Marketing lessons we can learn from the Pope

Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia this week, and it is literally—as they say here in Philly—UUGE. The Pontiff’s arrival has occasioned road closings, business closings, people coming into town, people leaving town, and public transportation challenges heretofore unseen in the City of Brotherly Love.

As we await the ruckus, we can’t help but muse on the fact that this man is a rock star. Whether you’re one of the faithful or not, you have to admit that the man is everywhere. He’s on the cover of at least a dozen periodicals, and has inspired such attention as to dwarf that of the concurrent 2016 Presidential circus.

And why is that? Well, from a marketing perspective, he’s been on point. Not that he’s tried to market himself (as far as we know for certain).  But he has managed to get his word out, attract attention, generate awareness, foment curiosity, and even convert a few competitive customers.

So—with all respect—we submit our Top Five Lessons we can derive from the Holy Father himself that can be extrapolated to our own businesses:

  1. Have a clear message. Even in a foreign tongue (Spanish? Portuguese? Italian?), Francis is precise and concise. His words are powerful, pointed and designed to cut through the clutter of a crowded media. His content is stunning, and this has helped us listen.
  2. Be surprising. Again—a content and messaging thing. He has shocked many with his positions on many controversial subjects, and this has helped garner attention. We continue to listen, because it’s not the typical content we expect.
  3. Stay positive. Instead of being AGAINST various things, the Pope has focused his announcements and positions as being FOR. This is a brilliant strategy that creates an aura of lightness around his “brand.”
  4. Be timely. He’s managed to make the ancient role modern in these difficult times by taking on the issues of the day. Instead of old-school positions, he is addressing head-on the topical headlines in our current world.
  5. Show the love. Customers and prospects need to know they’re appreciated.  Francis is expert at showing affectionate leadership, whether it’s the open smile, the hug, the personal touch points. He seems almost familiar, like a family member or friend.  Just the effect brands aspire to.

Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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