BRANDING AND CHURCH PERFORMANCE (A CASE STUDY OF THE COVENANT NATION, IGANMU CENTRE
1.1 Background to the Study
Over the time, Nigerian society has never been bereft of religious institutions. The application of branding was renowned right from the time of colonial rule when the colonial masters professed the new faith religion, forcing the traditional beliefs, gods and practices to give way. The new found faith has since been dominating the consciousness of the people in all their activities, politics and political appointments, businesses, marriages, school admissions, job employments, visas grants and other seemingly mundane things. Thus, religion remains the opium of the people. Nigeria is stated to have more than 250 ethnic tribes each with its very own languages in one of numerous language families. Divide religiously, about 50% of Nigeria's populace is Muslim, 40% is Christian and the rest sticks to indigenous beliefs (Agomuo, 2015).
There is expansion of religious organizations (churches) in the nation with each pursuing its mission goals with the service products they provide. No church can effectively attain its mission goals if it is not able to satisfy the target markets' (beneficiaries') requirements (Modi, 2011). Today the church as one of the not-profit organizations ( Anheier, 2005; Stanton, Etzel & Walker, 1991) currently run under extreme market pressure because of increase in their members, thus contending to reaching and keeping their target markets that include the sponsors, volunteers, donors, adherents and members, and so on.; so it is anticipated they ought to embrace a market- oriented method to their operations ( service delivery) like for-profit organizations as indicated by Kotler (2000) and Sargeant and Bennett (2004).
Christian organisations and branding are not as a matter of fact at war, neither are they equally special. With the journey of evangelism and social obligation by the church, considerable changes have happened in administrative and management culture concerning its brand, which ought to be seen reflecting in the church's own practices. Branding is progressively considered a modern development that remains to improve an organisation's identity (Aaker 1996). The efficient performance of the church as an organisation depends not just on the available resources however likewise its brand as needed by the organisation from time to time. Reading the Acts of the Apostles, the church developed a brand of being Spirit-filled, communal-living and mission-minded (Act 2:42-47; 4:23-24, 32-37). It was out of this that very early believers in Antioch were called ‘Christians'. The name ‘Christian' for that reason ended up being a brand for believers and followers of Jesus Christ (Act 11:19-26).
The church is considered a cohesive organism, which learns to embrace or discover much far better methods of doing things basically in response to its environment. The question emerges regarding what truly the church ought to do to preserve or to optimise its situation in its environment? Should it concentrate on its financial situation, technology or brand? Lyon (2000:76) argues that faith brand building is an essential source of lasting advantage of the church due to an increasing rate of secularisation making a religious option connected to making a choice of supermarkets, cafeteria or ‘consumer items' that can be bought.
God identified the Israelites as a distinct brand in a foreign land; because of this one would certainly anticipate that the idea of branding would certainly be a significant tool for contemporary churches. On the other hand, church branding was pushed far from the centre stage of theological discourse, and it is considered threatening and weakening the Christian's commitment to God and religious beliefs. It is presumed that worshipping the Supreme God does not depend upon brand personality, brand democracy, brand affinity, brand name or logo. Nevertheless, everything is such a solid force that barely anything goes unbranded.
The argument of theologians has been on how do you integrate the worldly or profane with that which is spiritual or divine? In words of Wells (1994) to make use of branding in the church would certainly imply that the church "be branded as an organisation instead of an organism, as a place to meet people instead of a place where one meets God, on terms that he establishes, as a product for consumption instead of an authority requiring pertinence and surrender". Wrenn (1994) provided the six significant objections of religious marketing as follows. That religious marketing is wasteful manipulative, opposes the spirit of leadership, stripes the spiritual importance of religion, advantageous just if one has a lot of money to spend, and at weird with scriptural views.
Although there are several literatures on branding from the viewpoints of marketing and management (Aaker 1996; Andrivet 2015; Kornberger 2010; Shadel 2014), there is no such academic research on church branding, thus, this study on branding and Church performance (a case study of The Covenant Nation, Iganmu Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, the charismatic movement began in the early twentieth century with the emergence of new Pentecostalism. Today, churches use different methods to build a brand image for themselves which involves buying of air time on media stations like radio and television, sending of bulk text messages to reach out to members, having both WhatsApp and Telegram groups to communicate with members and so on. In spite of the benefits of branding, it seems that not all non-profit organizations know the best way to brand their services to the communities they are serving. However, in a profit making organization, brand is identified as a source of revenue generation, but in the case of churches brand may mean using a name, slogan or symbol for recognition and easy identification with a particular religious body among many diverse and similar religious body. The movement has now changed significantly; churches now use brand not only as name or symbol for members to identify their churches from other churches, but also to sell out their services like, my church is a place you can get a wife or husband to marry, get visa to travel abroad and even get employment with reputable organizations.
Although, branded churches make members to have a feeling of belongingness. Some members even use possessive nouns like my church, my pastor etc. People are not ashamed of Christ, however of their church. The brand produces a personality that the internal neighborhood takes pride in. They ended up being more influenced and more efficient at inviting others. In the long run, it is the church members that make the brand function. A church that wishes to brand its services ought to take a look at the setting where it operates and how the branding aspect may add high quality to the church members and significantly contribute to the overall performance of the church.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate branding and Church performance by using The Covernant Nation, Iganmu Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria as a case study. But to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;
i) To understand the relationship between branding and the purpose of the church
ii) To ascertain the correlation between church and service delivery and branding
iii) To examine the effect of marketing of church services on church performance
1.4 Research Questions
The following statements will be considered to be the research questions for this study:
i) What is the relationship between branding and the purpose of the church?
ii) What is the correlation between church and service delivery and branding?
iii) Is there any effect of marketing of church services on church performance?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
i) There is a significant relationship between branding and the purpose of the church
ii) There is no significant correlation between church and service delivery and branding
iii) There is a significant relationship between marketing of church services and church performance
1.6 Significance of the Study
The branding of church is very crucial in shaping the socio-cultural pattern of our life. From the day man was created and put in the Garden of Eden, he has code of conduct to abide by. The psychological life is also influenced by the church. In fact, the manifestation of the Church Services was discerned from the code of conduct, we regard this topic as relevant and useful. It is believed that at the completion of the study the findings will be useful to the church management in our contemporary society as the study will help in emphasizing the purpose of the church among other contemporaries. It will also help to provide additional insight to the problems and service as research experience upon which further policies could be guided for efficient and effective marketing of services. The study will no doubt help to guide prospective Pastors and preachers on their vocation. Lastly, the study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further research. It will as well be useful to student lecturer’s pastors and the general public as the study will contribute to the existing literature on the subject matter.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study covers branding and Church performance by using The Covenant Nation, Iganmu Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria. Therefore, the study will be limited to the Pastors and members of The Covenant Nation, Iganmu Centre, Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
In the course of carrying out this study, there were some factors that posed as a threat to the successful completion of this study but due to the carefulness of the researcher, they were later dealt with. The factors included:
Availability of Research Material: The research material available to the researcher was insufficient, thereby limiting the study
Time: The time frame allocated to the study did not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
Finance: the finances at the disposal of the researcher was very limited as such could not finance a broader scope of the study but in the end, the researcher was able to come up with a plan that made the completion of the project a success.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of carrying out this study;
Branding: it is a strategy designed by organisations to help consumers quickly identify their products or organisations and give them a reason to choose their products or organisations over other competitors.
Church: The Christian Church is an ecclesiological term generally used by Protestants to refer to the whole group of people belonging to Christianity throughout the history of Christianity
Church services: A church service (also called a service of worship, or simply a service) is a formalized period of communal worship in Christian tradition. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism
Performance: is the process of ensuring that a set of activities and outputs meets an organization's goals in an effective and efficient manner..