Research Shows Advertising Favorably Impacts Perceptions

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United Methodist Communications
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February 14, 2008

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Research Shows Advertising Favorably Impacts Perceptions

NASHVILLE, Tenn.:New research indicates that the "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors." advertising is proving to be effective in communicating key characteristics of The United Methodist Church.

"One of the challenges that denominations typically face is that people don't really know that much about them," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "The survey data gives us a snapshot of how others see us, and the indication is that the campaign has helped to reframe people's indistinct perceptions about the church into something more positive."

The study assessed ten different statements about The United Methodist Church that reflect the intended communications within the advertising messages developed for the campaign.More than 1,200 respondents from six test markets were interviewed by the Barna Research Group in order to better understand how the denomination is positioned among the target audience (adults ages 21-60 who do not attend a United Methodist church and are searching for something spiritually).

Among the findings:

  • 58 percent of respondents agreed that United Methodists care for and support each other, compared to 43 percent surveyed in 2002
  • 57 percent believed United Methodist accept you for who you are, up from 45 percent in 2002
  • 41 percent said United Methodist help you find deeper meaning and purpose in life, compared to only 26 percent in 2002
  • 51 percent said United Methodists help people facing personal difficulty, up from 38 percent in 2002

The survey showed that those exposed to the advertising campaign were much more likely to hold favorable views of The United Methodist Church than those who did not recall the advertising.

The campaign was started in 2001 with a threefold purpose:to increase awareness and recognition of The UnitedMethodistChurch's basic beliefs, to promote willingness to visit a United Methodist church, and to renew a sense of commitment among United Methodists. Independent research is conducted annually to determine if the campaign is reaching those goals.

Other highlights of the 2007 research:

  • 42 percent of respondents surveyed said their impression of The United Methodist Church was very or somewhat favorable, up from 37 percent in 2006
  • 54 percent of those surveyed expressed a willingness to visit a UnitedMethodistChurch, up from 47 percent in 2006
  • 59 percent of respondents recalled the tagline: "Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors."

The complete survey is available online.

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