Recently I went with my friend to the city and we walked past the Scientology centre on George St. They had recently expanded and for some reason my friend wanted to do a “stress test”. Now keep in mind this guy is a Muslim and I don’t think he was considering joining Scientology, but I guess our boredom level had reached epic proportions so anything to break the mundane would do.
Anyway while my friend was sitting getting his stress test done, all I could do while waiting for him is to sit on the couch this Scientology centre had, which was looking out at the telvision which, no suprise, was playing Scientology videos. The “brainwashing station” if you want to call it that.
Anyway I assumed when I sat down, I would watch a bunch of videos about how awesome Scientology is and I had all ready put a mental block on myself that I wouldn’t be “swayed” (full disclosure: I’m not a very religious person).
Anyway, no matter what you want to say about Scientology these guys know how to market and promote themselves. If you consider all the religions in the world, Scientology is probably one of the few major/semi major religions that has not spread its gospel by force/violence. They have something much more valuable up their sleeve.
Actually it’s pretty amazing that not only has Scientology expanded their George St. offices, they’ve also recently finished renovating their centre in Castlereagh Street. The fact that Scientology is (or seems to be) expanding is pretty amazing considering:
The book ‘Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief’ – was a book that fully exposed the inner working of Scientology which went on to sell a ton load of copies and was named Book of the Year by the Washington Post.
The popular cartoon South Park had exposed their secret belief system which they had hidden from the world
Typing ‘Scientology’ into Google brings up a result on the 1st page for a website called xenu.net, which again is completely negative towards Scientology and exposes their many practices that many people at the top of Scientology would probably not want to know
The point that I’m trying to make is that Scientology has a pretty poor PR record, and yet despite this has not only persisted despite this but flourished.
I’m not a Scientologist expert but what I can comment on is the video I watched while I was waiting for my friend to finish his stress test. As I said before I was expecting some Scientology propaganda but what I watched had me nodding along.
Let me explain.
The video I watched was broken up into two parts (you can call it two scenes). The first scene was about ‘communication’ and the second scene was about the ‘touch assist’.
Let me break down these two scenes.
The scene starts with a businessman giving a presentation to another 4 business men. The voice over says something along the lines of:
“Your skills as a communicator largely determine your success in business and in life”
Here’s the thing, even though I may not have believed in Scientology I had to nod along, who is going to disagree right?
Then the video went on, the African American business man (who was presenting) finished his presentation and all the white guys clapped. Everyone was really happy with him and as he walked out of the office they were following him along like a cheer squad.
Then you see a timid guy sitting at his desk who sees the star presenter (let’s call this timid guy Timid Mike) and he tries, rather poorly, to get the star presenter’s attention (let’s call him Star John). Anyway John ignores him (or maybe doesn’t hear him) and continues on his victory walk along with his cheer squad behind him.
The shot turns to Timid Mike who is sitting there, defeated for not having been heard.
After this they showed a small demonstration of people talking to each other. You can view it from 2:40 below:
The video called the guy who was talking the ‘Cause’ and the person receiving/listening the ‘Effect’, and then it talked about ‘Distance’ being like, if there was less distance the effect was more likely to be effected (or the person was more likely to hear you).
It was actually a simple concept, something you might find in one of those business management books, but just like that Scientology had slipped in one of their concepts into your brain. I was sitting there nodding along, everything seemed to make sense.
Now it was time for Scientology to bring out some bigger guys, in the context of the situation.
Scene #2: The Touch Assist
I hunted down this video on the internet and you can watch it below:
This video is genius, as far as taking someone who is a complete fresh newbie from the street and converting them into a believer, the maker of this video has to be commended.
Since this blog post is dragging on I’ll be quick. Basically the idea behind this video is that when we’re injured we can do things to either quicken or slow down our recovery (for example – we can eat food while recovering instead of starving ourselves).
However it goes one step further to show a technique called the touch assist that can quicken a recovery. Basically if you sprain your ankle the idea is you would have someone touch you on the shoulder, then the other shoulder, and then on the chest, asking you if you feel those points and then finally touch you on your injured ankle. The whole thing takes 5 seconds and is probably completely without medical basis, however the great thing about it is that it only takes literally 10 seconds.
So just like that, with a small investment you’re in! Once you do the “touch assist” you’ve taken a step towards becoming a Scientologist.
They don’t ask you to buy materials, or register for a course, or change your whole belief system. Just try the “touch assist”.
And that is good marketing.
Just like when someone lands on your website you don’t ask them to buy your product/service (unless it costs $1), you just ask them to give you their email address, then you might send them a couple of emails and then ask for an investment fo $10 – $99, then slowly you build up that trust and you end up hitting them with your service.
Scientology understands this concept and so does every good marketer – the small steps. The scene on communication may have simply wanted me to agree with what they were saying. That was a small step, agreeing with something Scientology says (after all it can’t all be wrong), then the next step asks you to try a touch assist which would only take 10 seconds.
And I assume just like that, along with the free stress test which is another low risk entry method, Scientology is able to take you through the hoops of being a full member.
You can say what you want about Scientology and I’m not going to get into a thing where it’s a religous debate – but they understand marketing, and just because you don’t agree with a belief system or an organization doesn’t mean you can’t take a pgae out of their book when it comes to getting what you want.
P.S. I found part of the communication video below if you want to watch it: