I received this email from the Ford Motor Company’s social media team. Some might see a corporate logo and automatically delete it as marketing. And, of course, it is marketing.
But where Ford wins – at marketing, at PR, at social media – is making their brand part of your story. They want you to feel connected to the larger “Ford community” without ever directly saying so. They don’t need to; the use of second person says it all. Your destiny. Your memories. They assume by your Ford ownership, their brand is part of you.
From the first line:
“If you’re like us, you get it.”
They are saying: You can relate to us. There’s something special about you that makes you part of the club because you have a Ford.
Now, (digitally) wear the badge with pride, enforcing that identity.
It’s evangelism. They are doing what the Church of Ford (if there was such thing) would do. They are encouraging:
- Connection – Introducing fellow Ford owners
- Community – Making them feel like they have something in common (their cars)
- Testimony – Exchanging stories of how Ford has changed their lives
- Identity – Making the Ford brand part of their own personal brand, with the badge to show the world
The end goal is customer loyalty. Devotion that leads to brand evangelism.
Those four steps above also apply to Gospel evangelism as well. If our end goal is to make disciple-makers for the kingdom of God, we have to start with connection. Help people to see that we are like them. That they are wanted as part of something larger than themselves.
Next, we help them plug into community. Find people they can live life with. Find people who can relate to what they struggle with and who delight in what they delight in.
Eventually this community gets to know each other. We want to know each other’s stories, and instead of talking about how great and special our Ford cars are, these testimonies focus on how great and special our God is. What He has done in our lives and how we see Him at work.
Finally, identity is the key to moving beyond a cool Ford/God club and into real evangelism. People will find a way to express who they believe that they are. Particularly young, digitally savvy Americans. If they are convinced that they are loved by God and belong to Him, that’s the identity that they will seek to reflect and share with others.
Of course, they will encounter roadblocks and potholes along the way (literally if we are still talking about cars). Evangelism starts with the heart but certainly doesn’t end there. What keeps it all moving forward is that these four components are constantly interacting. Why else would Ford contact someone who bought their car ten years ago? They want to ensure that identity and sense of community is just as strong now, and that their customers’ growing story is still influencing other car-seekers.
It’s no different for the Church. Discipleship and evangelism go hand-in-hand as we walk out our faith.
Over to you:
How are you forming connections?
How are you building community?
How do you encourage testimony-sharing?
How do you reinforce identity in Christ?
Leave a comment to share your story with people like you here in this connected MORF community! (See what I did there?)
p.s. If you are looking for cars, I love mine! Let me tell you about it sometime…