What Pope Francis can teach us about brand leadership.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Hey you!  Yeah you over there, the heads of GM, Sears, the big banks…any old legacy business for that matter, listen up!  It’s time to start paying attention to the Pope.

Look, the Catholic Church ain’t no poster child for doing what’s right what with all the overspending, arrogance, pomposity, corruption, sex abuse scandals.  But Pope Francis is doing his best to change all that.  And in the process he is teaching us one of the most important, if not the most important lesson in marketing:  how to be a great brand leader.

The Pope is turning around the Roman Catholic brand and, based on his 85% approval rating, is doing a terrific job.  The church is at a turning point and Pope Francis is bringing it kicking and screaming into the modern world while returning it to the roots of what it should be known for:  compassion, honor and respect.  That’s what great brand leaders do:  force change while sticking to your values.

As a marketer, what can you learn from the Pope?

  • Focus your mission on what’s most important
  • Acknowledge your mistakes head on
  • Have the tough conversations
  • Be passionate yet humble
  • To do what’s right – dump the ermine robes and focus on what you do vs. how you look

Whether religion is your thing or not, we can all learn a great deal from this great man.  So, do you have it in you to be that ‘turn around leader’ who resuscitates a floundering brand?