Y’all. The coolest thing ever happened to me tonight.
First of all, to make any sense of this story, you need to know the following about me:
1. I love me some social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.)
2. I love me some Jesus
3. I love me some PR/Marketing/Communications
4. I want to do communications for a church or faith-based organization one day
5. I love me some Starbucks (I promise, this is relevant to the story)
So imagine you’re me, sitting on the couch while dinner cooks in the oven and just before you’re heading to church for the volleyball tournament. What do you do? Check Twitter on your iPhone, duh, because you are a super geek. Well, what do I find going on on the Twitters at that EXACT moment? A tweet-up convo about church marketing! Get out, right?! It totally happened.
So I decided to just to listen in (for those of you familiar with this technique, I was creepin’). But then I couldn’t keep my big fat fingers quiet any more – I had to participate! Church communications is what I am passionate about, y’all! So, without going into a huge amount of detail, I basically mentioned the idea of creating a church “experience,” similar to the way Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks – told you that part was relevant) works to create the Starbucks experience. Everything from the counter tops down to the feel and smell of the napkins at Starbucks is INTENTIONAL. They want you to feel a certain way at Starbucks – a way you can’t feel anywhere else (and I’d say they’ve done a darn good job of it). Starbucks also wants to be “your third place.” Besides work and home, they want Starbucks to be the place you hang out, want to be or enjoy being above other places.
I think both of these things are highly applicable and parallel to church marketing. Church isn’t about a routine where you show up on Sunday, sing a few songs, listen to a guy in a suit talk AT you for 30 minutes, write a check and leave. It should be an EXPERIENCE. And churches should be set up, governed and marketed as if they were “your third place” – fostering that environment will make people WANT to be there – and that’s where it all starts.
Long story short (or I suppose it isn’t that short now), I ended up connecting with @Stevefogg all the way over in Melbourne, Australia, who found my 140 character ideas interesting. Crazy, huh? THIS is why I love social media – it connects people who would have otherwise never met and allows them to share insights and ideas, ask questions and provide knowledge to one another. Seriously – this #cmsucks chat (church marketing sucks), was one of the coolest thing I have been a part of!