Church branding is not rocket science. But from the scarcity of effective church brands, you’d think it was! From our decades of creating church brands that engage with the community (while informing the congregation), we’re taking on the task of listing EVERY step needed to establish a Church Brand.
There are 7. The perfect number for the Church
- ChMS Data. Church management systems (ChMS) are being used by churches to manage all the data associated with each member. This info is critical in understanding who you are as a church. It reveals the average age, gender breakdowns, how often they attend, if they give, where they live, and lots more. Effective communication rises and falls on how well you know your audience. The more you know, the better your brand focus can be. Don’t have ChMS software? Gather what you have from ledgers, notes, anecdotes, or conduct surveys. Focus groups can also help you (imagine, actually asking them). Get into their “why” of attendance. Or their “why nots”.
- Community Demographics. God’s placed you in your community for a reason. You’re called to engage and evangelize your “world”. So, from your ChMS data, determine where your families live and then, from the clustering (perhaps eliminating some outliers), draw a polygon around your “reach area”. Since birds of a feather flock together, there are many others like your congregation that live near them. Now, gather as much demographic research on the area. This is your church’s pipeline for building attendance. Get to know them. Jesus even called us to love them! That’s why you need to identify their needs, concerns, and goals. So you can love them effectively.
- Personas. Overlay your internal congregation info over the community’s data. Since the congregation comes from the community, your members should be reflected in the data! Describe stereotypical community groups in a paragraph description called personas. Discover what makes them tick! What are they waking up daily and pondering? You can’t reach everyone, so determine a primary and secondary group that you really want to engage with. Ensure it’s big enough, growing enough, and specific enough. Try to reach everyone? You’ll reach no one. Target a persona? You’ll often have more success and gain more attention from other groups.
- A Thread. Now position your church differently from all the other churches in your area with a thread that’s easy to remember and use. This tagline, should be 3-5 words and it should state the reason (benefit) why most attend (or should attend). A solution to one of their needs or a path to one of their goals. This IS your church brand. Because of the way you consistently control and use this thread, you become known for it. Since it was discovered from community data, it should be effective in gaining and keeping the attention of those around you. They’ll need you for it!
- Professional Logo. Since we live in a visual world, people require a professional logo that represents the thread (and themselves). Something that’s simple, recognizable, unique, and desired by your persona groups. CAREFUL: all visual communication items are based on the logo — so it must be created by someone who fully understands trends, design, and trademarks. It should be strong enough to last a dozen years or more! There’s a lot riding on it.
- Graphic Standard. Now, contain your brand. Left to their own desires, ministries will want to use the logo and brand elements (fonts, colors, logo, keywords, etc.) as they feel it should be used. “Doing what’s right in their own eyes” is a biblical concept — but not a good one! Every church needs to construct controls so all ministries maintain the creative fences. Have fun but don’t let anyone to cross the brand boundaries. A graphic standard (brand guide) ensures consistency will build a solid brand everywhere it’s used. CAREFUL: Give special attention to this document if you allow ministries to do their own communication materials (decentralized strategy), or if you use several designers, videographers, or agencies.
- Time. All brands require time because, even with the required, consistent controls, your church brand will take a few years to establish itself. There’s no rushing this time! People need to see and authentically experience your brand foundation over time for it to be remembered and promoted! Since “regular church attenders” can mean as little as 1-2 per month; in an entire year, many of your members will only be immersed in your branded church experience about 20-30 times. That’s not much! People working closely with the brand (you!) will risk getting bored of it MUCH sooner than the congregation. And your community will take even longer. CAREFUL: If you’re NOT tired of your thread, logo, and brand foundation as an employee or active volunteer, you’re probably not weaving the brand thread enough!