Approaching Denver, Colo., along I-70, cresting a hill about thirty miles east of the city, the traveler is greeted with an impressive vista of the Rocky Mountains stretching from Ft Collins to the north along the Front Range to Colorado Springs in the south. This is home to a dozen Unity communities and a total population of over 4 million. With a bit of imagination, one can also peer over the mountains to two more ministries in the communities of Avon/Vail and Grand Junction. If our Unity communities had just 1% of these Coloradans attending our communities, we’d be seeing 40,000 people experiencing empowering, inspiring messages on a regular basis.
A challenge we have in getting the word out about Unity in our area is that few advertising channels in this 135 mile by 20 mile geography match the size and locale of our individual ministries’ service area. The choice for our ministries is to either make a metro-wide ad purchase (resulting in advertising dollars spent to attract people outside commuting distance to our individual centers) or local weeklies that have few readers in our desired audience.
A second challenge we have is that the activities of our individual ministries (classes, concerts and other events) tend to attract fewer people in many of our ministries than necessary to create top-notch programs—programs which, in turn, will attract more people to our Unity communities—the proverbial “chicken and egg” conundrum.
Over the years, ministers from the dozen Front Range Unity centers have met for lunch once a month. Two years ago, we decided to co-sponsor a booth at a local trade show and decided to “brand” our sub-region as Unity of Colorado. Near the end of 2014, we took another step to form a shared website, www.UnityofColorado.org, illustrating the location of each ministry on a map and providing a profile of the various participating ministries. We also developed a shared advertising campaign referencing only the website. Also on this website, we have published an “Upcoming Unity Events” list contributed to by each ministry.
We have found a local magazine that is directing its content for all intents and purposes to the Cultural Creatives audience; Mile High Natural Awakenings magazine is one of 25 similar newspapers franchised throughout the U.S. Scanning its content gives one the impression that its audience is our audience. Its distribution is to 50,000 readers in the Denver metropolitan area from Longmont to Castle Rock, one half of the vista mentioned above and containing more than 3 million people.
Several benefits are already emerging and some potential benefits are just becoming apparent:
1) With our shared advertising, we realize substantially lower advertising costs for the metro-wide ad purchases without wasting ad dollars attracting people outside our service areas.
2) With our advertising collaboration, we are pooling our respective talents to develop a very professional messaging and illustration in our advertising.
3) We will soon be experiencing much greater awareness throughout our Unity communities of the many wonderful programs being offered in our respective ministries.
4) With that greater audience, more care will be invested to “up” our program quality in anticipation of greater participation.
5) Because of the visibility of the programs being offered at each of the eight Denver ministries through the “Upcoming Unity Events” list, we can individually make more targeted and higher quality contributions to our consolidated program.
6) This atmosphere of much greater collaboration among our ministries can lift us to a higher level of service to our respective communities.
If you’re in a metropolitan area where this collaboration might make sense—and would like more information or access to the developed web resources, please contact David Ridge at Living Water Spiritual Community in Arvada, Colo., 720.935.3999 or [email protected].
We at Unity of Colorado thank Rev Kristen Preud’homme, Rev Kelly Isola and the UWM Marketing Team for their input in this development process. If you have a marketing idea that you’d like to explore, don’t hesitate to call on the UWM Marketing Team. They give great guidance and are in touch with others that may have resources or ideas you can use.