Originally posted for Living Better 50 Magazine.
While driving home the other day, I saw a man walking toward his house with a pile of mail tucked under his arm. In his hands was an envelope he had hastily torn open to see what movie Netflix sent him.
At 60 mph I knew he was opening a Netflix envelope because Netflix has done such a good job in branding their product. That red envelope with its white border is all I needed to see to know what it was.
Branding is such a huge part of any marketing plan. To brand something in the business sense means, “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal .” –(businessdictionary.com)
Seeing that man on my drive home got me to thinking, how am I “branding” myself as a believer in Christ? I have been covered, branded, and marked by the forgiveness, mercy and grace of Christ but is that what people see when they look at me? For that matter, is it what they see when they look at you?
My stomach is sick and there is a pain in my heart as I type this because I am saddened by the stigma the word “Christian” has in our society. Let’s say God was a businessman. His children, the “Christians” as we like to call ourselves, are the product he is trying to market and brand. How well do you think we have hit the mark in creating a unique name and image for Christ? What image is being left in the minds and hearts of those who do not know God? If “branding” is a means to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers I think we have missed the mark. Christ is love. He is mercy and He is grace. That is the brand or the image we should be projecting yet many who call themselves “Christians” project hatred in their judgmental ways. Great branding attracts and retains loyal customers. I think we are falling short in that area. In many ways I think we are driving people from our churches rather than into them.
The term “Christian” has such a negative image these days. It is not the kind of branding I want to represent me. I want the mark of His love, His grace, and His mercy to be what people see. At 60 mph, I knew that man was opening a Netflix envelope and from a distance, I want people to see His joy in me. I want to be so well branded in the love of Christ that people will want to know more about what is inside of me. My prayer is that you will want the same thing. Companies spend big bucks getting the perfect branding to represent who they are and what they have to offer. Christ gave his life for us. It cost him everything and he has marked us with His love and forgiveness. We have been branded, because we are sealed in the forgiveness of His blood. That is what we need to be sharing with the world.
Before you slide into your name brand jeans, lace up your Nike shoes, grab your iPhone and your Starbucks coffee, clothe yourself in Christ because it’s the most important brand name you will ever wear.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (NLT)