How can United Methodist Communications use 21st century new media to engage, connect and inspire millennials?
United Methodist Communications approached Dr. Dixon with a problem. The church was not effectively communicating with millennials through the new channels this age group had come to rely on. The mustangconsulting team quickly discovered that there was little existing research on what denominational communication needed to look like in the 21st century to effectively target a growing and diverse population. The team spent the next two years conducting this research with the goal of delivering to United Methodist Communications a clear vision of what they needed to do to effectively utilize these new modes of communication.
The first step for mustangconsulting was a comprehensive analysis of the religious communication market. After identifying industry trends and campaigns, the team began to hone in on campaigns and collateral of the United Methodist Church. After developing a deep understanding of communication chains and systems from past and current campaigns, the team traveled to Nashville to learn about United Methodist messaging from the perspective of the current United Methodist Communications staff.
After this initial period of analysis, mustangconsulting was able to identify three audiences who would require three different strategies. The team decided to focus on one of these audiences, The Unchurched and The Underchurched. mustangconsulting conducted biographical research to determine exactly who made up this group. The goal was to provide data that yielded both high reliability and validity. In order to accomplish this task, mustangconsulting needed to assemble a research instrument and distribute it beyond the existing methods utilized.
mustangconsulting conducted one on one qualitative interviews with this population to highlight possible predictive relationships and themes. There were 261 participants from all over the world. Based on these interviews, 15 specific research hypotheses were developed. The next stage was the development of a survey to be distributed nationally to millennials. The pretest proved the survey had greater reliability than leading competitors in the field.
Having developed a reliable, valid and informative survey, the mustangconsulting team distributed their work to college campuses throughout the United States. Working with colleagues from top academic institutions helped to further distinguish mustangconsulting’s work as a leader in the field. The data drawn from the survey continues to provide valuable information regarding religious communication and millennials to church leaders throughout the United States.