Saturday, 23 January 2010

Saturday morning.

Woke up with an appalling headache. Suspect it was caused by last night's Chinese takeaway. MSG always seems to do this to me, and we used a restaurant that didn't claim to be 'msg free' unlike our favourite one. Well, I can tick Chinese off the list of 'last meals' before the diet. Like many things you look forward to, it wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped. Plus I ate far too much and ended up feeling even more spherical than I did before eating. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

To spice the blog up. I'm going to drop in a few of my articles that have been recently published in our parish mag (where I seem to be a regular contributor), the local NCT mag and elsewhere. Here's the latest piece from Marksman on branding. Feel free to ignore the bit at the end about Christianity if it doesn't float your boat - it's a parish mag so I have to weave God in there somewhere!

Time for a rebrand?

There is, unsurprisingly, no definitive answer to the question of how many brands are we exposed to in an average day.  Some ‘experts’ say it is a few hundred while others assert it is closer to 5,500!  If we look around us, it’s not hard to see how the numbers add up. Brands are everywhere, from the logo on our shoes to all the food in our fridges. We see them in our high streets, hospitals, schools and even our churches.

This truly is the age of the consumer. This year, no sooner had we finished our Christmas dinner than we were visiting the sales via our computers. When the shops flung open their doors on Boxing Day, record numbers of people charged in to pick up bargains. The majority of those shoppers chose brands they recognised, because the companies behind those brands had spent vast sums of money in advertising them.

The more good things we are told about a brand, the more likely we are to believe it. However, this has to be matched by our experience, which explains why some of the nations’ favourite high street stores remain Britain’s most trusted brands, while the utility companies and train operators languish at the bottom of the list!  Some companies forget this valuable lesson and try to fool their customers by changing the brand name. Who can forget Royal Mail’s short-lived name change to Consignia in 2001? Universally lampooned, the company went back to Royal Mail barely a year later

But what does all this have to do with us as Christians? I think it serves to remind us that in spite of the huge number of messages that we are bombarded with each day, inviting us to part with our money, we need to make time to focus on that still, small voice within us. For God doesn’t need a rebrand every few years: his message is consistent and timeless. It is a message for everyone, and it doesn’t need to be sold to us through expensive advertisements. 

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