With the Children's Royal Commission I could not help but be reminded of a previous encounter - the Sydney Morning Herald ran an opinion piece a few years ago by Anthony Achroyd titled "Catholic brand appeals Pell's priority". This idea that the "brand" needs to be protected above all else interests many of us.
Achroyd provides his readers with something of a history of Roman Catholicism's less than charitable moments (40 years ago I earned First Class Honours in Church History and the Theological Prize for my seminary year way-back-whenever) - and Achroyd spells it out as it was – it was nasty business.
The "brand" must be protected at all costs Achroyd cried out. The story of "brand protection" is an old one. It covers aeons of centuries. In today's world it's the corporate name that requires protection, there is way too much at stake to allow the brand name to be sullied.
After spending millions upon millions in advertising around the globe, protecting the brand name is the name-of-the-game.
But today, there is also a hitch. It's called social media and within an instant, the world's agitators (that's you and me public) express our horror over this or that, and soon enough, a brand name is in the soup (so to speak).
Questions relating to brand names
The questions are myriad, but there are two or three which seem to have some significant importance. If the brand name takes on such importance that the financial foundation super-structure is placed in jeopardy, who can be trusted to protect the brand name.
If the people entrusted to protect brand names are so vulnerable, what makes them take on such menacing roles? Can a brand name be rescued even after devastating results, even that of social media?
Who can be trusted
In one of the 'Yes Prime Minister' programs the quite old and somewhat muddled Sir Thingamabob was being put up for the chairmanship of a major corporation and the only question was that the city required someone they could trust – in other words, who could be trusted to turn a blind eye from time to time to the right people in the city.
These roles are only menacing if the wrong people think that the right people have the wrong end of the stick. Herein lies the critical issue, that the right stick becomes the measuring rod and the right stick is protected and governed by the right people. Then it due course the right people who need to be moved aside end up with the right piggy bank as they close the door behind them.
Brand names are somehow associated with logos. Take a look around and see how many organisations from big business to local institutions in recent years have changed their logo but kept their brand name. They are myriad.
Likewise some brand names are so familiar that even the ghastliest outcome doesn't rock it - BP and the oil-spills is just one example.
Churches and Christian Missions
These brand names are just as important. Anthony Achroyd is right on the button then, Cardinal Pell has a duty to protect the Roman Catholic brand name. There are many who worship in catholic parishes untainted by child abuse. Local churches and Christian missions likewise have brand name to protect, for in some measure, everyone realises, for good or bad, their patch is only a fraction of the much bigger picture.
Recently someone in a Mission corporate role spoke of how he realised that those who had the reigns were moving in "other" directions. This gave rise as to whether he preferred that team game or as led by the Holy Spirit, he might Minister more effectively in a fresh Mission led by himself and his wife – their name would become a brand name. Many have done this.
Yet for all that, while many are disappointed with these various religious brand names, survey after survey shows that the name 'Jesus' remains untainted.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html