Google, Apple and the Church

November 27, 2004 by

According to Advertising Age, Google is looking for an ad agency in what would most likely be a multi-million dollar account. Google has never had an ad agency before, relying almost entirely on word of mouth.

Apple, on the other hand, also relies on word of mouth, but has had an agency from the beginning. Their ads are legendary.

When it comes to the church, word of mouth is without a doubt the best form of advertising. Ask nearly anyone in your church why they came and chances are pretty good it is because they were invited by someone, not something.

Google has a host of incredible tools that people talk about to others.
Why would Google be looking to an agency to create advertising?

Apple has very cool products and gadgets that cause people to drool on others.
Why does Apple invest so much in its advertising each year?

Churches have the greatest story every told, definitely worth spreading to others.
Why don’t churches invest more in advertising?

Word of mouth is only good when the person who can spread the word remembers to say something. Advertising is one of the things that can initiate such an action.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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5 Responses to “Google, Apple and the Church”

  • Brian Baute
    November 29, 2004

    The reason word-of-mouth works for Google and Apple is because they have products that influential people want to talk about. I talk (and write) frequently about the Apple (iPod) and Google (web, image, shopping, news, and desktop search) products I use not because I make a conscious choice to evangelize for them — I don’t have to make a conscious choice to do it because it’s the natural overflowing of my excitement about the product. I do the same for Firefox too (like putting a plug for Firefox in this comment). Too often the church realizes it needs word of mouth and its strategy (if you can call it that) is to tell its members to talk with their friends about the church more (and maybe to print some invitation cards for people to use). Instead, the church should make its product (whatever that is — work in the community, sermons, small groups, Sunday services, etc.) something that their people will talk about as the natural overflowing of their excitement.

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  • Brad Abare
    November 29, 2004

    I couldn’t agree more. I guess my assumptions should not have been so quickly presumed or imposed. I appreciate your statement: “I don’t have to make a conscious choice to [tell others about ________] because it’s the natural overflowing of my excitement about the product.” Right on.
    My point from the entry was that advertising is a great spark of conversation and creates further bonds with a brand.

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  • Media Guerrilla
    November 29, 2004

    Google Seeking Ad Firm

    Advertising Age reports that Google’s considering departing from its all-in-house marketing approach and is in talks now with a few large general ad firms.

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  • djchuang
    December 1, 2004

    Great thought! I’m finding that both word-of-mouth and website (word-of-mouse) are increasingly the 2 top reasons people find a church. Advertising can be used to supplement that, particularly search engine optimization & placement!

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  • venny
    December 1, 2004

    Couple these ideas with the fact that it takes 85 church goers to reach just one new person for Christ. However, 82% of unchurched people would accept an invitation to church if we’d extend it… how’s that for a little motivation. It just makes me (a church branding consultant) even more motivated to help churches develop something that’s worthy of people sharing. All it takes is a spark.
    (In the credit where credit is due column: the figures above come from “Surprising Insights from the Unchruched,” Thom Rainer. Great book… pick it up.)

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