Jessica DelpFollow

Publication Date

Spring 4-24-2019


School of Communication


Communication Studies: Advertising and Public Relations


Instagram, Hillsong, semiotics, semiotic theory, millennials, church, identity


Communication Technology and New Media | Marketing | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Communication | Public Relations and Advertising | Social Media


Identity has become an incessant focus for millennials. They ascribe ever-growing significance to identity anchored in an accepting community that elevates their perception. Subsequently, identity is increasingly significant for brand and consumer relationships. Successful brands understand this and incorporate a pervasive sense of their unique identity into their brand, visually and otherwise. This case study of Hillsong Church hopes to help churches understand the importance of visuals in communicating identity. Hillsong Australia’s Instagram is examined using the Saussure model of visual semiotic theory to understand how they present their church identity in relation to millennial identity. The two most dominant visual themes on their account are promotion and entertainment (respectively). Lesser themes are as follows; the Houston family, congregants, text-based visuals, holidays, landscapes, and a small “miscellaneous” category. Using these results, this thesis analyzes Christian scripture to better understand theological ramifications of social media practice. Working off this foundation, this thesis offers practical advice for local churches seeking to improve social media engagement and more accurately reflect their congregation.