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/