Billions of Christian believers around the world virtually gathered this past Sunday to celebrate and commemorate the holy resurrection of Jesus Christ. Given our peculiar circumstances, I spent most of the day with family and reflected deeply on the meaning of Easter. During a moment of clarity, I also made a very interesting observation between Christianity and many other popular brands.
Call me a blasphemer or heathen if it helps you get through this article. However, I believe that once you’re finished reading will be difficult to deny that Christianity is indeed the greatest brand ever created. Here are our 10 brand commandments to prove it.
The symbol of the cross is a logo. Yeah, I said it. Much like the use of a logo by its brand, the cross is applied to nearly everything that is labeled as Christian. Look closely and you will find it everywhere from buildings and books, to wearables and tattoos. I assure you, I mean no disrespect.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. One of the hardest jobs we have as brand marketers is getting people to understand that a logo without meaning is merely a worthless graphic. The best logos in the world embody the essence of the brand while remaining simple and recognizable. It’s the deep meaning that makes the cross such a powerful symbol to Christians. However, graphically it’s not very different as to why athletes feel compelled by the Nike swoosh.
The most popular brands in the world have the strongest belief in their values. Often referred to as love and forgiveness, these are the ideals that guide Christians all over the globe. According to Forbes, Apple is ranked as the most valuable brand in America; they have attracted 1.3 billion users on the back of its values of creativity, innovation, and challenging the status quo. However, these statistics pale in comparison to the 2.2 billion followers of Christ, making Christianity the largest religion, and by far the most popular brand, in history.
The biography of Jesus is the most notable and recognized story of all time. In fact, you don’t need to be of Christian faith to know the story of Jesus Christ. If you turn on your television this week, I guarantee there will be at least one network playing the story of Jesus.
A powerful story is not only memorable, but it creates a consistent direction for a brand as well. If we look at the story behind Starbucks Coffee, we find the fable of coffee’s journey overseas into the port of Seattle. This lore inspired Howard Schultz to name the company after the first mate aboard the Pequod in the famous novel Moby Dick. The Siren may be known to be the loudest mythical creature of the sea, but it seems rather quiet in comparison to the 5 billion plus bibles sold since 1815.
Christianity was formed around the values and story of Jesus of Nazareth, the immaculately conceived carpenter who lead a life of miraculous healing and righteousness. Many other brands also originate from the story of its founder, but sometimes the brand ambassador is merely a preacher of those brand values mentioned in point number 2. Steve Jobs has been revered as the visionary of innovation and the single most important reason behind the success of Apple today. Even after his death, Apple evangelists still sing his praises. At one point, Jobs was begged to return to Apple, by the same board who ousted him years prior, only to resurrect a dying brand.
Much like Apple without Jobs, a brand cannot make it through hardships without a sense of purpose. TOMS made shoes gained popularity by giving away shoes to people in third-world countries who didn’t own a pair already. On a significantly larger scale, Christians believe that Jesus’s life purpose was to teach people the word of God and lead humanity to an everlasting life of salvation into the kingdom of heaven.
Good brand messaging is always clear, concise, and coherent with points 1-5. Jesus spread the good word through his disciples. Billions of practicing Christians still continue to create awareness. Much like Christianity, brands cannot continue to exist without new followers and consistent messaging. In today’s world brands have billboards, radio, television and social media to get their message out into the world.
You can say it until you’re blue in the face but words don’t matter unless they’re followed by action. In today’s digitally savvy world, people are much harder to fool by marketing. Despite the plethora of commercials broadcasted by McDonald’s promoting “healthier options,” we all know that a McD burger can sit in a box for over 3 years without decomposing or any sign of mold because of the viral power of social media. I’d venture to bet that Christianity wouldn’t have withstood the test of time had Jesus not abided by his own words.
Christianity is all about the ‘F word’. Now, you might be thinking “faith” but I’m referring to feelings. Much like people, brands are empty without emotion. The feelings tied to a brand are the main reasons why people gravitate toward it. Customers pay more for Tiffany jewelry because it makes them feel special. Without the transfer of these feelings Tiffany’s jewelry would be no different than the jewelry you can buy at Walmart. What would Christianity be if it didn’t make you feel closer to God?
A brand’s architecture, interior and website should be cohesive with the rest of the brand. The Chipotle brand touts additive-free, non-GMO, natural ingredients. Similarly so, their restaurants use natural and unrefined finishes; wooden tables, aluminum wall covering, and concrete floors. Christianity also uses architecture and design to properly create an on-brand experience in the Church. Stained glass, religious iconography, and an altar at the focal point set the tone for this place of spirituality.
Every brand should have a ‘brand standards guide.’ The most thorough guides are the best guides. These guidelines are created to ensure that the brand always looks, sounds, and acts in line with the original brand standards and values. Similarly so, the Bible was created to share the story of Jesus and keep us on track through parables and commandments.
Someone will be in touch very soon.