In most markets, where 10% pretax margins represent solid financial performance, a 5-20% brand pricing premium can generate nearly all of a company’s profitability! Successful brands build a major defense against price competition, enabling a company to either sell more at the prevailing price, or charge a premium price at a given volume.
As Christians, our brand management must align with our identity, meaning that it should be distinctive in its integrity, stewardship of God-given resources, and excellence in serving those we touch. We’re to transparently “walk in the light,” “ let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’” work with excellence “as unto the Lord,” and conduct business consistent with our stated vision and purpose as His ambassadors. In branding, it’s still true that what we do is greater than what we say. One C12 motto is, “Priorities are what we do. Everything else is just talk.”
Given that mindset, here are four ways Christian business owners and executives can damage their brand message.
You are starting the day all wrong. When you label yourself as a Christian CEO or business owner, you place a target on your back. Customers and the community you serve will watch carefully to see how you conduct business. Therefore, pointing people to Christ through our business should begin at the start of our day, not with a healthy breakfast, but with a healthy connection to the Lord. Check out the popular C12 blog post, “The Most Important Hour of the Day,” for more information on how to incorporate this into your daily routine.
You are living up to the Christian stereotype. Along with being being judgmental, maybe the number one charge against Christians is hypocrisy. During a typical day, we open our mouths to speak 700 times using between 7,000 - 30,000 words. While your company isn’t a person, it does have a voice. Whether through personal conversations, sales calls, or advertising, you are setting expectations and offering promises regarding your product or service. When your actions don’t back up your words, you are reinforcing the perception that Christians are hypocrites. When your actions back up your words, you build credibility, and your brand. Good brands are initially built by publicity and advertising, but ultimately maintained by actual performance.
You are hyper focused on profit margins. Too often, we leverage excellence as a pathway to greater profit margins, rather than just focusing on excellence itself. Colossians 3:23 tells us to work with excellence “as unto the Lord.” That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about our profit margins, however we mix up our priorities when profit becomes the main focus. Work as unto the Lord and let the profits be a by product of excellence in your work.
You are trying to fulfill your own vision. Your title may be CEO or business owner, but your true position as a Christian leader is Chief Steward. When we act on this truth, we are able to conduct business that is consistent with the stated vision and purpose He has given us as his ambassadors. When we do business the way He wants us to do business, and support the causes and ministries that He cares about, we build a brand that reflects the true owner.
A large part of any brand strategy is properly communicating your products and services. As you continue to build your brand, download our free Marketing Self-Assessment to determine your strenghts and opportunities in this area.