According to a 2015 Pew Research Centre study, the Christian population is expected to reach 3 billion by 2050 – that is 40% of the current world population. I don’t know of a brand that can claim to have 40% of the world population as market share?
The most sold book series to date, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. In comparison, the Bible, despite on-going attempts to burn it, ban it, and ridicule it throughout history, had an estimated 6 billion copies printed with translations in more than 2,000 languages!
So how does a Carpenter over 2,000 years ago manage to create the world’s biggest brand with no viral marketing, search engine optimization, media broadcast or social media channels?
Here are 3 lessons from Jesus Christ, Marketing superstar to include in your marketing strategy.
1. Jesus told Stories
The human brain is wired to respond to well-crafted narrative and storytelling. This means your audience is programmed to crave and seek out great stories. Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms – it stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of community between the storyteller and listeners. Neuroscience proves that telling stories is the best way to capture people’s attention and forge close, personal bonds.
What if Jesus’ story read something like this? A very smart boy was born in Israel 2000 years ago. As he matured, he spent his time debating with key religious leaders and challenged their way of thinking. A carpenter by trade, Jesus had the intellectual capacity to challenge the most educated of leaders, managed to draw huge crowds of followers and performed amazing miracles. He came close to being crucified for his principles but was set free and died peacefully at the age of 85.
Did this story move you? No. That’s because this version of Jesus’ story has no obstacles along the way. Every impactful story has elements of conflict – and the same counts for a great brand story. It’s natural to want to shy away from challenges and position your business as successful, but sharing some of the hardships you faced along the way will help your brand bond with your followers and position you as honest, approachable and trustworthy.
2. Brand Advocates
Jesus chose 12 disciples as brand advocates – they everything behind and followed Jesus around for three years. Matthew and John were Apostles, eyewitnesses, and participants in Jesus’ three-year ministry and wrote the Gospels. John also wrote the three Epistles. Paul, wrote the Epistles, Romans through Philemon. The Apostle Peter wrote the letters of 1 and 2 Peter.
Do you want to get your followers talking positively about your brand and recommend it to their friends and social circles? Brand advocacy is a cost-effective, efficient way to build brand awareness and reputation by ensuring your followers believe in your brand and promote and talk favourably about your product or service to others. We’ve all heard stories of how a business went above and beyond to please its customers and when a customer has a great experience, they are likely to tell other people about it. Brand advocates are important to your business as they have the power to influence the purchase decisions of the people they are connected to.
One of the key elements in building brand advocates for your business is to create long-term relationships with your customers. Building relationships on trust can turn a one-time customer into a loyal supporter. When customers feel they’re a valued part of your business, they want to promote and share information about you. Invite your customers to be part of your product reviews and ask them for feedback on a new service you’re planning on offering.
3. Corporate Soul
Everywhere he went, Jesus presented a fork in the road for people, obligating them to make a choice. People were not the same after meeting him. Not only was Jesus interested in marketing this invitation to humanity, but it was also his entire purpose for coming to earth. According to the Bible, his purpose was to bring a message of love, hope, and freedom.
What is your company message saying to your customers? At the heart of every organisation lies a potential beyond measure, an entity beyond the combined capacity of the people and their goals. This is its Soul, largely untapped and once released – it brings expansion, creativity, and life not just to your business but to all who come into contact with you. The secret of marketing is to be authentic and believe in what you are doing.
I believe that businesses need to become known for something. Something that offers a positive solution to an audience in need. Something that is simple and easy to remember. Not many things; but one thing. Preparing the strategy to accomplish all of this is ultimately called marketing. We don’t try to profit in monetary terms. Instead, we want the community to profit in a dynamic relationship with our brand.
In summary, Jesus came to influence in a laser-specific, strategic way. He came as a marketer. As such, he demanded a response from the world. As far as Jesus was concerned, there were only two things a person could do with him: follow him wholeheartedly or reject him completely. Get people to either reject or endorse your brand. Invite them to make a decision.