Creativity has nothing to do with technology. It certainly has nothing to do with the type of tools you have to offer or even how many of your tools church clients are using today. No, creativity is what enables people to use your technology.
Creativity Puts No Requirements On The Pocketbook
The engineers and designers who come up with new technologies normally have a gift mix that leans more towards one lobe of the brain than the other. The left-brain crowd is looking for things that will make them creative: examples, resources, concepts, etc. Let me assure you that it’s coming in a few sentences.
The right-brain crowd has already completely blown past the opening paragraphs, skimming for keywords like “creative application” that trigger an interest.. What’s hilarious to the left brainers is that the right brainers just saw “creative application” as they were skimming and came to an immediate stop, only to not understand the conversation that’s being had about them. Don’t fret, I’ve got stuff for you too.
The Church World
In the church environment, we deal with skimpy budgets, tight deadlines (can you do this in the next 15 minutes before service?) and people who have absolutely no clue about what it takes to produce even a short video.
Want to know a secret? The average church attendee expects us to produce world-class stuff for them. Americans are the most spoiled society in the world. In fact, one of the things we’re most spoiled with is something we take for granted: TV. The 30-second commercials you’ll see at this year’s Super Bowl will cost millions. That’s just for the airtime, not including the cost of making them!
So how do local churches compete with that? The church will rarely, if ever compete with the production quality of the footage that Hollywood produces. But, they can use the same production values that Hollywood uses.
If I spend time story-boarding a shoot, I will know the timing of the events, the types of shots I’ll need and a good estimate of the time necessary to actually bring it all together. However, if I grab my video camera and boom mic, walk down the hall to the offices start shooting footage, I’ll be disappointed with the project.
We Need Training On Tools and Production
While the left-brainer is thinking through the logistics of manpower, time, scheduling conflicts and budget, the right-brainer is thinking about simplifying the story arc. Both lobes of the brain are on target; we have to plan our work and work our plan.
Church production staff are so busy doing (Sunday comes every seven days, you know) that they are missing out on consistent training, techniques and even better project workflow processes to expand their skill sets.
Manufacturers, rep firms and dealers: Teach us how to creatively use what we have and share with us how to better utilize and invest in technology over time.
For the most part, church staff have limited opportunities to make purchases. Budgets for churches are driven by three main components:
- Vision from church leadership (value — how important is investing in technology solutions)
- Content and frequency (application — what is required and what does it take to do it)
- Ability and quantity of media personnel (expertise — who can provide time, talent, and/or training)
The reality is that these three factors have more importance on the budget total than do attendance, membership, denomination, operating budgets, or location of a church.
Part of your training and pre-sales education is helping churches understand that there need to be at least five budget line items considered:
- Hardware upgrades/new hardware
- Software upgrades/new software
- Preventative and ongoing maintenance
- Personnel training (conferences and trade shows) and education
- People — outsourcing of contract labor for projects and special events
The left-brained person is considering the implications of this kind of change in how to present budgets and organize proposals while the right-brained person is wondering how to present needs versus wants in a culture that spreads spending out over a large number of ministries and departments. Once again, both are correct.
Sell Relational Value, Not Just Gear
When a church leader is presented with your brand, do they think only in terms of your name recognition or in terms of your brand’s value? The best brands offer the best service, too, which is why their client base is so loyal. Churches, staffed with lots of left-brained and right-brained people, are looking for someone who will invest in them as they invest in the technology.
In fact, it is likely that price is not the number one reason you’ve lost sales to some churches. In the same way that systems integrators tend to sell the brand rep who best serves them as salespeople, church production staff are looking for relationships, too. I’ve even seen this extend to the “box-sale,” where clients call into the 800 number but request a specific sales representative.
What churches need more from manufacturers are creative ways to leverage technology without being hit-up for yet another purchase. Investing in those who invested in your brand’s technology is a stinkin’ smart way to build brand loyalty and earn repeat business and referral business. This is because people are people are people, regardless of their place of employment, including churches.
Address both lobes of your audience’s brains. Present value. Educate and train. Invest in those who have invested in your brand’s technology. Creativity, including in your sales and marketing departments, has nothing to do with technology.
Which brands are the most creative in building a loyal fan/buyer base? Comment below.