If you haven’t heard of the Pumpkin Spice craze, welcome out from under that rock. Pumpkin Spice was originally started by Starbucks in 2003. (Here’s the full story according to Wikipedia)

Personally, I don’t like the flavor of pumpkin. My wife’s favorite pie is pumpkin pie and if she makes one, I don’t touch it, but from a communications perspective, I think there are a few things to learn from…

What makes the Pumpkin Spice craze successful?


It’s seasonal

You can’t get it all the time, so when people can get it, they’ve missed it and they rush for it, then tell others it’s available. There’s something to be said for scarcity. Is there something on your church’s calendar that is too frequent? If you have a  new member’s class that 10 people attend every month, could it work better to have 30 people every 3 months? Would that give you some space to say “It’s coming up, but won’t be back for a few months.” or could it be more engaging with a larger crowd?


It’s a flavor so it’s portable to other food products

Pumpkin Spice is not just about a latte, but has now impacted all kinds of different food. Once realizing that PS could be more than a drink, Starbucks started making muffins, cookies, candy, and from there it took off. When Starbucks saw the success, they expanded with a “Keep something, change something” model.

The ‘Keep something’ was the Pumpkin Spice flavor, the “change something” was the actual food item – muffins, cookies, candy, etc.

Is there something that is successful at your church that you could expand with the “Keep Something, Change something” model? Could you take your Sunday service, or worship or message and turn it into a podcast? Could you take your Pastor’s notes and write blog posts?

Could you take a successful small group curriculum and turn it into a book, or create a video series for facebook, or use it for a facebook live curriculum for people who are unable to meet in someone’s home?

(Check out this post: 40 ways to repurpose your content for more ideas)


It’s a scent, so it can go way beyond food products

I can smell when my wife has had a PSL in my car. Product creators have taken a food product and found a way to turn that into other marketable products.

There’s car scent, deodorant, soap, and candles. The manufacturers saw the craze and decided to think outside the traditional method to market their product.

Don’t believe me? Click here for a “Pumpkin Spice” search on Amazon showing over 28,000 products…

What is successful within your church that could be adapted to connect with people outside your church? Maybe you have a date night where you offer free childcare at your church, but could you then invite people from the community, and not only provide child care, but provide dinner, popcorn and a movie for the adults. Let you church people know ahead of time and have them invite a friend.

What if you could take one of your Pastor’s series about families or marriage, keep the biblical principles, but remove the exact scripture references and publish a booklet for your people to share with friends?

Find something that works, and discover other ways to use that success.


Starbucks turned Pumpkin Spice into a lifestyle

Phrases like “I’m all about that Pumpkin Spice Life” have turned PSL from a drink people enjoy to imagining that it could be an actual ‘Lifestyle’ as if your life could revolve around a drink.

But what if you could communicate that serving in your church is part of your church’s lifestyle – an expectation, not a request or a great idea. Maybe that’s prayer groups or serving on a team or serving your community or giving to missions.

What could you do to create the lifestyle of what’s important to your church? How could you highlight families that have embraced that lifestyle and give new people a really easy on-ramp to that lifestyle?


Even people who don’t love it know about it

I have no inclination to eat, drink, smell or wear a pumpkin spice anything, but it’s everywhere, so I don’t have to love it to know it exists. Why does that happen? Because there are people all around me talking about how much they love their pumpkin spice.

How can you create a way for people who love your church to talk about it? Is it a business card invitation they can hand out, a bumper sticker, a t-shirt or posting something on facebook every week that they can use to share and invite friends to church?

Side note: Pumpkin Spice Jello… Two wrongs don’t make a right.



What have you implemented from the ideas, and which are you going to work on next? Comment below so we can learn from what’s working for you!




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