(Originally published by OldAuditor on December 26, 2009)
Those of us who experienced consistent and mind-blowing wins in Scientology twenty and thirty years ago may find it difficult to believe that Scientology as a brand is irretrievably “broken” as far as new public is concerned.
A brand is more than a symbol or a name. It is fundamentally a promise to deliver something of value. The symbol or name stands for the quality of what is to be delivered.
Once upon a time, Scientology delivered miracles and opened the door to personal freedom for many. Now, Scientology promises miracles and delivers intimidation and invalidation. It sells awards for a price and delivers lackluster results at high cost and imposes severe restrictions on open communication.
Those of us who have spent years working with the tech can easily see the difference between the workability of the tech and the oppressive environment created by the church of Scientology in its present state.
We are now a small minority in a sea of people who see only one brand and it is not something they would recommend to anyone. This situation cannot be ignored.
People who only know of Scientology from what they hear from others and read on the Internet do not distinguish between the technology of Scientology and the totalitarian regime of the Church of Scientology. The vast body of intelligent people who might benefit from Scientology know it only as a scam and a cult to be avoided.
This is a perfect example of a “broken brand”. A broken brand is an well known marketing phenomena. It happens when an organization has created an upset of great magnitude and is not fixed with Public Relations maneuvers or attacks and threats of suits against critics.
There once was a car called the Yugo which had everything going for it when it launched, but buyers found out that it was a really bad deal. It was recently voted the worst car of the Millenium and has been the butt of jokes for many years.
A brand is a “promise to deliver” and when the delivery does not match the promise, it is almost impossible to repair the upset in time to save the brand.
We were part of a group that set high expectations and then it evolved into something repressive that valued control over spiritual freedom. In fact, the technology that freed many of us has now been altered in an effort to cave us in and suppress us. That has not escaped the notice of the millions of people who use the Internet.
All of the PR and threat capabilities of the CofS are now failing to convince buyers to sign up for more services.
The brand of the CofS and of Scientology itself has been severely damaged and it will take years before independent practitioners can use the term “scientology” and get a positive reaction from raw public.
It may require positioning away from the original brand (of Scn) to differentiate offerings that are free of crush regging, insane ethics cycles, evaluative practices. etc.
So far we have the term Independent Scientology which conveys a new beginning for the tech. I think that we also may see other terms come into use like “Free Range Scientology”.
There is a tremendous value to the tech and the big issue I see in the near future is how to differentiate what is available outside the church from the abomination that is being delivered inside the church.
I think this will be addressed through many discussions in the growing community of Independent Scientologists. One thing I am sure of is that it will not be a top-down decision.
Another thing I am sure of is that slogans will help define where we are going as they can capture an entire concept in very few words, like this:
Free Range Scientology – It’s better for you!
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