Manufacturers love to hear these words: “Whenever I see [nsert-brand-name-here] on my equipment, I feel confident about our production.” This is a powerful endorsement from an end-user that is hot marketing copy for creating brand loyalty ads.
But how often do you see the opposite happen? “Whenever we see [insert-church-tech-director-here] using our gear, we feel confident about our brand’s image.”
The difference is striking, isn’t it? And that’s exactly what churches are desperate for — a brand that will support them, not the other way around.
Yes, there have been a few scattered ads I’ve seen over the years of a church tech guy or gal standing, arms crossed, in front of a rack of equipment, a new console or maybe inside the tech booth overlooking the platform below. The message is pretty much the same: “We chose brand X because it blah, blah, blah.” Yeah, OK, maybe that matters to a few churches out there that want whatever big-name-church-Y has. Most, however, are more interested in solutions that fit them in their own venues, in their own context.
Yes, brand loyalty is desired and should likely be a goal for some percentage of your client base in the church market. Yes, churches do pay attention to which brands they see used the most by churches they admire and/or know. And, yes, there is some benefit of having a noted church leader/worship singer/tech arts guru stand in front of your products and extoll the praises of your brand. What I’m getting at, however, is that this celebrity-culture focus is quite limited when it comes to making actual purchases. Chances are, a real fan of your products won’t ever make the cover of the trade magazine, but will stand in front of your gear in their church week in and week out, forming opinions from their experience — and your brand may or may not achieve the much desired ‘brand loyalty’ status.
The Never-Ending Training Story
Are you doing everything you can to help church clients use your equipment with greater confidence and increased effectiveness up to, during and after the sale? If your answer is “well, that’s up to the church,” you’re only partially correct. How is your firm, whether you’re the manufacturer or the sales/integrator company, removing barriers to make it incredibly easy for these users to continually learn how to make the most out of the technology you’ve provided to them?
I vividly recall the first time, years ago, when I first saw a stage hand demonstrating the proper “over and under” technique for wrapping a cord. I laughed because it seemed so elementary, but then quickly realized the genius of it: I, too, had to learn that at one point early in my career. I actually found that old clip and have posted it below to demonstrate how simple and effective training can be made for users.
Ask your support team, install techs and project managers how often they’re teaching the same thing over and over again with each new client. The training will be different to an extent, but there’s a library of training content that can be repurposed for multiple venues and even multiple vertical markets. Providing value after the sale is always important, so how is your firm doing that (both free and paid)?
Contracts and Promises
How many church clients can you point to not only as a good venue for your technology, but also highlight their operator/tech director as someone who represents the use of your technology — and your brand — as a shining example? For a number of reasons, I can say with a high level of confidence that many of the readers here would be hard pressed to list more than a single handful — if that.
As stated above, continuing education and training are practical and fairly easy to produce components for ensuring your technology is properly and effectively utilized. Further, providing contract staff to help either get churches up-to-speed or outright hiring contract talent to do the live production work for a church are viable options (as I’ve written about in this previous article).
What these buyers and end users want, though, is more than a limited warranty and a pat on the back after a brief hands-on training; they’re wanting (and needing) you to value and develop them as artists and technicians. They need your massive expertise and best practices to not only lower learning curves, but to flatten out the obstacles on their path to professionalism.
I’ve long talked about the trifecta of seamlessly bringing together the manufacturer, dealer/integrator and the church end users. This is not a top-down model of manufacturer to dealer to end user, but a cord of three strands that binds together for effective training, feedback and support.
What the house of worship market is begging for is this: a brand that stands in front of a church and says “we stand behind the technology in this church, and we also stand at the front line, ensuring their staff have everything they need.”
In what ways is your brand standing behind your church clients?