The Faith & Leadership portal has a fascinating Q&A with a marketing professor who has been studying the interaction of brand-name consumer products and religion.
It turns out that when you get people thinking about religion, they become less likely to choose brand-name products.
It also turns out that if you get people thinking about their favorite brands, their religious impulses and even beliefs are negatively impacted. Perhaps putting a Starbucks in the lobby is a bad idea.
For eons, organized religion has provided a sense of community, has provided a way to say who we are to others, has provided a source of meaning in the world.
Brands, as they have evolved, have just moved into that exact same space with those exact same functions. So if that need is getting fulfilled through brands, it means that we don’t need religion nearly as much to do so.
As a function of that, people don’t think it’s as important to go to services, and it even reduces their belief that there is a higher power looking over us.
As I read it, I think of the ancient Christian caution about being too attached to this world.