“Happiness is not an app on a mobile phone” – The Art of Messaging

This blog is about relevant messaging throughout the journey your customers have with your brand. Although I will use Pope Francis as an example, I am not opining about the Catholic church, the popularity of the Pope, or even Christianity in general. I’ll leave all that to the theologians.

Much of a customer’s journey with a brand depends on the words and images that they encounter in marketing, shopping, and post-sale. All to often, the words chosen by brand representatives are crafted in haste without careful consideration of the audience to which they are intended. Therein comes Pope Francis!

When speaking to an audience of 70,000 at a “teens only” event, Pope Francis made a statement that was both startling and brilliantly crafted. In a sermon that contrasted the power of technology with the power of religion, he noted:

“Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought or sold. It is not an application you can download on a mobile phone. Even the latest version can not help you to grow free in love.”

Holding a iPhone as a visual cue. Pope Francis went on to suggest that life without Jesus is like a smartphone with no bars.

One additional culminating image from the journey for some in the audience was a selfie with the Pope.


Again side-stepping the religious overtones of the message, there is much to be learned from the willingness of a messenger to position his words and imagery to the benefit of the audience. This 79-year-old head of state and head of the Roman Catholic church effectively connected with an audience of teenagers through a message designed for them, not designed for him.

So, here are some question for you:

Who are your key customer segments?

What images, lifestyle elements, and references are relevant to them?

How can you authentically weave those images and messages throughout the customer journey with your brand? (e.g pre-sale, throughout the sales cyle, and post-sale)

Is your brand voice in keeping with the ever-changing wants, needs, and desires of your audience?

Unlike our businesses, I suspect all Popes have and forever will draw massive crowds. However, much like us, there will be those Popes that will connect at a greater level than others. The strength of human connections (at the papacy and in our day to day life) depend upon our ability to understand our audiences and our humble willingness to craft consistent messages that serve them.

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

Leave a Comment


The Starbucks Experience: Leadership Tips eBook
Elevating Care in Healthcare: Lessons from the UCLA Health System eBook
How to Win Every Customer, Every Time, No Excuses! Article