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Do these cheesy marketing ideas that rip off pop culture marketing actually work for the Church?

Every day there are thousands of new campaigns, messages, and advertisements competing for our attention. With catchy tunes, witty slogans, and compelling images, why shouldn’t you use the same ideas for your campaigns? Many people do, and that’s the problem. Relying on copycat communication can put your brand in danger.

Relying on copycat communication can put your brand in danger.

In July of last year, I had the opportunity to lead a conversation among some of the top not-for-profit social media experts in the country. Our conversation was based on “Creative Ways We Do Social Media.” I led them through an exercise where we brainstormed two lists around campaigns: one list represented successful campaigns that we have seen and the other represented unsuccessful campaigns.

As we reviewed these campaigns, we identified what made the successful campaigns successful and what made the unsuccessful campaigns unsuccessful. Observing and visually listing out these reasons, we gained a new perspective: Each successful campaign understood its target audience, stimulated action and awareness, and most importantly, was true to its brand. On the flipside, the unsuccessful campaigns were the opposite. They weren’t quite sure who they were targeting, they lacked any response from their audience, and they missed the core of their brand.

Overall, the discussion of these campaigns led us to understand that copied ideas don’t always lead to successful campaigns. In fact, copied ideas most likely will lead to unsuccessful campaigns and can ultimately hurt your brand. Learning from other campaigns is meant for inspiration, not for the destination of your campaign.

Learning from other campaigns is meant for inspiration, not for the destination of your campaign.

To protect your brand from copycat campaigns, start by answering these 3 questions:

1. Who is your audience?

You become your most creative self through the relationship you have with your audience. When you know who you are talking to, how they respond, and what they want to hear, you have been given all the ingredients you need to get your audience to respond to your campaign.

You become your most creative self through the relationship you have with your audience.

2. What is your end goal?

Most successful campaigns create clear pathways for their audience to respond. If you give your audience too many action steps, they are less likely to interact or engage in your message. So you have to have a clear goal that identifies what you want them to do and create a clear pathway to support.

3. What is the heart beat of your organization?

Your campaign should directly reflect the heartbeat of your organization, including its mission and vision. If you are unsure why your organization exists, you cannot lead a successful campaign that will enhance your brand.

If you are unsure why your organization exists, you cannot lead a successful campaign that will enhance your brand.

Think through these questions before relying on copycat communication for your next campaign. These questions will create a foundation for you, your team, and organization to have a successful campaign that will not put your brand in danger.