I’ve had some fun customer experiences and some difficult ones, but none as complex or contentious as being the agency chosen – 5 weeks before launch date – to engage in the Jesus. All About Life campaign. A campaign, that for the first time, uses modern media eg TV ads, outdoor ads and social media with the aim to initiate conversation about Jesus, the person. Some of you might have seen the advertisements promoting Jesus and www.allaboutlife.com.au that have sprung up around Sydney and NSW this last week. Many of my customers have noticed them.
As the company tasked with organising comms around the campaign, I think we have, by now, heard every argument for and against, every endorsement, every attack, every opinion, all the reasons the campaign will work and all the reasons why it won’t. It is rare in the world of PR and marketing that a team gets to work on a campaign that inspires such vigorous debate, interest and contention. The campaign and the experience has taught us a number of things – how to unite in the face of our differences, how to work best as a team when we thought we were pretty good already, and how to keep going when the going gets tough. Oh and how to laugh when in doubt! Throw faith and passion into the pot – in terms of what we believe are good comms strategies, and passion for doing good work and you have a potent mix. This campaign has taught and is still teaching us many things.
When I told my business advisors we had started work with the Bible Society to publicise the Jesus. All About Life campaign, they made me laugh. They said people had been trying to promote Jesus for 2000 years and how did I think I was going to make a difference? Which brings me to perhaps the most interesting element of this campaign from a business and marketing perspective – how do you promote a 2000 year old intangible? A guy that died 2000 years ago! We can’t see him, I can’t present him for interview, I can’t media train him and arguably I have no real proof of his existence. How do you go about promoting a ‘product’ that inspires such definite opinions, heated arguments and sometimes ridicule? Where do you begin, when there is no compelling event or launch or product and the opportunity to offend someone stands on every corner.
We decided that the best way to approach this was by looking at what we did have, rather than what we didn’t – a good place to start. Just as in business, it is the norm to establish the key selling points of your proposition or to define your offer up front, i.e. what will people be most interested in. Define the interests of your stakeholder or target groups and establish how your offering relates to those interests. Then communication is fairly straight forward. We chose the Christian media and the marketing media to kick off our campaign. We then moved to an issues and research based communications strategy. If we can get results on an arguably invisible, 2000 yr old intangible – I reckon you have every chance of making history with your next promotion! Take heart.
Top Tip: Even faced with the most intangible proposition, you must find the unique selling point of your product/service or offering. Start by asking your customers what impact it will have on them.