A pretty logo or cool website isn’t enough nor is it effective without a brand strategy. Design without a purpose is simply a pretty piece of art. A logo is important, but it is only one component of your brand. Let’s begin by defining a few things.
What is a brand?
A brand can be very difficult to define as it can be applied differently depending on your industry. It is an experience customers, or in the case of churches, guests walk away with. It is the personality of your church, the voice, the message, the mission, the culture, and how all that is portrayed in your design, your website, your communications, and in everything you do. The logo is a defining mark that identifies all that with a simple iconic image.
What is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a plan to incorporate all the elements that you discover about yourself and your church into your communications both internally and externally. Before you can reach out to your community with your fresh new brand you have to onboard the people within your organization, starting with the staff all the way down to the church members to mobilize to the new heartbeat of your organization. You need them to be on board and active in spreading your message, in the same way, you as leaders, would.
Once you have completed the on boarding process for your staff and church membership now it is time to reach out into the community. Part two of a brand strategy is outreach. Your members should be equipped to become brand ambassadors in the community around them.
Everything you do to reach your community should maintain that same voice and culture; that is your brand. It’s not always about being consistent in colors and design style, because sometimes you have to switch those things up to get people’s attention. The consistency should be in communication which will often lead to a level of consistency in important things like logo placement etc.
So how do we go about getting a brand strategy?
Begin by evaluating your current brand. Is it a brand? Or is it just a logo? Should you consider a rebrand? Are you consistent in your communication? If not consider getting a brand strategist to help you. Ask yourself this: If your church had a voice and a personality what would that sound like? What would it look like? What would it say?
You might think all churches should be the same. After all, isn’t the Gospel consistent no matter who you are? Yes, the Gospel never changes, but churches do have different cultures that God uses to reach different groups of people and that is ok. Don’t try to hard to be like the church down the street. Be authentic to yourself and your church’s culture.
A few items about church brands that I have learned.
Some churches fall for the trap of trying to win people out with slick designs, slick websites, and slick programs. People eventually see through all this and leave in search of something more authentic.
That is the key I feel. Authenticity. Having an attractive design is not bad. Your website should look good, but it should also have a purpose that is easy to follow. Your graphic communications should have a purpose that is driven by your marketing and design strategies. For churches, it’s all about reaching people and helping them wherever they are at in life and helping them on their journey to discover Jesus.