Monday, October 06, 2008

Shirky on humanising brands

Interesting response from Clay Shirky on the "perfectness" of brands. He observes how people won't go near a brand that they perceive to be too perfect. He uses an analogy of a kitchen... if it is perfect and shiny then guests wont go near it... if, on the other hand, it looks a bit messy (with just-washed dishes lying out etc) then people will happily engage.

Think about this in the context of church. I have been in the company of people whose goal, it seemed to me, was to portray how holy they were. They never realised how off-putting this was for me. There is one person in particular whose company I cannot keep because this person is too pious... to the point of self-righteousness. I feel bad and I feel guilt for this... but that's how I feel.

Holiness isn't a competition. I don't need to keep up with your Joneses here. Holiness is about a relationship with God. However, some people want to portray their lives as being perfect. No bad times. No downs... only ups... but no hang ups, thank you very much. No addictions or pesky sins that tarnish their crisp and well-turned-out outward appearance.

As churches... groups of followers on the Way together... we need to ensure we portray ourselves as raw and unfinished and, in doing so, as approachable. Broken but fixed. Scratched up... banged up (some literally)... beat up... and fallen BUT fixed up... given a new lick of paint and picked up! We need to "humanise" our churches... make ourselves accessible/approachable as groups of ordinary people to ordinary people.

Watch the video and think about it...



Thanks to psfk and fasterfuture. Oh and thanks to Clay too.. you rock!

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