Did you know that your church’s branding has the power to either attract or repel visitors? After all, first impressions go a long way in today’s media-driven culture!
However, many churches end up making common branding mistakes that are counterproductive to all their marketing and promotional efforts. Keep reading to find out what these errors are and how your church can either avoid or fix them.
Author of Branding Faith, Phil Cooke says that your church brand “is about the story that surrounds who you are – a story that creates focus for your ministry”. In this blog post, we have highlighted six mistakes that could be stopping your church brand from successfully communicating your story.
1. CREATING MULTIPLE BRANDS WITHIN A BRAND
Your church is one cohesive brand. Your ministries are an extension of your church – not independent identities. Therefore, using multiple graphics, logos and messaging for different aspects of your ministry will only dilute your church’s brand presence.
Take a look at the different names that Red Rocks Church uses for its ministries: Red Rocks Worship, Red Rocks Youth, Kids Rock and Red Rocks Sports. All these names strengthen the single brand identity of the church.
In addition, remember to use the same logo and similar language for all your church communication, be it on your website, letterhead or newsletters. Mars Hill Church, for example, uses one logo across all its videos, sermons and articles, thus reinforcing its strong brand identity.
2. GOING TRENDY FOR THE SAKE OF IT
Many churches use phrases and design elements that sound and look “cool”, but don’t match their church’s personality and values in any way. Your church might invest in designing a good-looking and contemporary church logo, but it will be of no use if it doesn’t reflect your church’s character.
In fact, some churches incorporate commonly used buzzwords and acronyms – such as LOL, GTG, chill or vibe – in their communication. While you might think that such language helps your church connect with youngsters, it actually comes across as unprofessional and fake. Remember to be authentic in all your branding and communication efforts.
3. NOT GETTING PROFESSIONAL HELP
Creating a successful brand image requires an in-depth understanding of how branding works and what makes a great brand. However, many churches make the mistake of assigning this crucial job to any friend or church member who can design and write content.
Not just that, churches often leave the decision of narrowing down on a logo and tagline to church committees that have little or no knowledge of designing and branding. As a result, they end up with a brand image that’s not only poorly designed but also ineffective.
You need to hire a marketing professional to help you create your church’s brand identity. However, make sure that the concerned person or team understands your church’s vision. Have you handed over your church’s branding to amateur hands?
4. USING UNCLEAR LANGUAGE
Clear and specific messaging is one of the key elements of any successful brand. Let’s assume that your church caters more for families and kids, rather than the youth and single individuals. In that case, you need to use words and phrases in your brand message to capture the family-friendly atmosphere at your church. Stay clear from edgy and contemporary terms that will not be relevant to your target audience. Such messaging will paint an incorrect picture of your church.
Moreover, it’s important that you use clear instructions and calls-to-action in your printed or digital communication. For example, if you want to invite people to a church programme specifically for married couples, don’t use vague language like “Drop in on Tuesday to check out [name of programme]”. Instead, specify whom the programme is for and what it aims to do. Try something like – “Looking to strengthen your marriage? Drop in with your partner on Tuesday to learn more about building a Christ-centred marriage”.
5. LIMITING YOUR BRANDING TO YOUR LOGO
Your church logo is very important. A well-thought-out logo can be a stepping stone to building a long-lasting brand for your church. However, many churches make the mistake of treating their logo as their brand.
The truth is that your church’s brand identity is much bigger than your logo. You need to focus on using communication, language, images etc., to build a strong brand identity for your church.
In fact, your brand is made up of all the words, visuals, stories and expectations that surround your church. So, don’t limit your branding efforts to your logo.
6. COPYING OTHER CHURCHES
It’s alright to look to other big and successful churches for inspiration while creating your church’s brand. Many churches, however, take it too far by adopting the look, feel and messaging of other churches. In fact, some even end up creating a chaotic mash-up of different church identities.
The repercussions of such a mistake can be devastating. People who are attracted to your brand identity will be disappointed to find a different reality on the ground. Therefore, you need to make sure that your branding is backed up by your church culture, events and ministries.
How many of these branding mistakes is your church making? We hope that this blog post will help you either avoid or fix these dangerous errors.