What is Church Branding?
Building a church brand is not about following trends or portraying particular functions, features, or activities. It goes beyond your church logo design, graphics, name, tagline, beliefs, and brand identity. These signify who you are, what you represent, and whom you serve.
Ultimately, your church branding strategy should encompass efforts to build an organizational reputation and shepherd a community of faith. You can navigate the imagery, emotions, and facts to influence what members and visitors hear, read, or think about your church. Most importantly, you can advance how your church's unique role and promise, values, and mission are lived out and upheld- as they align with God's will.
Faith nurturing and kingdom building becomes amplified when a church unifies its voice and visuals. A church brand identity design can be structured to be more consistent and relatable, as continuous efforts are made to monitor, maintain, and refresh a brand image over time (years). And a more cohesive, compelling, and visible brand can bear fruit for generations to come.
Church brands can inspire community action with a stronger sense of togetherness. The human exchange and experiences that happen within a church community can influence families and individuals to join. And these new members become motivated to encourage others to do the same.
Effective church brands promote an aspirational lifestyle in Christ. This takes years of planning, execution, knowledge, creativity, and prayerful discernment. We should invite and ask God to lead and strengthen these efforts.
Why is a Church Branding Strategy Important?
When people view your Church or Christianity for the first time, there is one inevitable, back-of-the-mind question- "Why should I care?" Even your congregation's attention, attendance, and actions subliminally operate around this question.
Clearly, the answer is Christ, His salvation, and finding a true purpose in Him to carry out His will. However, a Christ-centered brand readily serves a vessel to carry His message to more hearts and minds. The right strategy exponentially brings people together within a given place and time (municipality and era) to harvest collective impact and individual faith-driven actions.
When a church establishes a clear community image and brand personality, it becomes a huge asset and opportunity to increase engagement, nurture faith, mobilize discipleship, and cultivate the mindset to serve others.
Beyond establishing the means for a more inviting atmosphere, a church brand strategy also anticipates a member's willingness and ability to bring others. All of these desirable outcomes rarely happen without a plan or fundamental approach. If so, can robust generation growth happen without a church proactively establishing, implementing, maintaining, and adhering to specific methods and guidelines?
Effective church branding boils down to what you do with a cohesive strategy and church brand identity, as recognition and trust build with time.
What is a church brand identity systems and guidelines?
The process of any church brand design project should ultimately generate assets with guidelines to enhance the clarity, cohesion, and style of your communications. Whether you are rebranding a church or comprehensively building a brand from scratch, aim to establish a new principled style, voice, and visuals.
Your mission, vision, and values should bring context to the design process and deliverables produced. As a result, the stories told by your Church, worship content, messages to inspire and invite, and any other communication efforts should all support a favorable brand image, as they uniquely set your church and community apart.
To explore a detailed outline of best church branding approaches (church logo design and building a clear, cohesive, & compelling brand), click on the "INFO" tab next to these church branding examples.
How would a church branding package with highly-specific guidelines account for worship content, special events, and seasonal content?
For church and ministry brands, it is challenging to decipher which initiatives should be communicated under your full brand identity system or not. Capital campaigns, special events, sermon series, movement campaigns, retreats, and inspirational social media posts are examples of instances where you might want to deviate from a church brand design to focus your audience on a particular initiative.
Yes, your brand identity system should ultimately serve as the foundation for future church communication and outreach designs.
No, your brand colors and other brand elements might not work seamlessly with all auxiliary event promotions such as- Easter or a Women's retreat.
Therefore, any deviations from your brand design should aim to preserve aesthetic cohesion (without stifling better ways to connect the feelings and emotions behind your spiritual and faith-based content).
To decipher when to use your brand design or create new derivative works, here's a helpful diagram breaking down this concept.
How Does Building a Church Brand aid the process of bringing others to Christ?
Building a church branding strategy can be somewhat complicated. Establishing an impactful reputation is a difficult task. However, articulating how your church wishes to be perceived is NOT impossible!
It just takes time to plan, execute, and evolve a sound church brand strategy and identity that performs the following:
// 1. Aim to portray an apparent purpose rather than to describe the church's mode of operation. Your branding should fully embody who you are as a church- at a human level.
// 2. Communicate why your ministry matters to the community and the world. Develop a unique position and message that the garners support you need to bring others to Christ.
// 3. Communicate the essence of your existence as opposed to the day-to-day functions of your church. Express the sum of your church's ministry, beliefs, values, behaviors, and visual signifiers.
// 4. Building upon your generational legacy, submerge the brand strategy into your church's cultural fabric. Your desired thought associations would morph into perceptions held in the minds of your audience.
// 5. Don't expect to fully control your church brand image, as it ultimately resides in the minds of your intended audience. God gives man free will and thought. The overall importance of church branding is to showcase Him at work. Establish a core promise, identity, and a reputation that influences others to seek, find, and support your "brand" of a Christian lifestyle, spiritual output, and community fellowship. Inspire actions within your growing community to carry out God's will, and this should define your reputation and earn trust.
Why is it essential to establish cohesive church marketing materials and a church branding guide?
Many of our clients seek to build a brand identity that reflects their values, style of worship, and community. Their need to craft the right visuals around a unique voice derives from the following: new board members or pastors, church mergers, church plants, new locations, building remodels, new mission/vision, ministry expansions, declining membership, multi-cultural and generational growth, etc. These scenarios often prompt the sharpening of church communications, hence the need for a new church logo and brand design.
If you are currently exploring various church branding companies, consider one that understands that church branding is a continuous process. They should also understand your long-term goal to grow, monitor, manage, and maintain your church brand in-house.
Our agency, Abstract Union, assists churches and ministries on a project to project basis, with a clear scope of service and cost. What we do is highly adaptable to who you are, your budget, and your current and future in-house capabilities.
We believe that "Christian brands" (so to speak) should be living, breathing, and embodying a Christ-aligned spiritual core. We help churches and ministries stand firm in their beliefs and traditions while remaining open to explore new media, communication techniques, and touchpoints for outreach, nurturing faith, and kingdom building.
Church branding 101 recap, final thoughts on rebranding a church
With regards to building a better church brand identity, aim to develop and monitor your unique role and promise. This is a significant component of church growth. Your church's single most significant idea, mission, goal, or focus should be communicated with the utmost clarity and consistency. These are the fundamentals of establishing a lasting impression, a trustworthy reputation, and effective church communications (of any kind).
Beyond your congregation witnessing life-changing growth firsthand, your church should explore new ways to boost and retain engagement. How you connect with individuals that have a longing to belong or are far from God is highly important! Good news- you have more methods now than ever before to connect and appeal to others. The challenge- your church brand (or lack thereof) becomes consequential as you strive to build a vibrant and mobilized community. Portraying and emphasizing how your mission, vision, values, and goals align with God's will is paramount. We'll work hard at it. He steps in. And these efforts will start to garner more support and bear fruit.