In ministry, we tend to be a little nervous of learning from the marketplace - the very place the Father used to educate and empower Paul who wrote so much of the New Testament. I have been so amazed that God never fully funded Paul from churches or even rich believers. Why? Could it be that he needed to be in the very energy and vitality of the marketplace to learn from it, gaining even some of his vocabulary from it to communicate to so many cities, cultures and contexts.
I think it would be wonderfully humble of us to listen, observe and learn from those pioneering the marketplace - and if we are truly honest, are changing the world more than we are.
In this book Business Stripped Bare - Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, Branson has a chapter on Brand. Using different words, we are doing the same when we plant or replant our churches. We are defining our DNA, mission and community - our distinctives / lampstand, believing that is why we exist, what we are to do, how we are to do it. Here are some quotes from him:
- We offer our customers a Virgin experience, and we make sure this Virgin experience is a substantial one and consistent one, across all sectors of our business. pg 43
- You should focus on what you know. You should also focus on what gets you up in the morning. And for most people, that means you focus on one core business. pg 44
- You see, what gets me up in the morning is the customer, and the idea of giving the customer a good time. No other brand has become 'a way-of-life' brand the way Virgin has. And we achieved this, not by clinically deciding one day to become a 'way-of-life' brand but simply by following our appetites and the things we are curious about. pg 46
- Good brands reflect the histories of the time and the group of people that made them. They cannot be easily copied. pg 49
- A brand should reflect what you can do... Get the brand right from the start, by being honest with yourself about what you are offering. A brand will eventually date you, so I think you're better off intelligently evolving it as we have always done than tritely updating it. pg 49
- Remember a brand always means something and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to the customer. pg 50
- A brand [should not appeal to] any particular demographic but to an attitude of mind. pg 63
- The bonding power of the Virgin brand has permitted us to take the bold decision to give everyone the opportunity to be entrepreneurs in their own right. pg 86