I’ve been working with companies on building effective consumer and B2B brands for many years. It’s always interesting to view organizations through the “brand lens”. The church is a particularly interesting subject since it’s so easy to point out inconsistencies in behavior – actions that sit in complete or more often apparent contradiction to the organization’s purpose. Last week Oklahoma Channel 5 News ran a story about Windsor Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City who had decided to give away an assault rifle to a lucky youth participating in a week-long revival. I know, Christians have as much right to protect themselves as pagans but I grew up in church. I went to church camp and confirmation. I just can’t imagine Pastor Wally at my church passing out automatic weapons during youth night.
Transportation and communication technology has been “shrinking” the world for hundreds of years. Social media dramatically accelerates this process through the intimacy of the information, the size of the audience reached and judgment that inevitably follows. It’s impossible to say what the long-term effects of the assault rifle give-away will be for the Windsor Hills Baptist Church. But I guarantee the Windsor Hills board will be asking that question from now until the end of the internet — that alone will change their brand.