Your logo may be the most visible part of your identity or brand, but there are other pieces to the puzzle, that, when put together in a consistent, compelling, and coherent way add up to a strong brand presence that is quick and easy to spot.
Here's a good article from our friends at MarketingProfs.com that gives a good foundation on what's needed in your branding toolkit: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2010/3520/achieve-compelling-visual-coherence-build-a-brand-identity-toolkit-thats-flexible-durable-shareableand-yours/?adref=znnpbsc41410
Every church has a unique story that should be life changing. Focusing on what your core message is, and how to say it can make all the difference. Church Logo Gallery recommends this free article from our friends at MarketingProfs.com to hep craft your message: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2010/3505/articulate-to-resonate-crafting-and-communicating-messages-that-matter
A few weeks ago, The Center for Church Communications/Church Marketing Sucks published an interview with board member Maurillo Amorim. Here is one response from the interview.
Maurilio Amorim: Church Marketing is getting more professional, so in a sense things are getting better but the expectations also have risen for the quality of church marketing. The advent of the pre-designed, “put-your-logo-here” packages have helped a lot of churches but it also has elevated the expectation for all churches and created confusion on brand promise. The problem is one of true brand identity and how to communicate that with integrity to the church’s own unique DNA.
Overall, I agree and thought it was a positive, thoughtful answer. The good news:
- Church Marketing is getting more professional
- Expectations have risen for the quality of church marketing
- Pre-designed packages have helped a lot of churches
The challenges brought on by higher quality:
- Better quality has raised the bar and left churches expecting more
- Confusion is created because the designs aren't a perfect match with the church
- The brand image of the church suffers when the designs don't align with a church's unique DNA
In a perfect world, every church would enjoy custom branding (logo, website, bulletins, brochures, signs, and other visual tools) that are high quality and align with the church's DNA (who and what the church is all about). If a church has the financial means, and a relationship with a designer or design team that understands the personality of the church, this is an ideal way to go.
Unfortunately, the price of custom design and printing may be out of reach for many churches. What then? Three suggestions:
1. Look for pre-designed resources that fit your church well. Stay away from designs that have images that clearly don't describe your church. If you're a multi-ethnic church and a bulletin design has all Caucasian people in it, it doesn't really describe your church community. An ocean scene when you live in the Midwest, or conservative clothing when your church is casual are other examples. If anything is out of place, skip it. It isn't you.
2. Talk with the company offering the pre-designed materials. Some offer customization options. It could be changing the colors, the fonts, or even the photos. Ask if you can supply photos of people from your church (with their written permission), photos of your facility, or landmarks around your area.
3. Prioritize which materials get seen and used the most, and seek out custom design one project at a time. Keep the look and feel consistent so you build on your brand. You don't have to do it all at once, it can be taken in steps.
The trends continue in a positive direction. Pre-designed options continue to increase in quality. More customization is available to tailor designs to your needs, and there are a lot of affordable design and printing options out there.
You can read the interview here: http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/2011/01/maurilio-amorim-social-media-expectations-best-practices/
Ten years ago a church (or any organization) could tell the world what they were all about. An organization used to be able "push" the message. That is, people within the organization controlled the information that was made public. An organization controlled their image because they controlled the message that went out.
Our hyper-connected world has changed all that. Facebook, texting, cell phone cameras, Twitter, blogs, and other forms of social media means those who come in contact with your church can relay their experiences to friends in real time. As one branding expert said, your brand isn't what you decide it is, it's what happens when you Google it, or overhear two people talking about their experience with your brand (or church in this case).
"Pushing" has been replaced with people "pulling" the information. If anyone wants to know what your church is like, they won't find out from you. They will find out from their social network or Google.
So what can you do to influence how people see your church?Understand that since your church members have a larger voice in your church image than you do as a pastor, they can be advocates who bring your message to life and share it with others. Brand consultants Lippincott (who work with companies including Walmart, McDonalds and Nissan) believes the two most important ways to do this are:
- Tell Authentic Stories. What is the central message of your church? At my church it’s how ordinary people can share the love and grace of Jesus in everyday situations. Stories of people in our congregation are shared weekly. Real stories about struggle, loss, questions, answers, and victories. We identify with the people and the stories, and it helps reinforce the central values of our church.
- Foster Inspiring Experiences. What makes your church unique? Since our church seeks to live like Jesus, we are moving away from programs and doing more acts of service. Besides sharing stories of what individuals are doing, the church also organizes house casa building in Mexico, weekly tutoring, monthly service projects with an orphanage, and an annual day where we take a Sunday morning and tackle 150+ projects in the community. These are memorable and inspiring experiences we associate with our church. Through these interactions we live out the message.
The result is that members of the congregation not only understands what the church stands for, they participate in, and tell the story in tangible ways. If you can craft a simple, authentic story and invite your congregation to live it with you, they will tell the story in real and transparent ways.
This article was adapted from “Building winning brands in a radically transparent world” from Lippincott: http://www.lippincott.com/pdfs/StoryExp_brochure.pdf
At 3.5" x 2", a business card may be small in size, but they still have a large impact. Although cell phones can store contact information, the business card isn't going away any time soon, because it not only gives information, but image as well. It can convey whether your church is traditional or contemporary, contemplative or energetic, liturgical or progressive, and many other things. Contact information can include:
- Your name and title
- Office phone number
- Cell phone number
- Email address
- Street address
- Church website
Many churches use their business cards to include additional information, including:
- Service times and information
- "You're Invited" text
- A slogan or vision statement
- Map and directions
- Church Facebook address
- Student ministry website
- Pastor's LinkedIn
Printing prices are lower for full color printing than for one or two color printing, so your business cards can closely tie in to your website, bulletin, and other communications design. Consistency in design is a key element in good branding. Your communications will have a stronger impact and be more memorable if they coordinate. They will also give you and your church a more professional image if they look like they are well thought out.
Your logo, church website, bulletin, and business cards are foundational in branding your church. Church Logo Gallery offers design and branding services for churches. Give us a call at 888.831.6811 to see how we can help your church.
For additional reading, go to: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/04/AR2010100406824.htm
Logo designer Leighton Hubbell responded to a question from businessman Chris Brogan, who wondered what the difference was in designers, besides price. If you've ever wondered the same thing, click on the link below to read Hubbell's well written response. He covers areas like:
- Areas of expertise
To read more, visit Hubbell's blog here: leightonhubbell-blog.com/design-articles/apples-to-apples-what-s-the-difference-between-designersChurch Logo Gallery understands the needs of churches because we specialize in church logo design. The results? Our customers have given us a 99% satisfaction rating on the quality of our design, and design organizations such as Trademarks USA, LogoLounge, Graphic Design USA, and American Graphic and Advertising have awarded Church Logo Gallery with over 60 awards in the past two years.