Several weeks ago Tony wrote a series of blog posts called Predictable. We talked about predictable worship services, ruts, creativity, leadership challenges and even predictable student ministry. Lately, I have noticed that churches are even creating predictable brands. (Don’t get hung up on the word “brand.” One definition of the word is simply “a particular kind or type of something.”) The pictures and websites all look the same. The design and styles of buildings are the same.
At a surface glance, most churches seem like they are growing, relevant and modern. Unfortunately many times the product doesn’t match the package.
Recently Jim Signorelli’s book, Storybranding: Creating the Stand-Out Brands Through The Power of Story really caught my attention. The book does a fantastic job of showing how companies (or churches) can stand out. Here are some ways churches can create standout brands based on some of Jim’s main thoughts:
- The purpose of your church brand should be to engage, inspire and motivate.
- When sharing stories, it is important to define the obstacles the audience is facing so they can be dealt with.
- The final goal of “marketing” should always be action.
- Products provide a function; a brand provides a meaning.
- The churches with the best brands are authentic. They do not try to be something they are not.
- It’s difficult for many churches to clearly and effectively share stories of life change because they already know the story they are trying to tell. Churches forget that the only thing that matters is not whether or not the story makes sense to them, but if the story sparks the attention and emotions of their listeners.
- Churches need to stop communicating messages that say “look at me.” Nobody cares about this type of message. Instead of bragging, strive to build a brand that can be perceived as one big story.
- Before beginning a new series or marketing campaign, always define your audience and your desired outcome.
- Churches should use technology to provide people ways to share the stories happening in their own lives.
- Don’t miss opportunities to tell stories through pictures and videos on a weekly basis.
- A church’s actions will always speak louder than their words.
- Shared values are always the foundation of strong relationships.
What do people think of when they hear your church name? What do people in the community think about your church? What feelings come to mind when your name is mentioned? That is your brand. Is it true to who you believe you are called to be?