Browse
Branding is Not a Bad Word

Branding is Not a Bad Word

Posted November 13, 2018 by Chris Hunt

Recently, I made the case that “marketing” is not a bad word. In the context of churches, marketing is about making a straight path for the gospel. Well, brand isn’t a bad word either. Many church leaders don’t think branding matters for their church, but it does. How you live out your church’s brand should help people see the gospel clearly and easily, not muddy the waters, or create unnecessary barriers. Let’s look at some smart ways to implement your church’s brand and at some things you should avoid.
 

What is brand anyway?

When we think of the word “brand,” products and logos often leap to mind. We instantly think about the Golden Arches, the Nike swoosh, and the Apple…well, apple. Logos, taglines, and “look and feel” are all part of a brand, but at its essence brand is about a promised experience. When you go through a McDonald’s drive-thru or fire up your Mac, you expect to have specific and consistent experiences. Fancy marketing and logos didn’t train you to respond to these brands the way you do. Positive brand associations are created when you rely on a product, company, or service time and again and they consistently deliver and delight you (whether or not you want to admit it). A good brand is authentic and delivers exactly what you expect. You may pay more for an Apple iPhone or MacBook, but you know that it’ll “just work” as soon as you start using the product. Of course, your church isn’t peddling hamburgers or smartphones, but rather, offering fellowship and hope in Jesus Christ. The principle of a positive brand, however, remains the same.
 

Good branding is authentic

Your church’s brand must authentically reflect who you are as a particular body of Christians. How do you uniquely reflect God's presence, live out his word, love his people, and reflect his culture? It’s God’s presence, his word, his loving people, and their corporate culture that make up this essential experience. Strong church brand expressions send clear messages to the community, tell credible stories about who the church is, and connect with visitors emotionally and spiritually. While branding does offer some opportunity to share what your church would like people to think about it, it’s more important that your brand accurately reflect what people actually think about your church. At my own church, for example, our modest branding uses simple colors and a subtle logo, and relies more heavily on actual images of our congregation in worship and service to communicate our values of welcome and participation. Your logo, tagline, and the look and feel of your branding should reflect your church’s authentic experience and affirm your church’s brand promise to a visitor each time they visit.
 

Strong brands are consistent

Consistent theme, color palettes, fonts, and logos help visually capture the authentic culture and worship experience in your church. A simple, well-designed logo can help your church get noticed and hint at what you’re all about. Color palettes draw the eye and express mood. Consistent use of palettes and fonts also reinforce connections between the various parts of your church, giving unity, for example, to different ministries like Children's and Youth.

ReFrame Media, the publisher of Church Juice, produces a family of six different programs. Each of these sub-brands has its own look and feel and features distinct content for a particular audience, yet complementary fonts and color palettes unify the programs around ReFrame’s mission to invite media users to encounter and know Jesus. In addition, every program reflects ReFrame’s values of inclusiveness, positivity, and even scrappiness in voice and tone. Similarly, ReFrame Media’s own branding closely aligns with that of its parent organization, Back to God Ministries International. You can use consistent, complementary brand elements to connect the different ministries and activities of your church.
 

Don’t overthink it

Brand is a fairly simple concept, but unfortunately, many brand managers over-complicate it. If you find yourself overthinking your church’s branding, consider that less is more and simple is better. In matters of design, consistent brand elements work better; however, your consistency need not be slavish.

 

Brand isn’t a bad word and your church can make good use of branding principles to ensure that your logo, tagline, and visual elements evoke an authentic experience and promise. Used consistently, and without overthinking it, your church’s brand can mark out a straight path to the gospel.

Filed under: Branding

About the Author

Chris Hunt

Chris sees marketing and communications as vehicles for changing lives through the gospel of Christ. He manages marketing campaigns at ReFrame Media, the parent ministry of Church Juice. Chris and his wife, Sarah, have five children and serve as leaders in their church. In his spare time, Chris enjoys playing board games.

Don't miss a post

Join our email list

Comments (1)

  • Happy Bulletin
    10:52 AM
    Wed, Nov 14, 2018

    When I was on staff a large church as their web guy, the “b-word” was always associated with a worldly/secular perspective. Being part of the Communications Department, we had a more defined understanding of what Branding and Brand Strength was. Those outside our department, however, cringed and asked us to use a different word. I never got upset at them reacting this way, since it was understandable. Even if a Comm Dept doesn’t use those words to the others, having the understanding you’ve mentioned and the strategic approach to leverage that understanding, is the most important takeaway.

    Nice post. Thanks Chris smile

Leave a Comment

Share your thoughts about this blog post with us.
All fields are required.

Recent Posts

Death by a Thousand Cuts
Death by a Thousand Cuts
2

Posted April 17, 2019 by Owen Scott

Communications ministry is an always-flowing stream of demands—on your time, energy, and heart. If you’re not careful it could kill you, not in a big show of force, but slowly over a thousand cuts. Take time to set yourself up to thrive in communications ministry.
Podcast: What to do When Your Attendance Drops at Easter
Podcast: What to do When Your Attendance Drops at Easter
0

Posted April 15, 2019 by Bryan Haley

We’re talking with a pastor of a growing church that sees their attendance drop on Easter. What do they do instead?
Clarifying Your Message
Clarifying Your Message
0

Posted April 10, 2019 by Bryan Haley

We’re all busy. What you communicate needs to be clear, concise, and compelling to be as effective as possible.
Podcast: Partnering With Your Community
Podcast: Partnering With Your Community
0

Posted April 8, 2019 by Bryan Haley

Easter is a great time to find new ways to partner with your community. Here’s the story of how one church partnered with their community for an Easter egg hunt.
We’d Love Your Feedback
We’d Love Your Feedback
0

Posted April 3, 2019 by Bryan Haley

Your feedback will help make Church Juice an even-better resource for your church.
The Ultimate List of 25 Free Stock Photo Sites for Churches
The Ultimate List of 25 Free Stock Photo Sites for Churches
4

Posted March 27, 2019 by Bryan Haley

Sometimes stock photos are needed to fill gaps or spark creativity. Here are 25 websites with completely free photos for your church.
Podcast: Knowing Who You Are
Podcast: Knowing Who You Are
0

Posted March 25, 2019 by Bryan Haley

How to pull off an excellent Easter service while being true to who you are.
Talk the Talk: Basics To Developing A Communications Strategy
Talk the Talk: Basics To Developing A Communications Strategy
0

Posted March 20, 2019 by Sherri Jones

Effective communication is the key to keep people connected and move them to action.
Podcast: Advertising Easter
Podcast: Advertising Easter
0

Posted March 18, 2019 by Bryan Haley

What are the best ways to advertise your Easter services and events?
“But No One Told Me!” Tips on Improving Staff Communication
“But No One Told Me!” Tips on Improving Staff Communication
3

Posted March 13, 2019 by Kristen Eleveld

Trying to keep your team in the loop can be overwhelming and frustrating. How do you give people the information they need without overloading their inbox? Read on for some ideas on how to keep your staff up to date—and your day running a little smoother.