Joel Rubinson says that, in this down economy, businesses should focus on being a friend to people. People feel the recession is a crisis much like a natural disaster or epidemic. Uncertainty and anxiety reign.
Smart businesses, therefore, will position themselves as friends and neighbors who are there to help. He cites Hyundai's offer to take over your car payments if you lose your job, and a men's clothing chain's offer to take the suit back if things go bad. "Marketers should try to befriend people; sooth them, simplify their choices, help them make ends meet, and give them back a measure of control and dignity." The key is to understand how people feel and befriend them.
So it makes me wonder about the church. Are we there for people? Do neighbors see us as stalwart friends who can help? Or do they see us a foreign, unwelcoming places? Are we people with condemning expectations?
A brand is nothing more than a promised experience. What do people expect when they hang out with us?