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You Are the Catholic Brand Posts

You Are the Catholic Brand Now Available for Pre-Order!

It’s official! You Are the Catholic Brand is available for pre-order from Liguori Publications!

Description

front coverIs there a brand you’re convinced everyone should try? What if that brand is the Catholic Church? How do you, as an individual or a parish, start evangelizing your Catholic faith with the same enthusiasm you let people know about your favorite car, restaurant, or clothing brand?

The most powerful marketing tool available to the Catholic Church is you and your faith—the dirt-under-your-fingernails, head-on-the-pillow-exhausted, self-dying, relentless kind of belief. You know your faith, you know your audience, and you personalize your message.

Matthew Kilmurry guides you on the path to becoming a brand evangelist for the Catholic faith, from crafting your personal faith mission statement to a personal inventory that helps you get to know your faith, and yourself. Using the tools in this book, you or your parish can become a brand evangelist—confidently sharing your faith and influencing others to love it as much as you do. Be converted anew—and go evangelize!

Endorsements

Matthew Kilmurry is a fresh and engaging new voice within the Catholic world. In his book, You Are the Catholic Brand, readers are afforded a penetrating look into Kilmurry’s marketing mind as he effectively enables you to share your love for Christ and his Church with a hungry world. This is a smartly conceived book that will certainly reshape the way people present their faith to the world.

-Kevin Wells, former sportswriter, speaker, and best-selling author of Burst: A Story of God’s Grace When Life Falls Apart

The Final Chapter

There is nothing more rewarding than sitting at the computer in the early morning with a cup of hot coffee and a computer screen showing the final chapter of my book. You Are the Catholic Brand is almost complete! Look for an update soon when it will be available.

  

Help me pick the best book cover!

I’m really excited about this. Liguori Publications is running a book cover contest. So far, designers have submitted 119 entries and Liguori Publications would love your feedback on the five best entries.

You can rate each book cover from 1-5 stars, five being the best rating. You can also leave feedback that will be helpful for the designers in the next round of edits.

What a great idea to create excitement around this important topic!

Credibility and the rise of celebrity endorsements

Why is it that so many brands use celebrities as spokespeople?  Through whatever has fueled their fame (acting, sporting achievements, etc.), they have already moved through the first barrier every mature person develops: skepticism.

Skeptical consumers are not new.  Wary of being sold “a bill of goods,” skepticism was personified in the great American Broadway hit, The Music Man.  The main plot centers on a traveling salesman who arrives in a small town, gains the trust of everyone there and then cashes in his credibility selling them something he doesn’t have (namely music lessons).  I remember, as a boy, playing the part of one of the town’s children.  My mother had volunteered the whole family to be part of the production.  If I remember correctly, I had one line, “Who, me?” that I stood and delivered during a scene where the Music Man was gaining his credibility by interacting with the children.  I remember thinking to myself that there was no way I would have fallen for this con man in real life.  The truth is, despite lessons portrayed in such stories as The Music Man, even when burned into the American psyche, we continue to fall for conmen and conwomen.  And the reason is credibility.

Celebrities make an interesting case study in credibility. When we have watched them play a character on a favorite show or movie or have experienced the highs and lows with them of championship play, we begin to feel like we actually, personally know them. We begin to draw the curtain of skepticism.

When a brand is doing mass marketing through television or radio they don’t have the luxury of using a Brand Evangelist in your social circle.  Perhaps someday technology will allow everyone to watch a Superbowl ad with each person seeing a different picture of a spokesperson.  Uncle Jimmy for me, perhaps cousin Susan for you.  Until then, marketers have to settle for Peyton Manning.

And Peyton is great.  We have seen him win, we have seen him lose, and we have made an emotional connection to one degree or another.  And the degree of the connection is directly associated to the degree to which we’ll make an irrational decision.

But there is a flaw, a kink in the system advertisers don’t want you to know.  There is no rational connection at all between a celebrity and a product/service (even if the celebrity has used it).  This is best characterized by the fall of Tiger Woods.  After his personal life was exposed a few major brands dropped him as a spokesperson.  Why?  Was it because it’s impossible to be both a sex addict and be a reasonable spokesman for cars or apparel?  No.  It’s because it snapped the illusion.  We really didn’t know Tiger Woods.  He wasn’t the person we each had made him out to be in our own individual minds.  It severed the emotional connection.  No connection.  No sales.

Be converted anew

Whether your conversion happened in a flash of lightning or a slow progression, it is time to be converted anew. Pope Francis compels all of us to do so in the opening of his first apostolic exhortation:

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.[1] The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!” (Paragraph 3, Evangelii Gaudium)

Conversion becomes the starting point but the momentum must not end there. In order to be effective Brand Evangelists, conversion must lead to something else very important: credibility.

Being a Brand Evangelist is in our nature

Sunblock has been the bane of the Kilmurry family vacation experience for as long as we’ve had kids. With six small children, we go through it like water on a hot beach. Inevitably, someone gets sunburned or they cry and wipe their eyes and then cry some more when it begins to sting. My wife, Shannon, finally took to the Internet in search of a solution. She came across an Australian sunblock called Blue Lizard. It was endorsed by a pediatrician (which is the same as a celebrity endorsement) so she gave it a try. It turned out to be everything it claimed to be. Several uses proved it only needed to be applied once and the stinging eyes were gone. Shannon converted from customer to Brand Evangelist. She would have done a commercial for free if she had been asked. She touted the awesomeness of this sunblock to any mom willing to listen on a hot, sunny day. She even converted a few of her friends, offering to make bulk orders to save on shipping. She became the type of customer every company dreams about. She is truly a Brand Evangelist. Heck, on any given sunny day, she might talk with greater ease and enthusiasm about this sunblock than her amazing experience with Jesus and His Church. How many of us can say that about something similar in our own lives? I know I can.

 

Positive experiences create an emotional connection

Several years ago I heard a radio ad for a men’s clothing store called Jos. A. Banks that was having a ‘buy one suit, get two free’ sale. I had just taken a job where I would need to wear a suit every day. It was perfect timing. I was skeptical, thinking it a marketing ploy. This sale was a classic example of a rational marketing message. They didn’t appeal to my emotions telling me how distinguished I would look or baiting me with the number of ladies I would score wearing their suits. They appealed directly to my pocket book.

I walked into Jos. A. Banks feeling rather sheepish. I thought for sure the employees would see me and think, “Oh great, another person only here because of the sale. When will this be over?” Instead, I found them very friendly. They took time to ask my suit wearing history and what my upcoming needs were. I told them I would be wearing suits five days a week and currently had none. One of the employees took me over to the rack and showed me suit and shirt options that could be mixed and matched to maximize my purchase so that three outfits could extend over five days. I was thrilled!

Unfortunately, it was just two months later when I bent over to pick up a piece of trash and a small piece of metal extruding from a window a/c unit ripped a strip of material on the upper part of my suit jacket sleeve. What horrible luck, I thought. The buy one, get two free sale was long gone and I had no idea if I could purchase jackets separately or not. Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps they have extra sleeves and could just sew on a new one, salvaging my bargain purchase.

I went back into Jos. A. Banks, this time feeling even more sheepish. Despite how crazy it sounded, I asked if there was a way they could replace just the arm. The employee looked skeptical, but said he would ask the tailor in the back room if my plea was possible. He took my coat, disappeared in the back, and shut the door. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how silly my request sounded. Five minutes later he returned. Only, instead of carrying bad news, he had a brand new suit in his hands. An entire suit! He hung it on the rack and smoothed it out as if preparing for me to take home.

“Do you have a dollar?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I mumbled, dumfounded.

“I’ll need it to put a transaction in the computer,” he said. Apparently every transaction had to be worth something.

It took me a moment to realize I was getting a completely new suit for merely one dollar, two whole months after my original purchase.

You see, like 99% of other businessmen wearing suits, I don’t really know the difference between the material, the cut or the stitching.  I only know three things about suits: how they feel, how they fit and the experience I had that day with the customer service rep.

It was an emotional experience that has made me a Jos. A. Banks customer forever.