Temple Square: Competitive Analysis

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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (1)

After exhaustive research, information about digital marketing tactics employed by the Vatican and Temple Square was scarce. The following information presents details about the publicly available information for each location.


  • The Vatican is constantly employing efforts to build a social media presence in order to maintain relevance and engage with its audience. Monsignor Paul Tighe, the former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for the Catholic Church, noted that digital platforms allow a different type of communication between the Church and its followers, creating a dialogue instead of the usual monologue.
  • He says “We’re learning as a church that even though the digital platforms allow us to put much more material out there to get our information across, if we want to engage people, if we want to actually impact people and change minds and change hearts, we actually have to allow people to question us—allow people to dialogue with what we’re saying.”
  • Pope Francis recently declared that the Vatican Secret Archive will now be called the Vatican Apostolic Archive, as he believes the word “secret” has a negative connotation, he also declared that the infamous archives of World War II-era Pope Pius XII will open to researchers ahead of schedule on March 2, 2020.
  • Pope Francis has a significant social media presence (18,1 million followers on Twitter and 6,3 million on Instagram), perpetuated by a strategy focused on positive messages of hope connected to the Church’s teachings. Most of the Vatican's marketing efforts are related to the Pope, he's currently twitting about his tour under the hashtag #ApostolicJourney.
  • Vatican News, a site dedicated to directly reporting about the Pope, Vatican, the Church, and the World according to the Catholic Church, was launched in 2010 and has more than four million followers across multiple platforms.
  • The Vatican is hoping to attract younger generations. According to Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies professor at the College of the Holy Cross, the Church is attempting to “reclaim a generation that is close to being lost because of all the polarization and scandals within Catholicism and the general secularization of culture.”
  • The Vatican enlisted the help of digital strategy firms to understand young users and how to engage with them on issues such as climate change, immigration and poverty. It has also direct archdioceses to hire digital marketing teams to spread the message and engage with communities.
  • The desire to attract younger crowds was further noted by Pope Francis stating that by listening to young people, “the Church will once again hear the Lord speaking in today’s world.”
  • In its efforts to attract a younger demographic, the Vatican released “Follow JC Go”, a free to play mobile game similar to Pokemon Go, where players can collect saints and Bible characters. The app has over 100,000 downloads on Google Play.
  • In October, the Vatican released the “eRosary”, a wearable device with a smartphone app. Users can activate the device by making the sign of the cross and then choose to pray a standard rosary. The device keeps track of the user’s progress.

Temple Square

  • Temple Square markets its architecture, art and rich history. It encourages people to host private events at the location, besides showcasing its restaurants. The Temple’s blog focuses mainly on wedding and business events, with monthly posts about each topic.
  • Temple Square has a brochure on its website called “Top photo spots”, released in 2016. The brochure explains how to take the best photos in each location, what to bring and the best time to visit.
  • Twitter and Instagram pages are updated somewhat frequently, but fail to gather a massive following, with 4,364 and 12,100 followers respectively. Its Facebook page has a much larger follower base, with 172,263 followers. Interest in the temple has the same pattern for the past five years, always peaking during Christmas.
  • The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, formerly known as Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is a staple of the Temple and one of its main attractions. It has 542,854 followers on Facebook and 358,000 subscribers on YouTube, garnering over 200 million views.
  • The recent changes in the nomenclature of the religion, from Mormons and LDS to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have reflected on the Temple. Not only was the name of the choir changed, but there is an indication that Temple Square is looking to attract a more diverse crowd as well.
  • The change was met with controversy and has yet to be fully implemented. Leaders said that the change is not a marketing effort, but some have questioned the purpose, while others found the new name and URL of the website, churchofjesuschrist.org, confusing. Considering that the hashtag #templesquare is most commonly associated with #lds, #mormon and #tabernaclechoir, the recent changes may affect the marketing efforts.
  • Another interesting development concerns the Salt Lake Temple. Temple Square is undergoing a four-year renovation plan, which will change several buildings, including the Salt Lake Temple. The temple that notoriously only allowed members of the Church to visit will open its doors to the public after renovation is completed.
  • One aspect of the renovation is regarding Christianity, they want people to think of Christ when visiting the Temple. Research suggests that the Church is seeking a more clear positioning regarding its views.
  • Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, assistant professor of history at Montana State University, noted that at Christian bookstores, Mormonism was usually located in the cult section. Some members point out that the change may help the Church to move away from polygamy or racist stereotypes, while others feel like the change will strip away their identities.
  • Dean M. Davies, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, said “We want everyone to know they are welcome. We want them to come and see and feel why this temple is so beautiful to us.” He adds "Now everyone—people of our faith, other faiths, or no faith—will be able to come to the temple.

Research Strategy

We commenced our research by looking for case studies and reports about the marketing efforts of the Vatican and Temple Square. After multiple industry-related sources, most of what was publicly available was related to religion and not the locations. Next, we performed a press scan for both locations. With this approach, we located some information about the Vatican that was covered by other requests and information regarding the renovation of Temple Square. We also discovered the controversy surrounding the name of the religion and how it affected the choir, a staple of Temple Square.

Finally, we examined the social media profiles of both locations, hoping to find insights about marketing efforts. Although both locations have a fairly active social media presence, information was superficial: Temple Square frequently posts pictures of the location as well as some religious quotes, while the Vatican focuses mostly on Pope Francis' activities, with some posts showcasing events. We also analyzed each location using Google Trends, different social media analysis websites, and analytics to uncover any new patterns that might point out to a new marketing campaign or strategy but our efforts wielded scarce results.

As a last resource, we included our findings concerning different marketing strategies related to the religion associated with the locations, as they are possible predicaments for the locations. After extensive research, we were unable to track successful digital campaigns the locations launched in the past two years. With the current renovations, we assume we can expect to see new marketing developments for Temple Square in the future, including a more inclusive rebranding. Meanwhile, the Vatican is focusing most of its digital efforts on Pope Francis and Vatican News. There is no publicly available data regarding the target visitors, but there is an indication that the Church is targeting a younger demographic in general. There are also signs that the Vatican is not looking to increase the number of visitors, as overcrowding is a recurrent problem.

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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (2)

Notre-Dame Cathedral and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception use social media marketing in which they often share aesthetic photographs and videos to attract customers. They also offer information related to their history, liturgy traditions, architectural designs, sculpture, paintings, and many others on their websites to educate their visitors, as well as to pique customers' interest to visit their tourist attractions.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral uses various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
  • In its social media platform, Notre-Dame Cathedral commonly posts various contents, such as articles, photographs, and videos about its liturgy, architectural designs, sculpture, and paintings, to attract tourists. The message that this institution employs in its contents includes the progress of the cathedral restoration and promotional contents.
  • Its Twitter and Instagram pages have gained over 55,800 and 89,000 followers across the globe, respectively. The most popular video on the YouTube page of Notre-Dame Cathedral reached more than 42,000 views.
  • The official website of Notre-Dame Cathedral is now only available in French, where it offers information about its liturgy traditional, music, history, architecture, sculpture, painting, and art. It is believed that Notre-Dame Cathedral uses customer education as its digital strategy to increase customer awareness about its tourist attractions and boost customer engagement.
  • Its target demographic includes visitors around the world, pilgrims, Christians, and believers or non-believers. However, after the fire incident on April 19, 2019, Notre-Dame Cathedral is currently closed for the public for building restoration.
  • Blockshow, an international blockchain event supported by Cointelegraph, launched a cryptocurrency fundraising campaign to help restore the building of Notre-Dame Cathedral. As of today, this event has raised €23,487,370 from all over the world.
  • In 2018, Notre-Dame Cathedral participated in the 'Taste of Home' print campaign by Lizandri van de Merwe. Later, this campaign was featured in the Lürzer’s Archive and archived at Loeries and Pendoring.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception owns several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • The content that Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception shares on its social media platforms is mainly about Christianity and the liturgy held in this church. It also tends to post photos, videos, and articles that are related to its liturgy, architectural designs, sculptures, paintings, and Christian biblical figures, as well as attaching religious messages in the captions.
  • Its Twitter and Instagram pages have gained 6,678 and 6,002 followers from all over the globe. It also has 17.3 subscribers on its YouTube page and a total of 2,600,625 views since 2014.
  • The official website of Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception also has various valuable information related to its liturgy, sacred music, history, heritage, architecture, and artwork. This educational information may attract tourists to come, visit, and experience the temple square themselves.
  • Its target demographic includes school students, church groups, pilgrims, and visitors from all around the world.
  • In April 2019, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception created a fundraising campaign to help the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral and managed to raise more than $35,000 within the first 24 hours since the campaign was launched. It also held a benefit concert that was attended by over 2,000 people.
  • In November 2018, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception joined the campaign of 'Courage in Red', where the building of the church was illuminated by the red light to commemorate today’s Christian martyrs and support the religious freedom. A post on the official Twitter page of Basilica managed to gain 25 retweets and 64 likes.
  • Other than the expression of empathy and participation for a good cause, the campaigns held by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception may also improve its branding value to gain more recognition and attract customers.

Research Strategy

We began our research by visiting each official website of Notre-Dame Cathedral and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to gather several valuable insights to be added to our findings. We found that the Notre-Dame Cathedral website is only available in the French language. Thus, we utilized Google Translate to help us collect information from the aforementioned source. After reviewing both sites, we decided to look for additional information by visiting each social media platform of both temple squares, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Our research team also browsed through publications, expert blogs, and news articles to collect more relevant information. We found that this research's answer was straightforward and did not need any triangulation.
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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (3)

For centuries, the Notre-Dame cathedral was the tallest building in Paris and one of the greatest monuments ever. The Gothic design, spiritual ambiance, and ethereal light filters made visitors awestruck. In April 2019, there was a massive fire that damaged parts of the cathedral. Since then, it has been temporarily shut down as plans have been put in place to restore it to its original glory.

Visitor Perception

Target Visitors

Special Attractions

  • Crypte Archéologique (Archaeological Museum): This museum was once a crypt. It is located underneath the cathedral. The museum "tells the story of the city from antiquity through the medieval era."
  • The West Facade - Kings and Christian Icons: This is another point of attraction at the Notre-Dame cathedral. It highlights the work of medieval stone cutters who meticulously created sculptures in the High Gothic Style around the 1200s. The elaborate design has five horizontal sections that tourists can look at. There are several biblical figures above the doorways that tourists are awed by.
  • Cathedral Towers: The cathedral twin towers have spectacular views at the top. Tourist can get a panoramic view from this outlook. The view includes the most famous neighborhoods and monuments in Paris, such as the Louvre, the Ile de la Cité, the Sorbonne, the Hôtel de Ville, the Panthéon, and the Ile Saint-Louis.
  • Gargoyles: These are grotesque sculptures that are used as rain water drains. Tourists can see them up close by going around the balcony of gargoyles between the twin towers.
  • Stained-Glass Windows: These magnificent windows contribute to the celestial aura that Notre-Dame cathedral has. The "colorful windows filter jewel-toned light into the otherwise somber space" and are known as some of the greatest Christian masterpieces.

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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (4)

Visitor's perception of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from Tripadvisor reviews is that it is beautiful, impressive, interesting, and worth visiting. A total of 82% of visitors rated the Basilica as excellent with the majority loving the art and architecture of the grounds and building. The Basilica targets individuals, small groups, parish, school, and organization visitors. Special attractions include the well-blended Romanesque-Byzantine architecture and sacred art, contemporary ecclesiastical art, sacred music, and Mass celebration. Detailed information is below.

An overview of visitor perceptions

  • The overall visitor perception of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from Tripadvisor reviews is good with visitors saying the visit was worth it.
  • Out of 1,874 visitor reviews on Tripadvisor, the overall score is five stars out of five. A total of 82% rated the Basilica as excellent, 14% rated it as very good, 2% rated it as average, 1% as poor, and 1% as terrible.
  • Most of the visitors loved the Basilica building and grounds art and architecture. They used words such as very beautiful, most impressive, superb, amazing, interesting, magnificent, and fantastic to describe the Basilica and its grounds.
  • Also, the perception of many visitors is that they loved the Mass celebration and the opportunity to sit and meditate while inside the chapels.

Target Visitors

  • The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception targets pilgrims from around the United States and the world. Those taking a pilgrimage to the Basilica can have a guided tour, attend a Shrine Mass, or attend a Private Mass with their priest.
  • It also targets individuals and small groups with Mass attendance, Shrine shop visits, and Cafeteria dining.
  • The Basilica also targets parishes, schools, and organizations, and provides large group tours for them.

Special Attractions

Research Strategy

To find information on the target visitors and special attractions, we searched for relevant information on the Basilica's official website and this strategy was successful as we found information that was included in our findings. To find visitor perceptions of the Basilica, our strategy was to find reviews from visitors on review sites. We found visitor reviews from Tripadvisor which provided insights on the perception of visitors and which was included in our findings.
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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (5)

The overall visitor perception of the Vatican city is very positive. The city-state generates around 80 million euros each year and 20 million euros is earned from selling souvenirs and corporate hospitality. The top attractions or special attractions of the Vatican based on traveler ranking include St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, La Pieta, and Stanze di Raffaello.


  • The majority of the visitors are fascinated by the beauty of the city-state, calling it an 'awesome sight' and a 'must-visit city'.
  • Another common insight revealed by the tourists is the overcrowding of the city and the never-ending queues. Nevertheless, it is still entitled to be an incredible place with 'beautiful architecture and history'.
  • Taking a guide to truly fathom the beauty of the city is recommended by a considerable number of tourists. However, some do not recommend it because their guides were not very informative.
  • A few of the tourists called the city 'a money-making machine' due to the exorbitant price of the admission ticket of attractions.
  • The artworks found inside the monuments of the Vatican are regarded highly by multiple visitors. According to a tourist, a bulk of the artworks found on the marbles have a lot of detail and 'one can admire it for hours'.
  • While some visitors claim the city to be clean, others report that the city is filled with garbage. Another common complaint of the visitors is the migrant sellers and gypsy trying to rip off the visitors. Also, lack of restrooms makes a lot of visitors anxious.
  • Further, based on 'traveler types' such as families, solo, business, couples, and friends, the visitor perception about the Vatican city is very positive and loved by the majority of the tourists.


1. St. Peter's Basilica

  • St. Peter's Basilica is considered to be the largest church in the world.
  • It took about 120 years to build it under the guidance of legendary Italian architects.
  • The church is the home of a martyr and the chief apostle, St. Peter.
  • The nave of the basilica is 694ft in height and the dome is measured to be 434ft tall.

2. Sistine Chapel

  • Sistine Chapel is embedded in the Vatican Palace. It was built around 1473-81 by the architect Giovanni dei Dolci for Pope Sixtus IV.
  • This papal chapel is known for the symbolic paintings on the ceiling by Michelangelo.
  • The ceiling occupies an area of 10,000 sq.ft which is filled with 'The Last Testament' fresco.

3. Vatican Museums

4. La Pietà (Pity or Compassion)

  • The Pieta is a Renaissance marble sculpture built by Michelangelo Buonarroti, located in St. Peter's Basilica.
  • It was created between 1498 and 1499. The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross before he was placed in the tomb.
  • Multi-figure sculptures were rare during the Renaissance. As a result, La Pieta is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Michelangelo.

5. Stanze di Raffaello (The Rooms Of Raphael)

  • Raphael's rooms or Stanze di Raffaello encompass four rooms in the Vatican Palace.
  • It was originally built for Pope Julius II as a suite of apartments.
  • Each room consists of peculiar themes and is named as Room of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Segnatura, and Room of the Fire in the Borgo.


We began our research by examining several media sources to get an overall view of the state of tourism in the Vatican. WantedInRome, DriftTravel, HuffPost, Pope2You, Expedia, EuroCheapo are some of the sources we looked into. We discovered that data concerning the target visitors of the Vatican is non-existent in the public domain. The unavailability of data is largely due to the fact that the Vatican tourism does not specifically target a set of visitors. People of all age groups, from different backgrounds, visit the Vatican. Even those who are disabled visit the Vatican and claim wheelchairs free of cost. In fact, the Vatican won an award in the area of disabled access.

However, we did come across a news piece that the Chinese are not allowed into the Vatican due to the city-state's religious discord with Beijing. We also found that kids and teenagers aged between 6 and 18, international students aged 25 and below, members of the clergy get special discounts on the Vatican Museum tickets. Additionally, the Vatican museums are free for visitation for children under 6, museum directors, some journalists and academics, some people with disabilities and their companions. Nevertheless, discounts and free visitation does not apply to seniors of any age.

Since third-party media sources did not reveal anything significant concerning the target visitors of the Vatican, we scanned the official government website of the Vatican. However, this search attempt did not return substantial data. We also looked for studies and surveys concerning Vatican tourism. The idea behind this attempt was to find leads about the tourists who typically visit the Vatican which can be utilized to identify the target visitors of the Vatican. But, the public domain does not consist of surveys or studies conducted on the said subject.

It is unclear whether tourism in the Vatican is booming. However, in 2018, the Vatican was considering limiting museum visitors because at least 10 visitors faint every day in crowds making way to Sistine Chapel. Additionally, based on the reviews on TripAdvisor, overcrowding is a common issue in the Vatican. Based on this information, it can be concluded that the Vatican's tourism is thriving. Nevertheless, it still doesn't explain why there is very limited information in the public domain regarding the target visitors of the Vatican.

In order to determine the special attractions or top attractions of the Vatican, we used a feature of TripAdvisor which catalogs the list of attractions based on travelers' ranking. Based on the ranking, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, La Pieta, and Stanze di Raffaello are the most special attractions of the Vatican. We also identified the overall customer/visitor perception of the Vatican through the data available on TripAdvisor. We analyzed the most recent (a month ago) reviews of the visitors and presented the overall customer perception of the Vatican. The reviews were classified as family, solo, couple, friends, and business. Each one of these categories was analyzed before we concluded the overall customer perception.
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Temple Square: Competitive Analysis (6)

Temple Square is perceived positively among visitors for its architecture and history. The square targets families, individuals interested in family history and Christians among others. Some attractions within Temple square include the Salt Lake Temple and Family History Library. Additional details are discussed below.

Visitor Perception

  • Temple Square has a very positive perception among visitors, with a rating of 4.5/5 among almost 5,000 reviews on Tripadvisor and 4.8/5 among over 20,000 reviews on Facebook.
  • According to Tripadvisor, Temple Square is the "symbolic heart of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints."
  • Visitor reviews often compliment Temple Square's architecture, history and seasonal decorations.
  • Many visitors note that they enjoyed temple square even though they are not associated with the LDS church, indicating that visiting the square is a positive experience regardless of religious affiliation.
  • U.S. News Travel Guides ranks Temple Square #1 among things to do in Salt Lake City. This review also points out that the square is enjoyable even for visitors who are not particularly religious.

Target Visitors

  • Temple square targets families looking for "wholesome activities" to do together
  • Temple square also targets families and individuals interested in learning about their genealogy through its Family History Library, which it claims is the largest such library in the world.
  • The Discovery Center within the Family History Library targets children and families, young single adults and youth groups.
  • Christians and those interested in Christian and LDS history are also target visitors for Temple Square.

Special Attractions

  • Temple Square's main attraction and namesake is the Salt Lake Temple, which is associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The temple cannot be toured, but the ground are open to visitors.
  • Another attraction of Temple Square is the Tabernacle Choir. Visitors can attend live performances of this world-renowned choir.
  • The Discovery Center at the Family History library is another attraction at Temple Square. In The Discovery Center, visitors can learn about their family history.
  • The Joseph Smith Memorial Building and LDS Church History Museum are attractions focused on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

From Part 01
From Part 02
From Part 04
  • "Mary’s Shrine welcomes pilgrims from around the country and around the world. Diocesan and ethnic pilgrimages are scheduled throughout the year, primarily in the Spring and the Fall."
  • "Tours for School, Parish, Organization or Pilgrimage Groups between 15 and 150 People"
  • "Sacred Music at the National Shrine strives to transform hearts and minds through the power and beauty of music in the Roman Catholic Liturgy."
  • "The Celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of the sacramental life of the Shrine, offering pilgrims the possibility of real transformation."
  • "Fulfilling this mission, Mary’s Shrine offers six Masses and five hours of Confession daily as well as Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the daily Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary, weekly and seasonal Novenas, the Stations of the Cross, and more."
  • "Within a most impressive building, the main church is massive containing innumerable paintings, murals and other artefacts demanding considerable time and attention to view."
  • "This Basilica is the most beautiful Church that I had visited on most of my trips. It has a lot of chapels and oratories of the saints and Our Lady. The ceiling has an amazing creation from tile mosaic."