Friday, February 24, 2012

Re-branding a Religion - Is It a Good Thing to Do?

Recently the Southern Baptists discussed renaming their denomination.  They were frustrated by declining numbers and less success in mission outreach and felt their name was holding them back.  In the end the vote went against renaming.  David Gibson at the Religious News Service discusses this and other discussions regarding "re-branding" of religious groups such as the Mormons.  Interestingly, folks from the corporate world advise against name changing, as there is value in the wide recognition of a well known label. 

Some time back the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod discussed the same thing.  They, too, decided to stick with LCMS - for now.  Some feel that changing a name changes the image, and changing public perception translates into other successes.  Yet such is not always the case.

"I think you should stick to your mission and just work harder to explain why your mission matters," advises Josh Feldmeth, head of the New York office of Interbrand, an international brand consultancy business.  His advise should be considered carefully.  Too often we think that by changing the exterior of something we make substantial and productive alterations that positively affect the church.  In truth, the substance of what that church teaches and proclaims is of much greater importance.

For more information, read Gibson's article "Re-branding a religion is hard to do and not always successful."  

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