Friday, October 8, 2010

Embarrassed by the Brand

Yoga by Anna Cervova

Recently, Albert Mohler, the president of a Baptist seminary declared yoga to be inconsistent with Christianity. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the guy wrote that Christian yoga practitioners "must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga."

Maybe I'm not with it. I thought yoga was mostly people stretching themselves into contortions and trying to meditate away the pain of their awkward positions. I didn't think it had any more to do with religion than sitting by a serene lake and possibly thinking about God. Shows what I know.

Apparently, it's also a surprise to a lot of people who practice something called "Christ Yoga" and millions more who simply like to stretch and contort their bodies. But it's probably most surprising to the Baptist pastors who are trying to attract new members and converts. Scratch the idea of winning over the yoga crowd, which is larger than the entire membership of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I'm sure many agree with Mohler. Others may not. The point is that all of them are now painted with the same broad, brand brush. Actions like this may explain why two of the nation's three largest local Southern Baptist churches downplay the denominational brand. The pastors of these churches understand that local church brands are built on local relationships. While the big, denominational brand may (i.e., may) help legitimize the local church, it also can hurt the local church when someone like Mohler spouts off. In addition, promotion of the denominational brand promotes other local churches operating under the same brand name.

From Church to Air

Locally, I've been listening to a local air conditioning contractor attack another on the radio. He attacks the owner's accent and the business practices. I don't know much about either company's business practices, though the guy being attacked is a member of the Service Roundtable, which means I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

These are not comparative ads where one advertiser compares his features with the competition's. The ads are more like a political attack ad. They come across as mean. I don't know whether they're effective or not, but I suspect many people find them distasteful.

So no harm, no foul to anyone else right? Well, the guy doing the attacking uses manufacturer co-op and hypes the manufacturer brand in all advertising. Thus, it's as though every contractor associated with the manufacturer's brand is participating in the ad campaign. They're painted with the same broad brand brush.

The solution for contractors is the same used by the leading local churches. Don't play up the big national, denominational brand. Instead, emphasize your local brand and your local brand relationships. It's the only way to avoid being embarrassed by the brand.


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