Is there a way to take the very best branding ideas from today’s Fortune 500 companies and apply them to the church? Of course, take Doritos—a brand we all know and love. One of their most popular YouTube commercials came from someone in the community who decided to go out and film their own ad just because they love Doritos. That is what branding is all about. You’ve got to ask yourself if your brand is just about you, or is it about your community. Your church has a brand whether you are being strategic about it or not. What brand are you creating for people to be a part of in your church?
So, how do you start making your brand less about you and more about your community? Listen. Ask people questions and listen to what they are really saying. People respond well when they feel they’ve been heard. Take a look at the brand Converse—why do they have 29,619,939 likes on Facebook? Because they incorporated music. On first thought, music has nothing to do with shoes, but then that’s the point. They focused less on themselves and more on their community. What was their community excited about? Music. Converse invited local bands to come out and play for free, put music from the bands on Facebook, added some pictures and their brand awareness grew like crazy. Converse didn’t have to ask people to “like” them on Facebook, but fans chose to “like” them as they felt like they were really a part of the Converse brand.
Just like social media, online and offline efforts must be partnered to create a consistent brand. Technology is not the answer; people are the answer. Technology is just a tool; it’s just a medium. Don’t forget the reason you are “branding” to begin with is to connect with real people. Real people cannot promise formulated results, but the best thing you can do with your brand is stick it out; longevity is a key to build trust and relationships with people.
With that in mind, I’ve recently presented six ways to create a consistent church brand at Orange, a conference for children’s ministry leaders. These are all simple, straightforward things any church can do to increase their church brand:
1) Good branding in your church is more than a good feeling.
It’s not only our job to help connect with people on an emotional level, but it is truly our job to help people connect on a spiritual level. Good branding goes past the emotion and truly brings color to someone’s life in a spiritual way.
2) Complexity to simplicity.
It’s very easy to make things complex, but you have to work very hard to make things simple. If you had to define your ministry in one word, could you do it?
3) Design consistency.
If you don’t stay consistent, you might as well tell your audience you really don’t know what you’re doing.
4) Be relevant.
This does not mean play Lady Gaga in your church because she’s the most followed person on Twitter. Being relevant to your community may mean you teach them to be better parents or how to help out a neighbor.
5) Great companies and brands tell stories.
God has given everyone a story. Every great story has a story of redemption, a story of grace. Tell your story, and then tell the greatest story.
6) It isn’t about you.
What does this all mean? Grasp what your community wants and needs, and you can become a great brand. What problems are you solving for your community? On a practical level? It’s been too long since the church has asked this question.
If you want to make your brand successful, remove YOU from the center and put your focus on what your community’s needs are. They are speaking louder than words. Through their art, their dance, their protests, their crimes. The full presentation from Orange can be downloaded here.