Before you jump to conclusions and start calling this post a blasphemous one, let me tell you this write up is all about appreciating religions.
Religion is not a business (at least not for many people), but there are a lot of things that a business can learn from the ways religions have spread. Yes, the religions have been in place a bit longer that all the businesses, but this is exactly the reason why we should study them for building a sustainable brand.
Here are a few lessons, you can learn from the religions:
- Value- If you study every religion, it creates a lot of value for its followers. People from other religion may or may not agree. It sets a moral compass for them, energizes them with faith and gives them hope for the future. Most importantly, it becomes their identity.
- Globalization– Religions were the first brands that successfully globalized in a pre-tech and pre-mobility era. Your business now has access to every corner of this world if you are willing to venture out. Identify the geographic and business markets that will welcome your presence. Religions are based on the tribe principle- just reach out to the people who believe in what you do.
- Ambassadors not customers- There is a breed that is even more loyal than your most loyal customers- they are called ambassadors. They are staunch proponents of the philosophy which underlines your business.
- Story-telling- Study religions and you will realize that most of them have a database of stories rather than data-points. Data-points can be negated by new search, but stories can never be negated. You either believe in the story or not. Build a brand that has a lot of stories to tell.
- Make it uncomfortable for people to switch: When a person tries to change a religion, he or she faces a lot of resistance. Can your product/offering also make it difficult for customers to switch loyalty?
- Engagement and sense of belonging- Every religion has a few set of rituals that engage its followers. Make sure you develop a brand that keeps your customers engaged. Religions do that through festivals, your business can do it through community festivals.
- Market the idea to the leaders/decision makers- Sometime in our family, one of our fore-fathers chose a religion. And that religion became the default religion for the future generations. Always market your brand to the people who are decision makers and can generate a long-term business relationship for you.
All the brands can co-exist together, provided you have a plan in place. Just Market it like a ‘Religion’
#The author’s views are personal