Why Branding Matters So Much in the Church
Branding. It shows that you know who you are and what you are about – and it helps attract people that identify with who you are.
In the church world, often it’s simply the actions of the church that give it its “brand.” In the corporate world, it’s the catchy line – “Just Do It” or “I’m Loving it!” or “Think Different” – that shows people that you and your organization have it together. As a leader in your church, if you bring up branding in a meeting, you might get some peculiar looks across the table. I mean, every church exists to spread the Gospel, right? You are in the church to raise up good Christian families to go out and live out the Gospel in a fallen world – to share, care, and love the lost. Why do you need branding? And what does it look like in a church?
The church’s brand is like shorthand for communicating what that particular church is all about. You can tell what a church is like, usually based on the font the church uses in its logo, provided the branding is on point and thought out. If the logo is in Century Schoolbook or Times New Roman font, it’s probably a more traditional church. If the font is in a modern sans-serif, the church is probably more contemporary.
Here are a few rules for branding your church: Define who you are, be consistent internally and externally, and communicate well.
Define who you are so that you can be the best steward of your talents.
Likely, you know who you are as a church. But does everyone on your staff and do all of your volunteers know it? Could they share – think elevator pitch – who your church is to your community?
Are you an evangelistic church, concerned more with salvations than any other aspect of the Christian life? Then your events would be geared toward those where your congregants are encouraged to invite the unsaved and you expect to have altar calls. Is your congregation service-oriented? Perhaps your facilities are in an area that has a large population of poor or underserved who need consistent help with basic life needs. You would attract people who both need what you offer and those who love to serve the needy.
The important thing is to know who you are. You have an identity; define it for everyone. It will be your guide in times of decision-making and it will help you figure out which fork in the road to take. You cannot be everything to everyone. Define who you are and create the brand based on that definition. The lost in the community need to be able to identify with your church and your brand.
Be consistent so that everyone stays on mission.
Whatever your church is about must be made clear to staff, congregants, and visitors. Don’t assume everyone just knows. Be aggressive in communicating the vision and the mission via the church brand. This means everything, from your bulletin to your online presence to your social media and external marketing, must be cohesive and consistent. Make sure your information distribution is accurate and supports your brand. If you were to change who you are regularly, you would quickly lose your congregants’ focus because they wouldn’t know what to expect.
Companies routinely look at their branding to make sure they are hitting their target. If they make a change in their branding, it is as global as can be – everyone will hear about it. They will immediately be consistent and aggressive in telling their market who they are. This consistent brand communication will help keep your current members and help attract new members that will fit in with the church body.
Communicate to attract new members.
You must communicate consistently so when a someone in your community sees a piece of marketing, they will understand what they are seeing and how they can respond. In addition to your messaging, this means your choice of font/colors/style must be consistent with how you have defined or branded yourself. Everything from the posters to the social media must be consistent, accurate, and back up your brand. When the bulletin is put together, check it. Are the times correct? Are the colors/font/layout consistent with last week? Why? Because when you go to nearly any website that you frequent, you don’t have to think about where the information is that you are seeking. You just know where the buttons are and you go there. Congregants should have the same benefit. Visitors who choose to stay at your church will know that you communicate well, and we all know that’s important to both you and them.
Churches are all proclaiming the same basic message: Jesus Christ was born, crucified, and raised from the dead so we can be purified from sin. However, there are many ways to share that simple message. Some churches are very evangelistic; others are intent on international missions; yet others are service oriented. Your “brand” is who you are as a church community. Define who you are, be consistent, and communicate well.