08
May
10

RELIGION BRANDS


Research.
This has been going on in my mind for a while. You must read it with a lot of objectivity and think deeply about the associated meanings. The lurking power behind the fact is undeniable.
This is a work in progress, and below is only the beginning. More to come.

You can’t see It yet you trust It blindly. You never met Its boss, yet your faith remains unabated. It’s free, always available. You don’t have to go to any store to get It; closing your eyes is enough. It’s always open for business. In hard times, you seek Its guidance. In good times, you thank It. All your life, present and future is based upon It. You inherit It from your parents and you pass It on to future generations. When dire times arise, you abide by Its doing admitting that it is certainly for a good reason; one that is beyond your comprehension.

It has a logo, one so powerful, we carry it around our necks, in our cars, at home and even offer it. That logo symbolizes all It stands for. It carries Its values, commends respect and humility.

It has sales teams and outlets. It widely advertises Its services. It has Its own radio and Tv stations. Its business nomenclature is better structured than any board of directors in the largest corporate. It has its own tagline, headlines, and even jingles.

You can’t see It, yet you bought into It; from cradle to grave. It even sits on your tombstone, before your name!

This is the oldest and most powerful brand ever created. Religion.

[Keep watching that space]

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9 Responses to “RELIGION BRANDS”


  1. September 26, 2010 at 22:33

    It would be really difficult for real brands to reach the status of religions, for the latter touch people’s existential foundations. Could a real brand ever be a reason of being for its consumers? Could it provide a sense of purpose? Could it alter one’s judgement with the power of dogma? Unlikely. The only brand I can think of that behaves along that line is Apple, for it is a highly consistent one with very clear values. Consuming, and enthusing about Apple’s products makes an identity statement (I stand for the pursuit of functional and aesthetic perfection). This probably justifies its cultish following (and the cultish status of Steve Jobs), but still it’s no match to religion.

    • September 26, 2010 at 22:57

      Raafat! This is great! Thank you very much for your comments. They reinforce fully the research I’m working on. My point revolves pretty much around your way of thinking. What I’m trying to do is get as close a possible to the Icarus syndrome but without burning the brand’s wings. By that I mean, get the brand as close as logically and spiritually possible to being a religion-brand without sealing its fate. Thanks again and keep em’ coming! 🙂

  2. September 26, 2010 at 22:49

    Actually, I can think of another obvious example: Marlboro.
    Let’s compare the offering of Marlboro with that or religions:
    1- Identity: I am an independent, freedom-seeking individual.
    2- Social initiation: as a grew up, I saw several of my role models smoking Marlboro (I grew up seeing several of my role models practicing religion X)
    3- Social reinforcement: several people around me, including my friends, smoke Marlboro. This exerts group pressure on me to stay within its hold
    4- Pleasure: I get pleasure from smoking Marlboro (I get pleasure from practicing religion’s spiritual rites)

    Another example is Diesel:
    1-Identity: I am a cool, fashionable, young urbanite with a svelt body
    2- Social reinforcement: same as above

    and so on…

  3. 4 Octavia
    September 27, 2010 at 19:26

    Brands as religions?!! Very interesting. Can’t wait to read your findings. It seems to me that religion is about controlling with fear more so than offering comfort. The main difference between organized religion and spirituality for instance is that the first one says your after-life will only be good if you do 1, 2 & 3 and the latter says you’re a result of everything you do, so choose wisely. In this respect, for a brand to reach religious status, it has to be able to subtly instill that fear in the heart of its “faithful.” Can a brand do that without the kind of organization the world’s leading religions have? Will see what your research shows.

    I do think that some successful brands act like cults, fraternities, sororities, exclusive clubs, or simply must-have brands that present themselves as the symbol of “Cool” and “In.” In my world, I can name M.A.C Cosmetics that doesn’t even advertise its products the traditional way but targets professionals and high-end clients directly, Angel perfume by Thierry Mugler, Apple, Swatch, Lucky Brand, Gaiam among some others. What they all have in common is some embedded message of “goodness” and my trust that their product will give me satisfaction and make me feel better about myself. This trust comes from testing them over and over again and knowing that they will deliver on their set goal which is interpreted differently by different people but lead all to being a “devout” consumer.

  4. September 27, 2010 at 19:53

    I don’t agree with religion as a brand. Or that a brand can reach religion status.
    The beauty about religion — the spiritual and religious type, not the political and fabricated one — is that it is free. Because it is free it can reach to masses and does. A brand, by its very definition, is something you buy into. you have to spend money on a brand. Yes, I agree, Apple is maybe the closes, but when Steve Jobs preaches, he wants me to buy his product and to follow him I have to. In religion, you don’t have to buy anything. And even the pendant around your neck or wherever is rarely bought spiritually but rather as a piece of jewelry. Religion is, to date, free. You can exercise it without paying if you so choose. Of course you can build a religious church, mosque, temple etc… and many do. You can put money in a collection, you ca contribute in so many ways. But on the other hand, you don’t need to. The beauty of religion is that it is between you and your God. No brand can achieve that, and you will always pass by the middle person and gum chewing receptionist, salesperson… And the masses can’t afford that. We now live in a society of such abundance, that brands and their leaders and managers forget that there are many, many, many people who can’t afford anything or very little. That’s where the market is. And that is religion’s untouchable market. 🙂

  5. 6 Hasnain Rizvi
    September 28, 2010 at 11:12

    I really like your comparison as at the end of the day it’s a generic brand that is marketed by a highly skilled team selling it in different labels and over the years accumulating a wide brand loyalty.

    As a novice student of theology I have observed that the common denominator in most religions is the same although the symbols, beliefs and practices vary according to the timing of the product launch in order to align to customer needs and match evolution of product maturity. The ideology may vary slightly but the base element of the product has continued to be the same.

  6. September 28, 2010 at 14:33

    Me again!!! I was thinking overnight, that another beauty of the religion brand vs the commercial one is that you can enter its “houses” whenever and wherever. You can enter a church or a mosque (excluding Mecca) with no questions asked, whatever your religion. Or at least that has been my experience. Try entering Chanel on Sloane Street in London or Burjouman in Dubai; try going in to Vuitton or Gucci in nearly any city and see what reception you get if you don’t fit the stereotype look. Will see what else I come up with tonight!!!! 🙂

    • September 29, 2010 at 22:06

      Mich, I love the way you detail an interesting perspective to subject. Just like all the other comments, you gave a very deep overview of our spirituality and how much “we” could harness the power of making religion – any religion – a wonderful place to be.

      My approach is “not” to turn a brand into a religion, but rather to tap into the power of the latter to inject emotional and spiritual assets into some eligible brands, thus turning them into what I call religion-brands.

      Having said that, it is still quite interesting to notice how intricate religions are and yet, how they managed to reach totally sub-sophisticated audiences. This is another aspect I am probing to turn brands into easy-to understand ones while keeping them as sophisticated as they should be. In other terms, a brand would not have to create a product “easy” enough for its audience to grasp (having to remove from it important assets), but rather to emulate religions in bringing the audience to adopt it.

      I will eventually publish more of my research which has been done. I preferred not to do so until I probe you guys, my inspiration! 🙂

      I hope all who commented wonderfully, read this so I don’t have to repeat it to each and everyone… Yes, I am kinda lazy!

      Thanks again

  7. June 13, 2014 at 15:28

    Hello, I log on to your blogs regularly. Your humoristic
    style is witty, keep up the good work!


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