In my experience, when churches hear the word “brand,” they think of one thing—a logo.
Of course, your church logo is a central part of how you present yourself, but your brand is so much more exciting than this!
A helpful way to think about your church’s brand is the idea of “touchpoints.” Every interaction that occurs between the church and someone in your audience is a touchpoint. Your brand, therefore, is a summary of all of these touchpoint experiences.
Of course, different people will have different experiences. That’s why it is so important to be consistent with how your branding is applied, so that your values are presented through every touchpoint.
Right now you might be worried that this sounds like a mammoth job! Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here with some helpful tips.
By focusing on some core principles, you can make sure your brand is represented well across multiple platforms and formats. Being consistent with your church brand helps ensure your church is presented well, whilst also providing familiarity for your audience, as you become increasingly recognizable.
The first step may be obvious to some, but having a clear set of guidelines for your church brand will go a long way to ensuring it is applied consistently.
Brand guidelines can be long documents like this one from NikeFootball, or fancy websites like this one from Uber’s latest brand update. But they can also be as simple as a style tile, like this example.
Whichever format your guidelines take, they should be easy to follow for anyone who needs to publish on behalf of your church.
What to include?
It’s up to you to decide the level of detail for your guidelines, but here are some elements to consider:
- Fonts—which typefaces should people use on your publicity? Think about titles, headings and body text, and whether these should use different fonts or variants of the same one.
- Colors—which colors does your brand use? Be sure to include actual color values, like RGB, HEX, or CMYK codes, as well as visual examples so that the exact colors can be used.
- Logos—do you have a logo? Include it here with some examples of how (or how not!) to use it. Do you have different versions for black and white print, or a smaller marque to use in place of your full logotype? Include these variations, too.
- Imagery—what types of images work for your brand? Which images don’t fit with your visual style? Sometimes you’ll hear this referred to as a mood board. It helps identify what you want people to think or feel when they see your brand.
- Voice—what does your brand sound like? Consider including some helpful pointers for those tasked with writing text content.
When you have your guidelines in place, you need to make sure that they’re being adhered to. Become a “brand champion” and make sure that the visual elements of your publicity fit with the brand you’re aiming for. In many cases this won’t happen overnight, but you can work toward consistency over time.
Schedule a regular review in your calendar and compare all of your recent publicity side by side. It can be really helpful to keep a file with copies of all your church publicity—this could be a folder where you keep a physical copy, or you could use an online tool like Trello or Google Drive. You could even create a private Pinterest board.
However you do it, your scheduled review will give you an instant feel for your branding. You’ll be able to consider some key questions. For example: is there a coherence between your publications? Do they fit together visually or are they a mismatch of styles, colors and fonts? Do you need an action plan to address any issues that you’ve noticed?
Your review time can help prioritize the focus of your branding efforts in the coming months.
The logo litmus
Here’s a simple litmus test to see how well your whole brand is being applied: remove your church name or logo from the design. Is it still clear from a visual point of view that this publicity belongs to your church?
This might be an opportunity to seek feedback from those outside of your church—what do they think of your branding? Seeing other perspectives can give you a more objective view of your church’s brand.
Quality branding can really help to cut through the noise, making your publicity stand out to your audience, and making your message stick in their minds. Hopefully these practical tips can help you to practice consistent branding across all of your church publicity!