Monday, March 22, 2010

    Reaching Out to Young Adults

    Last week, I went to a conference that focused on marketing and advertising. We spent some time learning about how to create a "brand" for your organization. Your brand is the public's perception and feeling about who you are. In terms of ministry, this is pretty interesting: How you do differentiate yourself from others? How do you create a vision that is authentic to you and represents the DNA of who you are? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you attract others? How do you share your story with others?

    One of the breakout sessions, focused on the "YAYA" culture: The Youth and Young Adult market for individuals ranging in ages from 18-24. According to MOJO Ad, a student organization that reaches out to this group, YAYA's:
    1. Use social networks
    2. Can read emotions
    3. Are always connected and multi-tasking
    4. Rely on friendships for credibility, not corporations
    5. Use traditional media in non-traditional ways
    6. Are willing to listen if listened to
    7. Like to fit in, but also pride themselves in customization
    8. Are dependently independent
    9. Believe success is doing what you love
    10. Care about brands that model social responsibility
    If you think about these top ten characteristics, where does the church fit in? What do you think?



    Justin Chase said...

    "... where does the church fit in? What do you think?"

    nowhere. Church is obsolete.

    Calling prospective church-goers a "market" seems more than a little revealing.

    Audrey said...

    wow jacob - i feel that justin just schooled you.

    i am struck by this entry by how much i find it all to be neither here nor there. i am so tired of rhetoric about reaching out to young adults that i am, perhaps, burnt out. but it seems to me that when you have to think that hard about how you reach to a group and who exactly TO reach out to, maybe it is not a call that you should be doing the reaching.

    this is coming from a person who used to(and still mostly does) consider herself a young adult. i know how different all of my peers are, so it seems like a reach to "target" us.

    this is also from someone who can't help but think young adults attract young adults and boomers attract boomers, etc etc etc.

    but when the holy spirit is involved, well - it is anyone's guess how to attract anyone to anything...

    just some thoughts as i unwind and catch up on my blogs.

    i figure since justin schooled you, i would challenge you too!



    Brian said...

    "Church is obsolete." That statement means little until I know what you mean by the word "church."

    At the risk of sounding cynical, if there's no point in trying to using "branding" to draw folks to church, then what in the world are all those advertising agencies doing pouring billions of dollars into commercials and why do we keep buying products we don't need?

    The church has been branding itself for years and marketing itself. The question many are asking is whether it's time to change the brand.

    KaGe said...

    I think the bigger question is what brand do we try and promote? It seems that the past few decades have been trying to brand our YAYA groups as "cool" to try and draw them in. But what if our brand was, "That group that feeds the poor." OR "They're the group of people that fight for social justice." What would happen if our brand isn't how cool we are, but rather a cause that is more interested in something other than ourselves?

    Brian said...

    KaGe - I agree. In fact, in my congregation, the young adults have zero interest in being the "cool" group or trying to make the church over into some version of pop culture. Their primary interests include vocation ("What is the right path for my life?") and justice ("How do we work towards a more peaceful and just world?).

    Bridgette Murphy Enterprises said...

    I think too often we follow the example of the world rather than leading by example. Jesus portrays the BEST marketing method in history; word of mouth.

    As far as brand is concerned, honestly, I would rather take the optimistic perspective and congratulate all those that are trying to come up with ways to reach out, rather than doing nothing at all. What does it mean to be a christian? To be Christ-like. Is that not our brand? If it is not, then what is and how can we translate that to the "YAYA" generation?

    If we look to the GREAT example, and use the creative ability that He has given us, we will come up with amazing new and innovative ways to reach out to the "YAYA" generation. They want to be reached out to, but times have changed as you have spoken about and we much be ahead and not behind watching on the sidelines. Great blog! Great discussion.

    Mr. King said...

    I get the whole "branding" concept. I don't know that everyone would feel comfortable calling it "branding", especially in a church. But in a sense, it is important to market your church, get the word out there. And if you create a feel, a message, recognizable visuals throughout the community, that will draw people in. People purchase products very often based on brand...for whatever reason, they trust the company. Church can be the same. People can choose a church based on their trust in the church, the atmosphere, social groups, or just a 'feeling' that they have when they are there. All a passive form of branding.