Keeping Your Ministry Brand Top of Mind: A Lesson from Disney

Though it was founded in 2006 (which makes it older than Twitter), BuzzFeed stormed onto the social media scene in 2012, more than doubling its 2011 traffic (per Alexa).

The format is perfect for the way audiences consume and share media today. The content is easy to consume, relevant, entertaining and frequent, as the site posts dozens of times a day. Brands like HBO and Velveeta have even joined in, co-creating content with BuzzFeed. It’s a publishing model that requires lots of staffers and community contributors to keep the content fire hose pumping.

So it was quite a surprise to see that Disney has launched its own BuzzFeed-like site. Entitled “Oh My Disney” (OMD), the site features articles with Disney imagery, GIFs and other short-form Disney-related editorial built specifically to be easily consumed, enjoyed and quickly shared. Posts like “15 More Reminders That You’re Great Today” and “You Know You’re a 90′s Kid When” are organized into five categories: Awww; Oh, Snap!; Retro; Silly; and Whoa.

The page is updated quite consistently, anywhere from two to eight times a day (even if the content isn’t necessarily timely). So how is Disney doing it?

A HISTORY OF SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS

If any brand were going to dive headfirst into publishing, Disney might be the one best suited to it. Far and away its largest and most successful platform is Facebook, where the Disney page boasts more than 42 million fans. The pages for Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Studios aren’t shabby either, having 12.5 million fans and 6.4 million fans, respectively, and the OMD Facebook page has 11,000 fans after only a few weeks of existence. Oh My Disney is also on Twitter and Tumblr.

So the foundation is there for Disney to create its own publishing channel, where a post can expand beyond the confines of a 140-character tweet or a single-image Facebook post. But what makes this possible for Disney, and difficult (though not impossible) for most other brands, lies much deeper than social media.

A HISTORY OF STORYTELLING

Having movies and characters at its core and countless physical and digital extensions, Disney has endeared itself to many through its heartfelt storytelling. Disney has a wealth of original and beloved content and characters with messages that are relevant no matter what decade you were born in. Parents watch Disney films with their children, just as they watched them with their parents when they were their children’s age. All this content gives Disney vast amounts of ammunition for OMD. They’re not creating new content as much as curating existing content.

This inherent storytelling is what makes social media and content marketing such a fruitful endeavor for entertainment-based brands. Imagery and quotations resonate with audiences forever. I still crack a smile every time the Forrest Gump Facebook page posts an update, referring to a movie that was made nearly 20 years ago (has it really been that long?).

FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE AND DELIVERING CONTENT

Another reason OMD can work for Disney is that the brand has done a great job of finding its audience. There is certainly no shortage of social media channels, but Disney carefully chooses where it will publish content and plans appropriately. Disney isn’t just creating articles on OMD and cross-posting to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. Disney creates content specifically for each channel. Granted, the content is often very similar (photo and GIF heavy), but that creates familiarity and a unified social media voice. The key is that Disney finds its audience on the appropriate channels and uses those channels to create instead of solely promoting.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUR BRAND?

As a content agency, we’re obviously big fans of creating an owned channel, like OMD. But we warn brands about biting off more than they can chew. Disney has made such a commitment to content that it’s dedicated a team (albeit small) to OMD, and that’s really the only way to pull off a channel like this.

But that doesn’t mean that brands should ignore the trail Disney has blazed. Like the first brands to create custom-published magazines, Disney has decided to move beyond native advertising and own its content channels. Even though it is an established brand that’s been around for decades, Disney remains at the forefront of brand storytelling.

It’s a bold move. Do you think this will pan out for Disney? Will more brands follow?

Read more from Jon here.

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jon Thomas

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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The Power of One Word: Can You Describe Your Church in One Word?

“The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in a person’s mind.”

A church will be in better position to grow if it can find a way to own a word in the minds of people within the community. I’m not talking about a complicated word or a word that must be invented. I’m talking about a word we’ve all heard before; a word taken right out of the dictionary.

When people hear the name of your church in the street, this one word is what they will immediately think. It’s what they associate with you.

Here are some examples:

  • If you hear the word “computer”, you think IBM
  • If you hear the word “phone”, you think iPhone or Apple
  • If you hear the word “copier”, you think Xerox
  • If you hear the word “chocolate”, you think Hershey’s
  • If you hear the word “cola”, you think Coke

 

The most effective words are simple and benefit-oriented. You can’t use another church’s word (at least not in the same community). You can’t steal and borrow. This one word is all about you. This is the word you want burnt inside the minds of people in your community. You can’t abandon your word in search of a word owned by others. You have to own this word.

Here’s the real kicker: If you don’t find your one word that describes your church, the people in your church and community are going to create that word for you.

The key to finding your word (and marketing in general really) is narrowing your focus. There’s no way that your church stands for everything. You can’t stand for every injustice, every ministry and every opportunity. If you’re chasing everything, you don’t really stand for anything. So it’s huge to find this one word you want people to use to describe you.

Three steps to finding and activating your church’s “one word”:

#1  Identify. It’s crucial that it starts internally. You don’t want external factors determining your one word. Your one word is sitting inside the hearts and minds of the leaders within your church and members. Collectively and internally, you have to spend time reflecting on what is the one word you feel comfortable attaching to your church.

Here’s an exercise: Get a huge white board and a room full of 5-7 hand-selected leaders who understand your culture and history. Ask each person to get up and write three separate words on the whiteboard they think accurately describe the church and what the external community perceives of the church. After everyone has written their three words, each person will go up and select which one word they think most accurately describes the church. See which word receives the most votes, and if there’s cohesion amongst the team about the one word.

#2  Test. Now you want to test your one word externally. Go into your community and find out if your word accurately communicates your church in the minds of people who are not involved with your church. You want to find people who know the name of your church, but are not members of your congregation.

Here’s an exercise: Send several of your staff members out on a busy Saturday to the mall or a heavily trafficked area like a park. Simply walk up to people and ask, “Have you ever heard of X church? If they say yes, then ask them politely: “What one word would you use to describe this church?” Collect this data and come back and look at it as a team. You want to test externally, but you also want to test internally with people outside your team (congregation members) on a Sunday morning. Pull people aside asking them the same question, gathering the same data.

#3  Communicate. Once you find and commit to your one word, make sure that you consistently communicate it. Any time you communicate internally or externally, this one word should be used in your communication in some way, form or fashion. On top of using this word in the right context and the right communication channels, you can use images, video and design as ways to supports your one word.

Now that you’ve identified your one word, you’ve tested it with the public and your church audience, and you’re consistently communicating this message, it’s important to protect your one word – especially if it’s positive (if it’s negative than you have to go back to the drawing board). Say, for example, your one word is “radical”. You want to make sure every action your ministry takes and every communication reflects “radical”. It all starts internally. This one word is a word that defines your culture, so you are ultimately protecting your culture.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Peters

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.