Last night I made a trip to a new Barnes and Noble that just opened up. As we drove up I told my friend, "It's like walking into the Coliseum," it was so big. The cashier I talked to said it's the biggest in Illinois. I'll say.
I intended to be in-and-out, but who was I kidding? It's a bookstore. At a table labeled "Thought Provoking," I picked up a book called Buyology. Groan, sure, but I'd say it's a pretty good title. The premise was the author used brain scan analysis to bring some understanding to consumer behavior.
Just before I put Buyology back on the table, chapter 6's subtitle caught my attention: "Faith, Religion, and Brands." Now I don't care much about consumer behavior, but I do have my opinions on church, religion, and marketing. I know, I'm very discreet about it. You would never know.
So I sat down and skimmed chapter 6. The author's argument was that religions and brands have a lot in common. I think his point was to show how strong, smashable brands can establish consumer loyalty almost religious-like fervor. He recalled a Steve Jobs product unveiling he witnessed that had characteristics of a religious gathering. For a brand, this is sort of brand loyalty is a good thing. It makes money.
He built his argument around some pillars, which he argued were true of both religions and brands. I think these are pretty self-evident, so I'll just list them without expanding too much.
A sense of belonging
A clear vision
Intent to exert power over enemies
A sense of grandeur/wonder
Unlike most of my posts, I don't have my opinion settled about this. I'm wondering what you think. Do you think the connections are valid? Do these similarities diminish the validity of religion or faith? If there are so many similarities between religions and brands, what distinguishes religion from brands? What does religion offer that brands don't (or can't), if anything? If there are no distinguishing marks for religion, what value is it?
I'm interested to hear your thoughts.