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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

185: MARKETING, PERSONAS, and SOCIAL MEDIA

To begin this post I wanted to share this quote by Hugh Nibley:

"An extremely important lesson [is] driven home repeatedly in the Book of Mormon,  that righteousness does not consist of being identified with this or that nation, party, church, or group.  When you find a particularly wicked society in the story, look back a few pages and you will probably find that not many years before those same people were counted righteous. Or, when you find a particular godless and ferocious lot of Lamanites, if you look a few pages ahead you may find them among the most blessed and favored of God's people." Hugh Nibley, The Prophetic Book of Mormon (1989), 337

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Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service. It is a critical business function for attracting customers. To better understand the "customers", surveys and focus testing are conducted as well as market segmentation analysis are performed. Personas are created, and vast amount of money is spent on advertising.

In the NEW YORK TIMES, it was reported that the Church hired two big-name advertising agencies Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints using focus groups and surveys.

 The Church has been spending a vast amount of time, money, and resources around the world to "market" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.. or affectionately called, the Mormons, including the creation of "personas". One of the goals of this particular marketing campaigns is to portray the members of the Church as normal, everyday people who are happy, successful and all have beautiful smiles.



Here is a news report of this marketing campaign happening in London, England. LINK TO VIDEO


The main purposes of marketing is to influence someone's decision. The best way to do this is through their emotions. My wife coined the term POPE.... (Playing On People's Emotions). Beautiful ads and videos are created which affect our thoughts and hopefully our actions.

Most are aware of billboards, television commercials, radios ads, and print advertising to influence others, but most are not aware that  "personas"  that are also used in marketing. Personas are fictional characters created with the purpose to generate positive comments and start a buzz about the product. These comments will give the real people impressions that this is something of value. However, it is an artificial means to create hype. It appears real, and a way to influence the public. It creates buzz as if it were spontaneous. Even though it makes the product look hot, hip... it is fake and phony. It dismisses bona fide real people. It manipulates by influencing the impressions/comments written by real people

The Church can use personas to generate reactions to new stories and other things to influence real people by the contrived comments/"reactions" of the personas.  For example, if you put up an announcement that for instance about the dedication of City Creek mall in the Deseret news, or for the continuing support of the Boy Scouts, and you have personas generating comments who made sure that the first comments are positive.. (those are the personas).. These comments by "personas" help influence others to what would otherwise be a negative responses.

Another way of marketing is using social media like Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other forms of online digital media.

I have always been somewhat leery of Facebook. I prefer that my children do not have a Facebook Account. Now that President Monson, as well as the other apostles have Facebook's accounts, it will be hard to discourage them from having an account.. I can just heard it now, "But Dad, our prophet has a Facebook account"

click on news article LINK

"First Presidency members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently launched their own Google+ pages. President Thomas S Monson, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf will soon have their own Facebook accounts."

In the World Wide Training Meeting held on Sunday, it looks like all the missionaries will now be able to have Facebook accounts as well.

 “As missionaries enter this new age where they will use computers in the work of the Lord, we invite the young and the old, the adults, the young adults, the youth, and the children everywhere to join with us in this exciting new work by becoming Facebook friends with the missionaries in your area on your own computers and sharing their gospel messages online and by becoming involved in missionary work yourselves,” Elder Perry said.

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10 comments:

  1. As a marketing professional, I, too, am concerned about the church's emphasis on marketing. Growing a church should be a process of attraction, not promotion.

    I have never seen, in all my reading of the standard works, even a single instance of where a worldly means (focus groups, social media) brought about a celestial result.

    With all due respect to our church's highest councils inviting my children to join Facebook, both my wife and I are of one heart and one mind: no way. I'm having a tough enough time helping to maintain their childlike innocence; I don't need those efforts decapitated.

    I doubt Christ intended for adults (let alone children) to engage in that which is popular in the world. Instead, He intended his followers to be at odds with the world, not of the world, out of the world, hated by the world (John 15:19, 17:14).

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    1. Oh come on people!

      It's very easy for me to see our Lord and savior standing in front of his disciples and and saying, "My dearly beloved, I'm so excited to announce this new and exciting program for my one and only true and living church. We are all going to join Face book and use the great technology of man to promote my Gospel. I can't tell you how proud I am of the committee that put this all together."

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  2. This doesn't feel honest, does it? I can understand the pressure that the leaders of the church feel to finish the work--

    and yet people seem impressed. Are there any negatives responses, I wonder--

    I don't think anyone in my family could be 'cool' enough or beautiful enough to be used, which is rather sad.

    We all have as strong a desire to share our testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon.

    Sometimes I worry, though, that it is not testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon that are wanted, but testimonies of the church--

    I don't know--

    this is very much outside the reality of my family. My family lives in a small home in the middle of nowhere (where there are few Mormons), and we spend a lot of time growing vegetables, going to uncool jobs (no professionals)--

    and have no cool church callings, though we all have callings.

    I guess they wouldn't want people like us--

    and yet we have powerful testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon--

    and some of us have served missions.

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  3. I'm going to add that our family has had a lot of trouble with face book--

    one of our family members had to cut his/her account due to negative experiences, and some of us have decided that we don't feel good about having it. We don't feel that it is a wholesome influence; even ward members and LDS family members who are involved in it tend to become involved with the superficial and with gossip and with contentious political arguments--

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  4. I'll never forget hearing President Spencer W. Kimball say that the missionary program was not the best option. He said, "if all the members of the church would simply live the gospel of Jesus Christ, the effect on the world would be electrifying; there would be no need to send missionaries into the world."

    Hmmm--

    I heard that in 1970.

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  5. I also have negative feelings about Facebook. I had an account because my children wanted me to use it to view photos of their families, etc, and I got VERY negative impressions about using it. I was more than a little concerned when Elder Perry included children in his advise for using Facebook. I can only guess that he doesn't have much experience with how the kids use social media.
    Dare I say it all sounds more like desperation than inspiration?

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  6. how do you know for sure they use personas? Can you confirm this somehow? Thanks for the article.

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  7. Two things... We can expect nothing less from a corporation who is trying to market a brand ("the Church"). It is only behaving the way it was created to behave: as a Sole Corporation, and as such, it will do what corps do. Even the hierarchal structure of the church resembles the corporate world. Our uniforms of white shirts and ties are certainly apropos. So there should be no surprise that polls and personas are used. The fruit matches perfectly with the structure.

    Secondly, I don't see why people have a problem with Facebook. I think it is a great way to keep up with and support friends, as well as to see neat ideas and cool stories. Sure it can be abused, just like the press was in Joseph's day. But you can filter most of the unwanted stuff. Frankly, I'd like to be FB friends with the author of this blog so I could share with some of the things that are going on in their life. There really is nothing to fear with it, IMO.

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  8. I know so many people who have deleted their Facebook account or never joined because the spirit prompted them to do so. How many of them are going to return because of this new push? Facebook can be a great tool. We had a very sick daughter and were able to use Facebook to keep friends and family informed easily of her progress and eventually her death. We felt strengthened by the many prayers we received. Any great tool of Satan combines a little good with the evil. We can justify the use of Facebook for missionaries all we want but it wont stop Satan from using it as a means to drag them down. If Facebook didn't do some good or serve some useful purpose would anyone join?

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  9. I too deleted mine a year or two ago and would say that I checked it regularly each day. Eliza, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. My wife is pregnant with our first. I have so much love for our daughter already who is still in her mother's tummy. I couldn't imagine losing her even at this point.

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