British branding guru Simon Ahholt has recently advised governments of more than 40 countries on national identity and reputation. Today it was reported that Australia is viewed as the 'dumb blonde' of the world.
Attractive, but shallow and unintelligent.
Now I know having lived here for nearly 18 years that Australia is attractive, but it is also anything but shallow and definitely a place bursting with intelligent minds.
So what is the problem?
He said "What you have is an image of a country that is considered to be very decorative, but not very useful." He went on to say that Australia relied to much on "logos and slogans" in its efforts to change people's mind about the country. "Rather than waste time fiddling around with promotional campaigns, what Australia needs to do is to invest in the sectors which demonstrate its seriousness and its capability."
Churches like yours and mine often have a similar problem. We are doing heaps of really good stuff. We know that we are doing heaps of really good stuff, but for some reason everyone 'out there' thinks of us in a different way, their perception of who we are is totally different to what we know to be true about ourselves. (I've previously blogged about perception here and here).
Because of this perception problem people may they think of your church as a dumb blonde church. Attractive, but shallow and unintelligent. The perception many be that you have lots of lights, movement, good looking pastors (maybe). Also when you came to faith you were labotomised and that you believe in all sorts of kooky stuff that everyone knows is a bit weird (You also may have a short fuse and keep pickets in the boot of your car ready for the next protest).
To make matters even worse many churches (I'm sure your church doesn't do it) rely on slogans and logos in an effort to change people's minds. If we were really smart we could help change people's mind through the art of storytelling, or through the effective use of public relations to tell the story of what really is going on at our churches.
What hair colour is your church? Oh, and what do you think about the issue of perception? By the way I am was a strawberry blonde so no offensive emails or comments please!