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Poll shows U.S. Protestants ‘more loyal’ to toothpaste than church

World News

Protestants in the United States have less "brand loyalty" to their denominations than they have to their toothpaste or bathroom tissue, a survey has revealed.

The survey categorised churches as "brands" and that was released earlier in January, indicated that there is a trend of "church shopping" in a diverse marketplace of religious offerings in the United States.

Conducted by Ellison Research from Phoenix, Arizona, the survey indicates that only 16 per cent of U.S. Protestants surveyed said they will not consider changing their denominational affiliation.

By contrast, 22 percent of that group expressed brand loyalty to a preferred toothpaste and 19 per cent to a favourite brand of bathroom tissue. Brand loyalty was less exclusive for other products, including pain relievers, carbonated beverages and automobiles.

Overall, the Ellison study found that a majority of regular U.S. churchgoers – seven out of 10 – said they "would be at least somewhat open to switching denominations," with Protestants more willing to change denominational affiliation than Roman Catholics. Six out of 10 church-going U.S. Catholics surveyed said they would only consider attending a Roman Catholic church.

Ron Sellers, president of the research firm, said Protestant denominations "are simply facing what most companies face as they try to develop brand loyalty – consumers with many different options who may not perceive strong differences among those options".

Church denominations, he said, face same of the same market pressures that consumer product companies face. "The brands that develop stronger loyalty tend to do a better job of differentiating themselves from other brands and demonstrating key elements of the brand very clearly," said Sellers.

"With one-third of all Protestant churchgoers not even being able to identify a preferred denomination, denominational leaders face many of the same challenges as do the leaders of brands such as Coke, Chevrolet, or Home Depot," he added.

The survey is based on a sample of 1007 American adults.

The full survey is available at: http://ellisonresearch.com/

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