Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Branding of Christianity

Here's a brief summary of an interesting study of the web sites of the 20 largest religious groups in the U.S ("Images of Christianity: How America’s Top 20 Churches “Brand” Their Message"):
I thought it would be insightful to see just how the top 20 churches in America... go about visually communicating their messages on their respective official church websites... 
I found that of the top 20 Christian churches, only 3 actively use images of Jesus Christ on their site. Most churches don’t visually emphasize church doctrine or principles, but rather emphasize recent news in the church or upcoming conventions, concerts, and speaking series. Most of the churches choose to advertise programs or other websites and they promote their bookstores and other products for purchase. Some churches emphasize healthy living, taking care of the poor, and providing relief during disasters. Some have a really strong emphasis on the leadership of their church, directing readers to church hierarchy and important people.
In addition to these summary remarks, the author presents and comments on visual images of each of the sites. One of the more interesting findings is the difference between whether the websites are *.com or *.org sites:
One thing you’ll want to notice from each church is whether or not they are incorporated. You’ll find an interesting connection between the churches that have a “.com” website address and their visual emphasis on money-making conventions. The .org sites tend to be focused more on doctrinal and faith-based issues (but not all).
Finally, note what groups appear on the list. The largest group in the US, is the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church, Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), and the Church of God in Christ. Of the remaining fifteen, there is a good representation of mainline denominations (e.g., Presbyterian, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, American Baptists) but the list is dominated by evangelical and black churches. Interestingly, one Greek Orthodox church is on the list: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (#17).

Note: I became aware of this article when reading economist Michael McBride's excellent blog, "The Religious Marketplace."

No comments:

Post a Comment