Communications and Marketing

Research and relationship teams travel to South Africa

Photo courtesy of Relationship team <br>Members of UMCom's Relationship team attended the South Africa Annual Conference.
Photo courtesy of Relationship team <br>Members of UMCom's Relationship team attended the South Africa Annual Conference.

Teresa Faust, Chuck Niedringhaus, and Tafadzwa Mudambanuki recently traveled to Cape Town, South Africa November in their roles as part of the Relationship team to attend its annual conference, conduct qualitative research and continue to develop a global research network. An additional goal of the trip was to improve understanding of factors affecting communications and research and to collect contact information. During the five days of their visit, they witnessed a strong, dynamic church beset with challenges different from those found in the United States.

Following are observations related to research:

The development of a research network appears very possible. Almost all attendees have smartphones and frequently use What’s App for communication. Access to the Internet was somewhat less, which may make it difficult to use email to collect survey data. Nevertheless, once an email list is developed, the ability to include responses from South Africa is achievable. 

While in Cape Town, the team received 75 completed questionnaires related to what it means to be United Methodist in South Africa. The survey also collected names, email addresses, and cell phone numbers.

In addition, Teresa, Chuck and Tafadzwa also led discussion groups related to UMC branding elements among clergy. The clergy surveyed indicated their congregations use the Cross and Flame logo on their church signs and on their materials; reaction to the logo was positive. How the brand promise is being used within the congregations was unclear, however, familiarity with the brand promise was high.