Religions as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Religions as Brands

New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality, 1st Edition

Edited by Jean-Claude Usunier, Jörg Stolz


276 pages

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Paperback: 9781138546240
pub: 2018-02-12
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During the twentieth century, religion has gone on the market place. Churches and religious groups are forced to 'sell god' in order to be attractive to 'religious consumers'. More and more, religions are seen as 'brands' that have to be recognizable to their members and the general public. What does this do to religion? How do religious groups and believers react? What is the consequence for society as a whole? This book brings together some of the best international specialists from marketing, sociology and economics in order to answer these and similar questions. The interdisciplinary book treats new developments in three fields that have hitherto evolved rather independently: the commoditization of religion, the link between religion and consumer behavior, and the economics of religion. By combining and cross-fertilizing these three fields, the book shows just what happens when religions become brands.


'… brings together a wealth of sociological and marketing research and theory and research on the way that religions are forced to market themselves in order to be attractive to consumers.' Religion Watch 'Recommended.' Choice 'For anyone interested in understanding the marketplace in which the Church now finds itself, this collection of well researched essays will undoubtedly be highly informative.' Modern Believing

Table of Contents

PART I: Introduction

1 Religions as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality

Jörg Stolz and Jean-Claude Usunier

2 "9591": The Global Commoditization of Religions through GATS, WTO, and Marketing Practices

Jean-Claude Usunier


PART II: Marketing and Branding Religion and Spirituality

3 The International Christian Fellowship (ICF): A Sociological Analysis of Religious Event Management

Olivier Favre

4 Branding, Music, and Religion: Standardization and Adaptation in the Experience of the "Hillsong Sound"

Thomas Wagner

5 The Marketing of Spiritual Services and the Role of the Religious Entrepreneur

Markus Hero

6 Non-fortuitous Limits to the Concept of Branding in the Popularizing of "Justly Balanced Islam" in France

Jason Dean

7 Healing by Islam: Adoption of a Prophetic Rite—roqya—by Salafists in France and Belgium

Hanifa Touag


PART III: Religious and Spiritual Consuming

8 Adding Imaginative Value: Religion, Marketing, and the Commodification of Social Action

Jochen Hirschle

9 Is There Such a Thing as Religious Brand Loyalty?

Haytham Siala

10 How Religious Affiliation Grouping Influences Sustainable Consumer Behavior Findings

Elizabeth Stickel-Minton


PART IV: Economic Analyses of Religious Phenomena

11 Sources of Religious Pluralism: Revisiting the Relationship between Pluralism and Participation

Roger Finke and Christopher P. Scheitle

12 Authority and Freedom: Economics and Secularization

Steve Bruce

13 The "Business Model" of the Temple of Jerusalem: Jewish Monotheism as a Unique Selling Proposition

Philippe Simonnot

About the Editors

Jean-Claude Usunier is professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in the Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC). His research interests are cross-cultural consumer behavior, cultural and linguistic aspects of international marketing, with a special interest in commoditization processes in international trade. He serves on the editorial board of several international business and marketing journals. His recent research was published in International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Research in Personality, Time and Society, Journal of International Marketing, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Journal of Business Communication, and European Journal of Marketing. His books include International and Cross-Cultural management Research (Sage, 1998), International Business Negotiations (Elsevier, 2003), AIDS and Business (Routledge, 2009), and Marketing Across Cultures (Pearson, 2009). Jörg Stolz is Professor of Sociology of Religion at the University of Lausanne. His research focuses on the explanation of secularization, the competition between the religious and the secular, evangelicalism, stereotypes, and religious pluralism with the theory of social mechanisms (analytical sociology). Concerning methods, he is especially interested in mixed methods research. He is president-elect of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. He is the author of Soziologie der Fremdenfeindlichkeit: Theoretische und empirische Analysen and L'avenir des Réformés: Les Eglises face aux changements sociaux (with Edmée Ballif), and has edited the book Salvation goods and religious markets: Theory and Applications. He has published in various international journals such as the British Journal of Sociology, Sociology of Religion, or Review of Religious Research.

About the Series

AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Series

This book series emanates from the largest research programme on religion in Europe today - the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme which has invested in over seventy-five research projects. Thirty-two separate disciplines are represented looking at religion across the world, many with a contemporary and some with an historical focus. This international, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary book series includes monographs, paperback textbooks and edited research collections drawn from this leading research programme.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State