Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

That moment

June 11, 2007

Seth Godin articulates what’s been on my mind. It’s called That moment

    “When you are sitting right on the edge of something daring and scary and creative and powerful and perhaps wonderful… and you blink and take a step back.

    That’s the moment. The moment between you and remarkable. Most people blink. Most people get stuck.

    All the hard work and preparation and daring and luck is nothing compared with the ability to not blink.”


Contrast #1: The Dream

June 9, 2007

I love Tom Peter’s book Reimagine. It’s one of my all-time favorites. The book itself is a picturesque experience, chock-full of thought-provoking ideas and insight. I want to take the next couple days to share my notes in five posts about five contrasts.

First up, the dream.

We are in the dream business. The “experience” idea is a big stretch for many people in business. But we must stretch our minds, and our vocabularies, even further. Next stop on the value train: Dreams. As one business visionary put it, a dream amounts to “an opportunity to help clients become what they want to be.” This is not pie in the sky. “Dream” products provide returns to shareholders that far outpace the returns from “common” products. So, are you ready to enter the Dream Business?


! Contrasts


    “Mere” experiences to Wild imaginings…and dreams fulfilled
    Things done well to Things not thought possible
    “It’s really good” “You can do that?”
    Pleased to Elated
    Surprised to Stunned
    Selling to customers Tempting customers
    “I’m not sure I need it.” to “I GOTTA HAVE IT. NOW.”
  • • Dramatically. ALTER. Perspective.
    • Adventures….in “Dreamketing”
    • Project: Dream
    • Extreme Dream
    • Transformation Guaranteed!
    • Dream Language
    • Insane Solutions and Cultures
    • Dream Weave
    • Dream Metrics
    • The “Feel” of Dreams. If you build it….
  • Touch people’s dreams. Tell stories and entertain. Promote dream, not product. Build brand around Main Dream. Build a buzz, hype, cult.

      Excitement. That’s right.
      Surprise. That’s right.
      Impossible. That’s right.
      Destiny. That’s right.
      Change. A lot of it.

    Dreams. Just do it. Just be it.
    Re-imagine it! Go for the things that are nuts! Take the leap. Once more, with feeling!

    Something is the new something

    March 3, 2007

    Sometime ago I came across this list of clichés (via google) about how something is always being transposed to be the new thing:

    Clarendon is the new Helvetica
    The location field is the new command line
    Fake is the new real
    Orange is the new black
    Quiet is the new loud
    Nearshore is the new offshore
    Red is the new blonde
    Blacker is the new black
    Iraq is the new Vietnam
    Movies piracy is the new plague
    Fat is the new thin
    Wide is the new black
    Fat is the new tobacco
    Organic is the new kosher
    MCA is the new MBA
    Small is the new big
    Spim is the new spam
    Being uncool is the new cool
    Gay marriage is the new abortion
    30 is the new teenage

    Focus on changing the conversation.

    October 26, 2006

    Conversations are nurturing and meaningful while campaigns convert momentarily.
    Cultural change happens most effectively through a shared conversation.
    Campaigns are short-term. Conversations are long-term.
    Focus on spreading conversations. That’s the consistent and sustaining way for change.
    Conversations lead to conclusions. And conclusions lead to conversions.

    You can survive in a constantly changing culture. It’s been done since the beginning of time. Today, we live in a harsh attention deficient world, saturated with marketing messages. Well, that’s life…one that requires us to evolve in order to refocus the conversation without becoming outdated.

    Clearly, the most effective agents of change have discovered new ways to do things. As great thinkers like Seth Godin have discovered “the old way of advertising and selling products isn’t working as well as it used to, and they’re aggressively searching for a new, enterprising way.” One that requires a “fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising and customers.”

    How are you changing the conversation?

    Scenes from the Culture Clash

    September 13, 2006

    A fantastic article in Fast Company Magazine about how the next generation of workers WILL change the business landscape in many, many ways. Some will shock you, but some might encourage you if you are a right-brained, non-lineared thinker like most everyone under 30. For me, I’m anticipating the changes!

    Btw…this is based on facts!


    Emerging Culture – Outline

    October 13, 2005

    Here’s the real outline. What’d you think?

    I. Understanding Emerging Generations

    How do we bridge the gap between the modern and postmodern cultures?

    1) Our generation is now a missionary frotier
    It’s time see the young generations as a missionary frontier.

    2) Significant desire for experimental spirituality
    We have chosen an extreme openness to experimental spirituality

    3) Intense openness to spiritual things
    We have become a deeply “spiritual” generative.

    4) New Methodologies
    Youth and College pastor must change their methodologies if they are going to reach the postmodern.

    5) Christian Subculture
    The Christian and non-Christian are becoming all too alike and this must come apart.

    6) A Cultural and Global Generative
    The leverage of the media and the Internet

    7) A Disconnected Generation
    Deep desire to be understood by their fathers and mothers.

    8) Pluralistic Culture demands new approaches
    Truth has to be personalized because we have been impacted by a pluralistic culture.

    II. The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations

    What does this generation look for in a leader?

    1) Relational vs. CEO Approach

    Trinitarian-Shared Leadership

    We have chosen Trinitarian leadership; instead of a hierarchy we should lead as a community of voices sharing each other’s roles unified in one direction.

    2) Event vs. Process

    Process Oriented Leadership

    We have chosen to lead more by a process and less by events because that’s where real transformation takes place.

    3) Being a “Poet and Gardener” Leader

    Evolution of Leadership

    We have chosen to embrace the evolution of leadership, understanding our role in God’s story.

    4) Creative Innovators Artist Leadership
    We have chosen to embrace our uniqueness so we artistically replicate our God.

    5) Relevant Environments
    We have chose to create environments that are conducive to the hearts of people. This will allow us to connect with people.

    6) Organic Flow of Ministry

    Participatory Leadership

    We have chosen organic growth, ministry and movements instead of organizations and institutions. We live with a “tourist” mentality rather than a “maintenance” mentality.

    7) Missional vs. Consumer Mentality

    Reproduction Leadership

    We have adopted the concept called missional living; therefore our theology has shifted from developing one system called “missions” to turning theology into one department of mission and moved from consumer church to missional church.

    8) Leadership Conclusions

    III. Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church

    How does this generation relate & connect with Christ?

    1) Tribal Community Togetherness Formation
    We have chosen to channel our growth through tribal communities instead of bureaucratic programs because we believe in a call to community where we live as one big family on a journey together.

    2) Engage Culture Holistic Formation
    We have chosen to integrate our faith into all areas of life Instead of separating the spiritual realm from normal life.

    3) Return to the Sacramental Ancient Depths Formation
    We have chosen to return to the ancient depths of our heritage.

    4) Centralize Everything with Jesus A Jesus Formation
    We have chosen to be like Jesus.

    5) Greatness is Servanthood Slave Formation
    We have chosen to walk by action and not theory.

    6) Authentic Eyes Visual Formation
    Reading the word through a refreshing lenses.

    IV. Conversations and Communications with the Emerging Generations

    How should we communicate with the emerging generation?

    1) Moving from sin-management to kingdom-management preaching”

    2) A new hunger for depth and theology vs. shallowness and anthropology

    3) Who is truth? Vs. What is truth?
    Apologetics focused on “Who is truth?” vs. “What is truth?”

    4) Fellow-journeyer vs. problem-solver
    The preacher as a “shepherd” and fellow-journeyer vs. a message presenter and problem-solver

    5) Questions and Thinking Allowed

    6) Use Visual eye-catchers in messages

    V. 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss


    That’s turning the church culture brandscape into a minefield.

    Evangelism replaced by “Spiritual Conversations”

    Discipleship replaced by “Replication”

    Good News, a Worthy “News Flash”

    Sermons replaced by “Weekend Talks”

    Church Membership replaced by “Partnership”

    Conversion replaced by “Allegiance to God’s Kingdom”

    Systematic Theology replaced by “Worldview”

    Missions replaced by “Missional”

    The New Lingua Brands that are being made new by the Emerging Culture:
    • Communal
    • Radical
    • Revisionist
    • Social Activists
    • Tribal
    • Revolutionary
    • Emergent
    • Participatory
    • Image-Driven
    • Apostolic

    Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture

    October 13, 2005

    Last year I wrote a series of messages for Josh on the emerging culture. I have some other ideas for it and would love to hear your reaction as you read this broad stroke outline. Does it spark your interest? Make you want to read more? (wish I could figure out how to use my fonts – but I’m still blog-illiterate)

    Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture
    “…exploring ministry in a post-Christian world…”




    1) Understanding Emerging Generations
    A foundational look at our emerging culture, where it is heading and how it influences where the church is heading

    2) The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations
    Ministries suffer from a great lack of quality leaders; this generation has to rethink how leadership is done

    3) Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church
    Thinking through how this generation experiences and connects with God

    4) Conversation and Communication with the Emerging Culture
    Rethinking how to dialogue with this culture

    5) 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss
    As these eight key church culture trends show, brands are less and less about what we do, and more and more about who we are



    Lowercase People

    October 1, 2005

    I’m digging the new online collective that Jon Foreman and the Switchfoot gang have pieced together. Jon, in trying to expand his efforts of changing the way people think and along the way raising some mega cash for his humanitarian causes, have created Lowercase People (

    i.e. I’m jacked for my buddy Brent Cole who is the managing editor.

    Branding and Evangelism

    September 21, 2005

    We must learn to leverage a copious of traditional and non-traditional stories alike to make a connection with the most people possible. We’ve got to leverage every potential point of contact between Christ and hearer. That’s why we use experimental marketing. Use muti-faceted, multi-sensory, multi… The greatest ministries are the best storytellers that tell it in a way that never completely tells it. They just keep adding value to them – week after week, filling up their thirst tank and they keep wanting more. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t sit down and tell the whole thing at once, rather, he wetted their appetites to keep them coming back. That was the genius of Jesus. Everything we do is a means to a greater end. The problem arises in our strategy or lack of. You’ve got to be strategic when you evangelize. We’re good at presenting the problem, but bad at offering solutions. And we wonder why so few evangelize. The ones that do are the rare ones who maintain the right perspective.

    We have the job of creating such powerful emotional ties that stick with people in a way that overlooks our humanness. That’s why the Scripture is so powerful – it takes us into a different world. We have to be careful how we handle that kind of power. Jesus did. He maintained a dependent humility even as his power with people increased. As he spoke the word his fame grew, but his dependence on God also increased. With that in mind, it’s not what we do, but how we do it. It’s not what we say, but how we say it. That’s what keeps the unsaved coming.
    Whether you like it or not, we are a brand.

    We must continually keep asking the questions: what are the intrinsic core values that are fundamental to our ministries? What are our guardrails for growth as we emerge into a new era? It’s important to have a deep understanding of sound doctrine and Jesus’ methodology before we develop our own dynamics for ministry. Otherwise, the brandwidth of ministry can become dangerous. As we grow into an era of globalization it’s ever so vital to keep all this in mind and sense. We must learn how people not only view us but feel us – an ever more intimate understanding of our target. As brand expert Scott Bedbury noted, “Success in the future will be achieved not just by doing things right, but by also doing the right thing.” I’d wholeheartedly agree.

    Is Raising Support Crazy or Biblical?

    September 9, 2005

    Question: What do I do if God calls me to do something but I don’t have the resources to take care of my family? Paul answers these questions for us in I Corinthians 9.

    {Note in introduction: Acts 6 – leadership genius of God. Separating everyone into there call and gift mix}

    v6″Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves?

    Paul and Barnabas had a trade they could do to support themselves, while the other apostles didn’t. I have friends who have a mission from the Lord yet they also have a skill or gift in something that helps them pay the bills while serving the Lord in other ways.

    When my Dad left the pastorate for the first time in 32 years last year to expand his ministry from a community to communities as an evangelist, he didn’t know how he was going to support themselves. He raised some funds for his overseas trips but didn’t feel right about raising his full salary until his vision had matured a little more. In the meantime, he continued to preach and serve where he could. Walking away from a capable and flourishing ministry to do what God called him to go out and do was no easy task, but he persevered, refusing to give into the temptations of other things. A vision was maturing, that’s for sure, just not at the pace he or any of us would have preferred. But God does things in “due time” so we did the best we could with what we had.

    Dad, the natural salesman he is, felt the Lord leading him to take some real estate endeavors in Panama City, Florida where he had lived for over four years before moving back to Atlanta. He had dozens of quality contacts and the area all of sudden became one of the most booming in the country. Not only did his condo double in price, but in one month he connected over ten people to buy pre-sale condominiums. All he asked for was a finder’s fee. Dad had discovered that real estate could be his skill to support him while he began planting seeds for the vision God had given him. He’s even becoming a licensed agent in Georgia and Florida. Yet he continues to preach and will most likely be immersed into that again very soon.

    I meet people all the time who are laboring with the vision God has given them and it’s easy to become confused when it relates to a money issue. It seems like everyone has a different outlook on it. I’m encouraged once again that the Word of God has all the answers to all my questions and I’ve got an ocean of em. I ask, “God, how? Should I really raise my own support or get a job or…?” The entire time I think God is looking right at me just simply whispering or many moments shouting in my ear, “My answers are found right there, see it…it’s called My Word…aka the Holy Bible, the spot where I said they would be.” “Oh! That’s a life-changing grip I now have.”

    When God speaks to us all we have to do is trust and obey. And let me say, it’s not like this is a struggle we have to endure alone. Paul said in the next chapter, “And remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.” David journaled about his constant struggle all the time, “O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?”

    And I think it’s just plain healthy to tell God exactly how you feel. When He says to cast all burdens on Him He means it. It’s a beautiful thing to me that men like David and Paul and Moses wrestled with God. He wants to be wrestled with. He’ll win but we’ll have answers and freedom and the knowledge that we are obeying our Heavenly Father. Read the Psalms and tell me he’s not fighting with God. He says things like, “Don’t rebuke me in your anger!…because of your anger, my whole body is sick.” If I were God I’d be annoyed, but our Heavenly Father is patient and understanding. Amazing.

    7″What soldier has to pay his own expenses?”

    The roman soldiers were paid in money and other things like corn. He’s using some common sense word pictures here.

    “And have you ever heard of a farmer who harvests his crop and doesn’t have the right to eat some of it? What shepherd takes care of a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? 8And this isn’t merely human opinion. Doesn’t God’s law say the same thing?”

    This is God – not only human reasoning.

    9″For the law of Moses says, “Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain.” F46 Do you suppose God was thinking only about oxen when he said this? 10Wasn’t he also speaking to us? Of course he was. Just as farm workers who plow fields and thresh the grain expect a share of the harvest, Christian workers should be paid by those they serve.”

    God cares about us as he does oxen. There is a reward in our work.

    11″We have planted good spiritual seed among you. Is it too much to ask, in return, for mere food and clothing?”

    Every man has a right to support his family through others or work.

    The rest of the chapter should be an encouragement as well. I’ll tackle it another day for sure…v. 12-27

    Change the Heart, not the Mind

    August 17, 2005

    It’s important to change the way people think about things, but when it comes down to it, the mind war will always lose, whereas, the heart war will always win. As we enter a new era of ministry I recommend that we work harder at becoming authorities at changing the heart rather than the mind. This is a far off concept to the modern world and reasonably so, since for many years changing the mind has been an effective model, but today is a new day.

    We’ve become a well-oiled machine at building great conferences and churches. We know how to attract people and we are surely knowledgeable at church growth, thanks to the Donald McGavern’s and John Maxwell’s. We’ve even put enormous attention on the inner qualities of the church called church health. Yet there is yet another wave growing amidst the church world, as God places holy discontment inside leaders, the same kind of righteous frustration that spurred church growth and church health movements. Without oversimplifying a big, complex thing, I’d like to think what is actually happening is a needed focus on relational health. This is because relationships change people, including hearts because they change what people care most deeply about. Churches are creating experimental environments, community societies, tools that replace our independence with dependence. Most people have holes inside of them because they miss-out on things that give them relational fulfillment. The business world is doing the same thing. Today, you can find gardens and bars, even a baby nursery inside of businesses. Whatever they can do to fulfill their employee’s needs they do. The church is trying to do the same thing.

    This is something that is dear to my heart because for a few years I spent my ministry time dipped in trying to change people’s minds. My mentor has spent most of his journey trying to change the way people think about God, life and relationships. My respect for him is higher than almost any other person I know, but what I respect more than anything today is that he realizes how important it is to change the heart. I respect him for sticking to his calling – to help change the way people think because that’s important for vast reasons. Yet he admits today that it’s more important to change what people care about. You change what people care about through the relationship factor, building environments of relational health.

    The reality is people don’t care about personally what they believe theologically and biblically. That is true because they don’t know how much it affects them personally and relationally. They believe good things but don’t care that much about it. Their loyalty lies in their membership rather than their heart.

    Branding the Gospel

    August 16, 2005

    I’ve been thinking a lot more about the ‘art of branding’ and how I can think with practical “sense” about it. Here’s a couple thoughts going through my head today pertaining to branding:

    First, there’s Culture.
    A culture has a texture – something you can see and feel. They can feel how rough or smooth you are when they face you. Is your surface a rugged edge or a cushioned environment? An environment is your season, not your foundation. In a spiritual culture your foundation, your goal and your message is the gospel. When someone meets the gospel they’re faced with a decision and they know it. For some it creates a cringing or for others it thrusts meaning. And that all depends on their former experience with it. Maybe they met, even desired it, but it felt irrelevant to everything in their journey but death. But…they might not have met the true gospel and now they have a bad taste in their mouth.

    Second, there’s People.
    Never choose to create a foundation that has any potential to downgrade the gospel all because of someone’s human opinion. All because of someone’s tradition. The only thing that matters is for your culture to become a redemptive healing place. If anything stands in the way of that tear it down immediately so Jesus can come back into your place. You can only do your best, I know, but God needs us to create environments that are inviting…even to a mainstream culture, so his message has no strings attached besides what it is. The number one reason the gospel fails to reach people is because of people.

    Third, there’s Sense
    If anything it’s wise to understand brand sense in a sensory world. Branding is an art involving: Touch, Sound, Sense, Sight. Branding is for those who desire: coherence, common sense, soundness, logic, wisdom, meaning, and just plain intellect.

    Fourth, there’s Presentation.
    Was the gospel meant to be delivered in the air? Can you just speak it out loud and it will penetrate a culture? Yes, but that’s just one piece of the pie. Let me add – A very important piece, especially to me personally.

    Did Jesus do His greatest work through his gospel presentation or was it the way he lived? Was it through his sermons or through his quality time with those he has close relationships with? The answer is both.

    I’d like to bargain that even though the sermons were immensely effective (and I’m happy about that since I am a preacher) the most effective way to live a Christian life is through 1) trusting our Heavenly Father. The movement we are a part of succeeds the most when we just stay close to him and do what he wants with every single part of our lives. This cannot be overemphasized nor watered down. 2) relationships – the kind where quality matters more than quantity. Where depth matters more than giftedness and intellect. God didn’t call most people to be preachers and sermonizers for the sake of preaching and presentation. He called all people to “make disciples” through relationships with others and a relationship with himself. The two great commandments are to 1) love God and 2) love others. Can you think of a better way to change the world than to create environments where it becomes most natural for the culture to love God and love others? That is, removing everything and anything you can think of that could get in the way of that.

    Is the Gospel like a virus? When it enters the air it spreads like the flu. It did that powerfully at one time here in North America. But they’ve discovered how a vaccine for it – ignore it and do what you want. In Africa, the virus is beginning and succeeding but it will only last as long as the church doesn’t kill it. In America the church has killed the gospel virus with a vaccine.

    Someone told me yesterday this: “I’m just evangelistic! That’s why I am going to do church this way.” My response was: “What does it mean to be evangelistic? Does it mean you have the ability to speak truth to the lost culture? Does it mean you just love to share Jesus in the way that worked for you 30 years ago? You’re not evangelistic! The evangelistic church is the one where people are getting saved. That’s it!” This person’s methodology and philosophy for evangelism is just a habit, not an effective God-led presentation for Christ.

    Another question arises: Is your target audience worth it? Worth what? Worth the time and energy to understand them for who they are. They aren’t into cutting edge. They love tradition. They love authentic. They are this… Do you know that or preconceive that? They ARE worth KNOWING those answers.

    Does your church culture look like that? Does your church culture resembles the needs of the churched or the unchurched? God loves his church, the one he meant to be filled up with the unchurched. His eyes see everyone, but his laser focus is on the unfound, the lost he desires more than we could comprehend to save.

    These are the kind of questions and answers that could set you free to leverage your ministry into new heights.

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