The kind of unspun Papal spin that couldn’t be spun by PR spinners

A piece from The Guardian today that caught my eye: journalist Jonathan Jones claims Pope Francis ‘has renovated a damaged brand not in years, but months’.

And how is this miracle being accomplished? Probably by not attempting to ‘renovate a damaged brand’.

In fact, the universal truth lying at the heart of this epiphanic repositioning of Catholicism appears to rest in the final sentence of the article: ‘Do and say what you believe.’

The idea that Pope Francis has ‘renovated the brand’ is a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps he’s simply revisiting the roots of the Christian movement and the source of its inspiration? After all, for those inclined to believe, wasn’t Jesus pretty consistent on the issue of leading by example?

So, while Francis appears to be making strides as far as perception of the Catholic church is concerned, renovation of the brand will require far more fundamental change.

In practice, it simply means applying the core principles of Jesus Christ’s teaching to the day-to-day work of the Catholic Church.

And that’s the tragic irony for the victims of the organised Church’s wilful blindness to abuse in the past: the idea of practicing what generations of clergy have preached has, only now, been acknowledged as critical to institutional Catholicism’s integrity and credibility – and the wellbeing of its flock.

Picture: Catholic Church of England and Wales | cc

The tweeter, the brand and the reputational minefield

Sooner or later, the consequences of a brand allowing an employee to tweet on their behalf – to the extent that the individual and the brand become interchangeable as brand symbols – was going to wind up in court action (‘Man sued for keeping company Twitter followers’, BBC News, 27 December 2011).

In the case of Noah Kravitz and his former employer Phonedog – an ‘interactive mobile news and reviews resource’ which claims 2.5 million unique visits to its site each month – the legal principle at stake is whether the followers of a Twitter account, accumulated while an individual was tweeting on behalf of a business, amount to a database of customers and prospective customers that may be considered the property of the company once they’ve left?

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