But I never imagined that this one would almost perfectly fits the context of the other: Christianity and Branding
The problem: they are fast losing impact and relevance thanks to people’s suspicion, distrust and weariness.
The difference: one’s about God, the other, about the product.
The similarity: there are 3 questions, the author wrote, that are at the core of a postmodernist’s accusation against Christianity (my commentaries and attempts are relating the subject to the Advertising industry are italicized):
- First: “Why should I trust you?”
This is a classic. Anyone in the business would know that we’ve had this problem since the 60’s.
- Second: The question “Isn’t that just your reality?” talks about how relativism—“whatever works for you”—is at the core of a casual Postmodernist’s philosophy.
But Mr. Richardson also wrote that relativism “has its plus side” in that “People are open to Jesus, they just don’t consider him the only way…[therefore,] I try to engage them in who Jesus is and not that the others aren’t correct.”
This is where Christianity and Advertising intersects. The best way to grow your brand in a sea of products is to communicate what and who you really are, not what the competitor does worse than you do.
- Third: The question “What good is Christianity?” is a question of utility and relevance.
In the context of branding, this would be: “What good is your brand/product?” This is another question that should be close to the heart of any ad guy/girl.
Mr. Richardson continues, “The question of the uniqueness of Christ is not primarily philosophical. People are not looking for theological comparisons but for attractiveness, relevance, and usefulness.”
Religious people like to think that normal people would probably like to know how their beliefs are better than the rest. Advertiser like to think that customers would probably like to hear about why their brand/product/service is better.
Nonsense. Customers don’t care for the same thing advertisers care for: hot ’n heavy, high-and-mighty messages. They are looking at how the brand/product/service is attractive, relevant and useful to their life; they are looking for ‘the right fit.’
In closing the piece, Mr. Hill suggested that the way to counter even the most relentless questions and accusations—fair or unfair, informed or ingnorant—is to “Be intentional and authentic in your friendship. Their response to my overtures can’t determine whether we stay in friendship. If it does, then it’s not a friendship but a manipulative ploy to get them to become a Christian. It’s a difficult paradox to reconcile.”
Here’s the golden rule: it’s not wrong to go ahead and have an intention of selling a product, but be genuine about it. That’s it. Intention without genuineness is, like Sony PSP’s graffitti campaign, universally despicable. Genuineness without intention is, like Sony’s PS3 “Baby” spot, simply bad advertising practice—in an ‘OMGWTFROTFLBBQ’ kind of way.
Look, if we all embrace the golden rule of intention and genuineness, maybe people wouldn’t come to hate advertising in the first place.