of its own…mmmmmm!).
- Interstate Batteries sells more than just car batteries. Its mission is “to glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products, and distribution services.” It’s a clear example of living the command in Colossians 3:23 (“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” – NIV).
Those brands integrate their faith at different levels within their organizations, but what kind of pressure does that put on the employees managing those brands? Is it more difficult than being the fastest, the most convenient, offering amazing design or exceptional quality?
And does it require even stronger vigilance to ensure authenticity?
As a Christian, I understand that we have more than our fair share of hypocrites who’ve fallen short of the promise, but that’s all part of being a Christian. We’re human, and we make mistakes but part of being a Christian is to live to a higher standard, no matter what the world would have us do. As a marketer, I’ve seen brands fall short of their brand promise. It’s what happens when organizations lack the discipline to do what the brand demands, when they get lazy and distracted, when they take short cuts.
Brand happens every day, but those who live to a higher brand standard understand the return on the investment. Branding is for the bold!
Wow, the comparison is kind of scary. No wonder some people believe branding is like religion!