They’re not bringing back New Coke, but the Coca-Cola Company is ending its long running advertising campaign. After seven years, “Open Happiness,” a slew of commercials focused on giving feel-good social commentary, will be replaced by “Taste the Feeling,” which focuses more on Coke products themselves.
In an AdAge interview, Coke’s new Chief Marketing Officer, Marcos de Quint, gives some of the motives for making the shift. As I read the article, there are two key themes I think make a lot of sense for how we should be doing marketing communications in our own churches as well.
While the “Open Happiness” ads won awards and stirred emotions, the campaign itself didn’t lead to higher sales, which is the company’s ultimate goal.
In churches, I think we can get stuck in a similar situation. It’s easy to think we’ve made an awesome looking handout or website without considering if it actually leads people to take the action we desired. Beautiful design does not automatically mean effective communication.
On an even higher level, it’s a common mistake to not even set goals or create a process for measuring success. In a church setting, where time and money are often limited, it’s even more important to be intentional with those resources by taking the time to be strategic.
An interesting aspect of the the new “Taste the Feeling” campaign is that Coke products will feel more like a unified family. It won’t be uncommon to see a Coca-Cola next to a Diet Coke or Coke Zero. The idea is there are moments in your life when you want a Coke. Sometimes it’s a sugary treat and other times you want something lighter. Regardless of mood, there’s a Coke for you.
Churches could benefit from a similar brand unification. A lot of time and talent is spent on splintering off different ministries into their own brands within a church. Kids ministry becomes “The Treehouse.” Junior high has “The Loft.” And high school students are a part of “Ignite.” Just because individual ministries want their own name and logo doesn’t mean they should get it. Often it’s more of a process of staff walling off their ministries from the larger church than an actual exercise in useful communication.
Instead of a group of disjoined programs, what if your church spoke as a single ministry with offerings for people in various stages of life? Not only does this make your communication easier, but it creates a stronger bond between the different arms of your congregation.