Submitted by Brenda Smotherman
United Methodist Communications
This fall, The United Methodist Church is deepening its involvement in Hispanic and Latino communities in a concentrated way. The advertising campaign “The United Methodist Church: Your faith. Your culture. Your place.” specifically targets Hispanic and Latino seekers—those who identify themselves as spiritual, socially conscious and seeking meaning in their lives, but who are not affiliated with a church.
The initial test roll-out has launched in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, and San Antonio and Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas. People living within these markets will begin to see the advertisements this month through the end of November 2018.
“There are over 57 million Hispanics in the United States of America, and it’s important that we continue to reach out to Latino communities with an open invitation to visit a United Methodist church,” says Poonam Patodia—Chief Marketing Officer for United Methodist Communications, that is responsible for marketing of The United Methodist Church.
The advertising campaign was developed based on the findings of the 2017 Seeker Study, commissioned by United Methodist Communications from The Barna Group—a respected Christian polling firm. While Hispanics often have language and cultural differences within their communities, they share strong commonalities. For instance, they respond favorably to being invited and welcomed to be a part of a church and community. Regardless of factors such as age, geography, and socio-economics, surveys showed family, respect, inclusion, and spirituality rank as important components to their lives.
“The United Methodist Church offers all of these things to its members,” notes Patodia.
The campaign highlights the values The United Methodist Church shares with the Hispanic/Latino cultures and invites them to share in the faith.
United Methodist Communications’ teams have worked together to identify churches in each of the test markets to partner for the campaigns. Jennifer Rodia, United Methodist Communications’ Chief Communications Officer, notes that “the church is not selling a product, but rather inviting people into a relationship, with God and with each other, that’s why our church partnerships are so critical; it is all about creating a connection.”
“We will be running advertising on radio, outdoor, web, social media, etc. The messaging used will then be reinforced via our partnering churches’ websites, emails, social media, marquee signs, and on-site banners,” adds Patodia. “Search engine ads will also be executed to reach users regardless of whether they query using English or Spanish language.”
The results of the initial campaign will help the agency to identify what efforts resonated the best with seekers in the Hispanic and Latino communities. This research will equip the team to determine the most optimal media mix, messaging, and budgets that have proven to offer the greatest impact. This gained knowledge will then be applied on an expanded level.
“We have been very intentional in developing outreach resources for Hispanic/Latino churches and those wishing to attract more diversity within their congregations,” adds Creative Strategy Director Jan Snider. “Most recently, we engaged culturally knowledgeable church leaders to develop Advent resources. These include direct-mail, banners and other print materials in English and Spanish; we have even included a resource for Three Kings Day, which is often celebrated by Hispanic/Latino churches. These can be found at: Outreach.com/UMC.”
About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry. Find them online at umcom.org.