Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla who bought Twitter a year ago – has announced that he will be changing the company’s logo from the signature blue bird the world has come to know for more than 10 years – to an ominous white X on a black background.
The reason for this, according to The New York Times, is that Musk wants to create an “everything app” with his X which takes over from Twitter. The South African-born millionaire understands the power behind branding.
Musk bought Twitter last year for 44 billion US Dollars, but Twitter’s value has dropped to a mere 15 billion USD as of 2023; and while the app has primarily been used for sharing news – Musk now wants it to be an “everything app similar to the Chinese app, WeChat which would allow users to even do monetary transactions, send messages and streaming. It will effectively become a marketplace of services.
In short, Twitter has struggled financially and Musk feels that one of the ways to save it, is to give it a new face. An X which seems also to be a personalized letter and symbol as Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has an X in it obviously, but companies like Microsoft already own the intellectual property rights to the letter X and this could have legal implications too for Elon Musk.
That brings me to the crux of the issue I want to address here: the face of the oldest church in Cameroon ie the Cameroon Baptist Convention.
There is no doubt that when the early Baptist missionaries set foot on Cameroonian shores, branding was surely not one of their preoccupations. But as the church that they established in the 1890s grew over the years, transitioning from the Cameroon Baptist Mission (CBM) in the 1950s to the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC), it was clear that the denomination already understood the power behind how an organization brands itself. While in the 1950s, the change of the name from CBM to CBC reflected a change of leadership from White, Western missionaries to Cameroonians, it is also very important that more than half a century of being led by Cameroonians, that the CBC ought to appropriately distinguish itself.
It doesn’t help that in one denomination, there are dozens of logos – which is at odds with the motto of the denomination One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism (taken from Ephesians 4:5-7). It doesn’t help (in fact it is frustrating and frankly confusing), that Cameroon’s oldest denomination has a logo for each department or unit. For example, the signature logo of the CBC is usually a bird (dove, and never mind the uncanny similarity to Twitter) with a tiny tweak in its beak over a green background (the main CBC colour) and a cross. But then various departments have their own individual logos again. The Boy’s Brigade, the Youth and Student’s Department has its logo; the Women’s Department has another logo, the CBC Health Services has its own logo, the Finance Department and Education Departments etc each have a logo of their own! On top of all this, they each have individual mission statements again!
This multiplicity of logos and mission statements could either be interpreted on several fronts: disunity (which would contradict the motto of One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism) or it could be seen as sheer confusion.
So in short, the solution one can proffer to this is that the leadership of the CBC (which I am a proud member of), should consider getting one logo and mission statement that will reflect its mandate and desire to use education, health care and other social means to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This would not be the first time the Cameroon Baptist Convention has adopted such changes in how it brands itself (or at least how certain positions are branded in the denomination). This was seen a few years ago when the position of General Secretary – the Church’s highest-ranking office – was renamed Executive President (EP) because of confusion by non-Baptists who often thought that the General Secretary was some kind of minute role. The Ghana Baptist Convention follows this same model with an EP.
Getting one logo and mission statement will help set the CBC apart from some of the more Pentecostal-leaning churches that crop up today and are often masquerading as if they are under the CBC with a good case being the more charismatic Congregations Baptiste du Cameroun which have in the past simply branded themselves as CBC and been misunderstood as Cameroon Baptist Convention.
Once the CBC institutes a new logo and mission statement, this new logo should be what appears on all signboards at CBC schools, hospitals, churches and on all official documents issued by various CBC departments etc and this will help cement the one-ness of the CBC and people will start taking us seriously.
The North American Baptist Conference (NABC) which continues to maintain a long partnership with the Cameroon Baptist Convention even rebranded itself in the early 2000s from the NABC to simply North American Baptists Inc (NAB), complete with a new logo.
The CBC now has a Communication Department of well-trained journalists and communications experts who can liaise with the leadership of the church to come up with a unified and harmonized logo that will reflect the CBC as a church that has as mandate, the duty to heal, preach and minister the Gospel holistically.
Our sister denomination, the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC) are not without their own short-comings but they are unified in their logo. The PCC has one logo and this leaves no room for confusion as far as it concerns the face of their church.
So as Twitter rebrands itself just barely 1 year under a new owner, the CBC and its executive or decision-making body should think of having one logo and one mission statement that will set the CBC as the leader that it is in Cameroon and distinguish their theologically-sound teachings from the sea of heresy whose tide is increasing by the day in Cameroon.
Source: Cameroon News Agency