When someone in the church mentions branding, we all immediately jump at the thought of a nice new logo. We think ‘Ooh yes, how wonderful it will be to have a nice logo on our sign out the front, and on our letterhead!'
What many people don’t realise, however, is that branding encompasses so much more than just a simple logo. Otherwise, it would be called ‘logoing’.
A lot of people also believe that branding is just for big companies, or people who have the money to invest in looking fancy. This is not the case either. See, whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, your church already has a brand.
So then what is branding? Why is branding more than just a logo? And what do you mean that my church already has a brand? Let’s dive in…
What is branding?
We’ve talked about what branding isn’t. But now it’s important that we cover what branding is. Check out what entrepreneur.com has to say:
"Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be." - Entrepreneur.com
But this all sounds very business-y, so let me break it down for you!
Your brand is how people perceive the culture and personality of your church. It should reflect your beliefs, your focus, and your personality.
There are tangible parts of your brand that people can see and hear, such as your logo, your colours, your website, your music.
Then there are the intangible parts of your brand that include the experience you provide and the voice of your brand.
Now, you might remember that I previously said you already have a ‘brand’ at your church. I think that’s true. Because a brand is really the personality behind your church, it’s more about uncovering your brand personality than it is about finding the perfect logo [logos are still important of course, but uncovering your brand is the best place to start]. If you’re still finding this all a little mystifying, you’ll be glad to know that I have a free ‘Brand Personality Workbook’ that’ll take you through the process of getting to know what your church is actually on about.
You can also try asking these questions:
- Which three words do you want other people to associate with your church? (ie. family-friendly, Christ-like, light & bright…)
- What is your church all about?
- What age-groups/types of people are you hoping to attract to your church?
- What kind of mood or tone would you like your church to convey?
One thing we need to be careful to avoid is the idea that your church brand is only related to your beliefs. This is not the case. Think about it:
The last time you were on a church-search, you were probably looking for a church that had the same beliefs and values as you. But was that the only thing you were wanting? Or did you have a list of essentials? Maybe you wanted a great kids program, or excellent music, or heart-changing sermons?
Your brand is about communicating all of those things too.
So, what does a good brand look like, and what is an example of branding-done-wrong?
Branding done wrong:
If this is your site, or your website looks like this, that’s totally okay. I’m not trying to brand-shame you, but rather show you an example of how you could communicate your mission and vision more effectively through branding choices.
What’s wrong here:
- No link between the colours, patterns, fonts, images used
- Too many font variations
- No consistent colour palette
- Lacking the name of the organisation
- Lacking a Value Proposition Statement (ie. specific but short description of what the organisation does)
- Logo does not visually link to the organisation’s mission
- Wording (called ‘copy’) sounds like it has been written by a few different people
- Not user-friendly or easy to understand
- Not aesthetically pleasing
- No photos of people or anything for visitors to visualise a physical location
That’s just a few of the things that jumped out at me when I found this site.
Now, I'm not pointing out these problems to satisfy my love for beautiful websites. I'm mentioning these things because when there is a disconnect in your branding, it ultimately suggests to outsiders that there is a disconnect in your church. Now, that might not be the case, but when it appears as though that's what's happening, it can affect your church’s reputation and your opportunities for growth.
Thankfully, everything that I have pointed out in the example above is totally fixable, and when you put the work into making things memorable and easy for people, you’ll draw more people in naturally.
Branding done well:
Disclaimer: when I say ‘branding done well’, it doesn't mean that you have to make your branding exactly the same as this example. You do you! But I always find that seeing what works well inspires me to make my own branding work well.
What’s great here:
- Everything is laid out clearly and simply
- There is a clear statement indicating what they do, in everyday language
- Fonts and headings are used consistently
- There are specific brand colours used
- User-friendly experience - they have thought about the visitors to their website and what they will be looking for
- Friendly-looking people pictured
Now of course, these are just examples of websites (branding extends to much more than just a website), but you can see that through clever branding, you can present the same information in a much more appealing, memorable, and user-friendly way.
And, when something is appealing, simple and memorable, you’re well on your way to attracting new people to your church.
Have questions, comments or thoughts on this post? I’d love to hear them! Tweet me @salt_society and let me know!