After centuries of being one of the most powerful global brands, the Roman Catholic Church became an ugly symbol of child abuse, internal corruption, and greed. For a while, it appears that nothing could restore it. The downward trajectory kept continuing.
Now there is a distinct change in the papal rhetoric. Instead of being self defensive about its stances, the public speaking is about changing its message. Those in communications would label this shift the first signs of rebranding.
BLOOMBERG reports that the new pope Francis has gone on record in telling the Catholic Church's hierarchy to back off harping on abortion, gays, and contraception. And the guy is 76. He wants to shift the focus to more important and pressing issues like the poverty around the world.
Pope Francis could become as transformational a leader as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Franklin Roosevelt. Instead of youth flocking to eastern forms of spirituality like Buddhism, they might check out Roman Catholicism. Becoming a Catholic priest or nun could become the 21st century version of the Peace Corps.
In any event, the media now have a fresh rock star. I anticipate Pope Francis to be delivering a TED Talk and host a panel on poverty at the World Economic Forum.