We state that one should not judge a book by its cover, but often when the author is unknown and exposure limited, all we have to go by are their book covers and brands.
My Experience with Book Covers
I love to read, and my tastes range the gambit — instructional, religious, murder mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and more. I am all the time looking for something new to read. When I find an author I like, I devour their publications. But when it comes to finding a new one, many times I base my decision solely on the book covers.
This approach has led to numerous less than stellar experiences:
- I’ve purchased and read many mediocre books solely based on the image and blurb on its jacket.
- On the flipside, I’ve been reluctant to buy a book with good reviews because the publisher failed to create an appealing visual marketing piece on the front.
The old idiom is valid, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Sometimes, though, it is all we have to go on.
My Experience with Brands
Brands are similar to book covers. Some appeal to us while others make us think twice about purchasing them.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I browsed through Lenox Mall in Atlanta, Georgia. As we strolled through Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, William Sonoma, Godiva, and other “high end” stores, one thing was abundantly clear: A label and brand carry an intrinsic value with a related price tag.
How is it that two pairs of jeans can range from $20 to $200 and look virtually the same? It’s all in the name and the value we associate with it.
One was a store brand, while the other bore a leather tag with the name Emporio Armani. The name evokes a sense of style and sophistication.
We think of fast cars, elite parties, and fancy houses. And we will pay for those associations and expectations (unless you are cheap like me).
First of all, what is a brand? A brand is a symbol. Symbols are designs which represent something else […].
Brands set expectations, […].
webdesigner depot, “9 Tips for Brand Building With Web Design”, http://www.webdesignerdepot.com
We Have Book Covers, Brands, and Labels
We label everything:
Political: Liberals / Moderates / Conservatives
Income: Low / Average / High Income
Education: Drop Out / High School / College Graduate / MBA / Doctor
Sexual Preference: Hetero / Metro / Homo / Bi / Trans
Religious: Muslim / Catholic / Pagan/ Protestant
And with each label, we associate certain connotations and set expectations of our interactions. We categorize our labels and relate them to a brand which further impacts our impressions and reactions to people. We wrap them in book covers accordingly.
So why all this talk about book covers, brands, and labels? Two thoughts that lead to one answer:
- How Do People Perceive Us?
- How Do You Perceive People?
Christian Book Covers and Brands
Too often people’s views of Christians hinge on what we oppose.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Often Christians are held in a negative light because we ineffectively represent Jesus.” quote=”Often, we are held in a negative light, not because of Jesus, but because we ineffectively represent Him.”]
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
~ Muhandas Ghandi
Stearns, Richard. “The Hole in Our Gospel”. World Vision, 2009. 226
We have not been:
- Called to be political activists.
- Established as judges of the world’s or people’s depravity.
- Elected as prosecutors and executioners.
Love is our calling and command.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35, NIV
We must put aside our perceptions and prejudices to look beyond conditions, associations, and expectations. In their place, we simply need to love as Christ loved us.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I want to be branded as one who loves as Jesus loved me.” quote=”I want to be branded as one who loves as Jesus loved me.”]
When people see me, I want them to have the expectation of encountering God’s love, and I want that expectation to be realized in every interaction.
Sometimes a book cover is all we have to go on. What does yours say about you?