December 14, 2008

Ambient Intimacy: The Opportunity of Social Networking

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I entered the world of social networking somewhat reluctantly about a year ago.  At the time, Church Unique was set to release in four months; initial encouragement from the publisher and best practice from other authors pushed me over the edge.  Immediately I started using facebook and was turned off by myspace (after getting spammed to death). Not long after I heard of twitter, but I was not anxious to bring the complexity of another tool into my world.  Several weeks ago that changed.  The final straw for me was the the two words "Ambient Intimacy."  This idea reinterpreted my observations and some initial conclusions about social networking.  The term was introduced by this New York Times article. (free login required) or Download I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You. Another article that I enjoyed is this one in Business Week on CEOs who twitter. 

Last week at our semi-annual Auxano gathering, I asked everyone to sign-up for twitter and to use it once daily. Members of my extended family are signing up each day. 

Clearly this is an opportunity for Christ-followers to utilize, experiment, and adapt these powerful tools for the purposes of Jesus in the world.  Twitter: willmancini 
December 9, 2008

Welcome to Your Journey: Slogan or Story? Part 3

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When Gateway Community Church relocated and changed their name, they worked with Auxano to clarify their vision and to build a compelling brand. After their Vision Frame was developed,  the team collaborated to determine a brand promise of "Authentic Excitement." This promise reflected the strength of their collective soul, and the pattern of how God used them to effect lives with the gospel. The question then became, how do we reflect this promise in all of the church communications.  After hours of tagline brainstorming and weeks of reflection, the team developed the idea of "Welcome to Your Journey."  This phrase not only captures the essence of the brand promise, but sets the stage for real life stories, like the teasers in the top right of this "buzz-site" (a landing page used for guests, with the tagline as the URL put to use in external marketing.) Watch the stories rotate through. 

December 7, 2008

Live for a Change: Slogan or Story? Part 2

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In reflecting on yesterday's post, several great church marketing campaigns come to mind.  One is Sugar Creek Baptist Church's "Live for a Change" initiative. When Auxano navigated the Vision Pathway with this church, they also contracted with us to build their brand, including logo, graphic identity, ministry sub-brands and messaging. The roll out included actual life testimonies of their people that were two sentences long with the exclamation point of "Live for a Change" They even put these testimonies on outdoor billboards (as part of an external ad blitz) in addition to saturating their internal media.  Here are a few snippets and a link to some of the stories. Notice the consistent photographic styling and use of the logo as a"bug" to reinforce the brand in these raw and intriguing banners. 

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December 6, 2008

Slogan or Story?

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We spend a great deal of time helping churches build their brand as we communicate vision visually. One part of the brand is a tagline- a short phrase that communicates the promise or strength of the church and its vision. When this is done well, it can be an important part of the church's vision, messaging and marketing.  When it is done poorly it degrades into something flimsy and ineffective.  Here is a great article on how cheesy slogans fail to deliver and how we must position our message within the construct of a meaningful story.  From the current Fast Company: Kill the Slogans Dead. This is an adaptation of the Anti-Slogan Argument in the book, Made to Stick, by Dan and Chip Heath. 

So…what's the worst church slogan you have ever heard? 
November 28, 2008


I had a moment that transcended the turkey, pilgrims and pumpkin pie this thanksgiving.  It was a moment of looking my children eyeball to eyeball and sensing a mutual gratitude for gift of each other.  In the interchange, Joel, my twelve year old, shared something he had learned- that this Thanksgiving should be about "Thanks-Living." We all laughed and leaned into this clever letter switching!  The new word carries with it the idea of tranforming an event into a way of life, a moment's celebration into a daily continuation. 

No doubt this new word will find its way into our family lexicon.

Just like there are special moments- literal seconds- that seem to hold more significance, maybe a sense of the eternal in time, there are a special words that do the same. One word, out of and endless possibility of sounds, words and phrases that clutter our lives each day, may break through with special meaning and shared value. 

Thanksliving.  May it be so.