Whether you’re planting a church, considering an overhaul of your current branding, or you just need to make things fresh, make sure you put in the time to do it right.
Why it matters
No matter where you’re located or what you believe, people are going to form an opinion about your church. And it’s usually not based on personal experience.
The brand that you establish for your church will affect your reputation in the community, even if you haven’t put any conscious effort into creating one. You want people to hear your name or see your logo and remember you—for the right reasons. A strong branding strategy will go a long way in giving your church that credibility in outreach.
More than an ichthus
You don’t need a logo that incorporates a cross, a dove, a fish, and a crown of thorns. People will probably know that you’re a church even if you don’t pack every single Biblical symbol into your design.
Nor do you need to name your church First Community Calvary Grace Bible Fellowship. We get it—you’re a church! Keep it simple rather than trying to incorporate too many stereotypical elements into your unique branding.
But your church brand is more than just your name, logo, and color scheme. Of course those elements are all important in solidifying your branding. But before you examine your tagline and fonts, make sure you’ve identified how you want to represent your church and consider these guidelines:
1. BE AUTHENTIC
While you want to attract new people to your church, you need to make sure that you’re doing it the right way. Your branding shouldn’t be a clever disguise that lures people in with false imagery and unrealistic expectations of who you are—stay true to your identity.
Consider your mission statement and what’s important to your church. If you’re having a difficult time pinpointing those unique elements, answer these questions to help you discover what the heart of your brand truly is.
2. BE RELEVANT
Relevance doesn’t mean becoming worldly or compromising your standards—it means relating to the community you’re trying to reach. What is your church doing to meet the needs of the overwhelming homeless population in your city? How are you helping single parent families in your area? Let these kinds of considerations influence your messaging as you develop a brand.
It also means avoiding acronyms or cryptic church-speak that might alienate the unchurched. Creative names for your kid’s ministry or Sunday school classes can be fun, but make sure they’re clear enough that a first time visitor would understand.
3. BE TRANSPARENT
If your church does meet a specific need in the surrounding community, express how a burden to reach troubled teens led local families to found your church. Let people know what makes your church distinctive.
Your branding should allow people to glean some insight into who you are as a church. That doesn’t mean telling your 20 year history in a logo, but that story should help shape your branding strategy.
4. BE UNIFIED
As your church considers its branding as a whole, make sure that everyone is on the same page. The sub-branding for each individual ministry should be complementary—it shouldn’t conflict with the church’s brand or compete with other ministries.
Your church should have a consistent, unified brand across all platforms, not silos that can be detrimental to the church. Once you have these strategies in place, opt for a brand guide that will keep everyone in the know.
Adapting as you grow
As your church grows, it will become increasingly difficult to enforce branding that stays true to your church identity. If you’re a multi-site church, determine early on how you’ll tackle this challenge—will each location have its own website, logo, social accounts? Even if you don’t have the resources to hire someone, entrust a single person with monitoring your brand on all levels.
Check out these other great resources on developing your church brand: