I wonder what comes to mind for you when you think of church branding. Maybe it’s the really polished brands that you think of, or maybe you think of the other end of the spectrum: clip art that, though it looks like it was made before 1999, you know it was made recently. In this blog post I want to talk about the importance of taking your church’s brand seriously, but also, remembering that branding is not the main thing.
What is a church brand?
A church’s brand is the set of colours, fonts and principles that guide the media of the church and at it’s best it’s the visual representation of the values and vision of the church community. It also includes a logo, and includes the wider aspects of the brand and communications tools like the website, print materials, and in a way, the social networks and platforms that the church decides to use. In the words of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, “your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” Like the old adage about the way you treat yourself shows others how to treat you, a brand shows others how to talk about and even think about an organisation.
Why should churches brand themselves?
Therefore, a church brand is a great opportunity for a number of things. A church’s brand is usually the first thing someone will see and remember about the church, even before they arrive at the event or come on a sunday. It communicates to a non-member what to expect before they arrive at the service or event – it’s the light in the doorway. It’s the first sign someone gets about the style or tone of your events or services, and it’s the first hint of the type of welcome they might get. Is the service going to be confusing, or is it going to be clear and easily accessible? Are there going to be people like me on a sunday, or will I stand out?
Essentially, a church’s brand comes down to the welcome. The goal of a church’s brand should be to make people feel at ease, welcome, and confident about joining the community. This is as true about the flyers and adverts that a church may distribute for events, as it is for the screen in the church with the words.
But.. it’s not all about the brand
However, a church is undoubtedly, far more than a brand. I wonder whether your encounters with churches from the pre-2000 era were like mine. The flyers that come to mind from that time were these A5-sized, solid chunks of text, printed on a Deskjet 500, detailing various events or ministry evenings. An entire side filled with Arial or Times New Roman font, around 300 words, densely arranged on a sheet of yellow paper. Although, in hindsight, the flyer itself might not have drawn people in (if anything, quite the opposite!), the events themselves did. I remember coming to these events and encountering God in profound ways. A church encompasses so much more than its outward branding.
As I said, a church brand is at it’s best when it represents the communities’ vision and values. The brand is a by product of the thing, not the thing itself. But, like a light left on in a porch, or a warm welcome, the brand plays a pivotol roll in introducing people to what God is doing in a community.
This post was posted here on JH Designs, but also on Colab too, our sister organisation. If you are interested in finding out more about branding, why not book a free 30-minute call with Jack to audit your brand, and look for ways to improve your welcome through your branding.