In America, brand perception is the reality. This is bad news for Southern Baptists, if a recent straw poll by LifeWay’s Thom Rainer is correct.
Last week, he sent out requests on his @ThomRainer twitter page with this simple question:
What do you think when you hear ‘Southern Baptist’?
Despite the informal approach, this may be a very useful piece of research. Every major business in America monitors their brand image on social media sites like Twitter. It has become an effective way to get feedback about your product and position in the marketplace.
None of this is lost on a sharp guy like Thom Rainer. His little Twitter poll speaks volumes. It shows us what people hear when we say Southern Baptist. The replies tell a story. Rainer writes:
Though I must be cautious in stating percentages, lest they be perceived as statistically accurate, the results were fascinating, if not a bit troubling. About 60% of the respondents gave a negative association. Another 30% were positive, and 10% were neutral or unclear.
He went on to list all the responses. Keep reading for the link. Here they are as a Wordle, click for full size.
Why does this matter? Bottom line, Twitter users are influencers. They are tech savvy, well education, and super connected. Social media has great power to reflect and move public opinion.
We could argue about these results. Is this a communication failure or a product defect? But that’s not the real story here.
We could rekindle the debate about our denomination name. Is it time to ditch the old Southern Baptist label? But that is not the real story here.
This is a chance to see ourselves through the eyes of others. At least in some measure, we are giving Jesus a bad name. It’s time for some healthy humiliation and repentance.
Read the full story here on Sam Rainer’s blog or share your thought below.