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Church branding is not about its logo

Businesses use logos to help identify themselves.

Like cattle ranchers, they separate themselves from the herd with an identifying mark. A swoosh on the side of show means quality and fashion. Golden arches let you know what you are going to get every time. The word “Disney” usually ensures quality family-friendly content.

Church branding is not about its logo.

It can serve an important purpose by transmitting a message to help identify yourself. The early Christians used the image of a fish. The cross is an identifiable symbol used by the universal Christian church. A logo can be an illustration of a church’s mission statement to help remind members and project a vision to the community.

There is a dangerous flip side: What communicates effectively on the inside can communicate an entirely different message to the outside.

People are savvy consumers. They can spot a logo that is dated and immediately jump to the conclusion that a church is out of touch and not worth their time.

A church logo can unwittingly deliver a conflicting message. Like a mission statement that is unfamiliar with members and needs dusting, a logo could use the same treatment by updating its design.

Church branding is more about your name.

People in your community will far more readily identify with the name of your church than your logo.

For small businesses, word-of-mouth advertising means everything. They can have a beautiful logo, invest in advertising, but if they don’t deliver an outstanding product or service they are not going to last.

When people hear the name of your church, what words will come to their mind? Will the words be positive, negative, or indifferent? Will they even know you exist?

A negative or indifferent reputation will close minds and plug ears from unchurched people in your community. It’s true that the power of God’s Word can penetrate any hardened soul, but do we allow ourselves or our church to get in the way of the message. Or worse, do we refrain from delivering any message at all?

A church’s name is a powerful brand. Like any foundation, it often requires the laying of bricks one at a time. One word, one misdeed, one careless act can wipe out a wall of bricks that have painstaking built over time.

A church’s reputation is a brand that can help win an audience to proclaim the gospel. It is built brick-by-brick in the words you say, the visuals you show, and the experiences people have with you over time.

The most powerful brand for your church is your people.

We must remember that the primary objective with every church brand is transmitting a gospel message. They are not just reminders for members of who you are but can serve as starting points with your community to communicate why you exist. They are conversation starters.  Brands can be baseless if there is little connection with the community.

The human brand is the most powerful brand of a church.

They can have five distinct characteristics:

#1 Human brands believe in the power of great questions.

They are interested in getting to know people. They ask questions to help arrive at answers – instead of preaching at them.

Churches connect with their community by asking good questions.

  • They listen more then they talk about themselves.
  • They act, talk, and function like real people – unafraid to make mistakes and unashamed to own them when they do.
  • They are people who don’t have all the answers but point to the One who has already provided an answer to the one question that really matters…. will you be in heaven?

#2 Human brands understand the power of authenticity.

They humbly accept every person that walks through the doors of a church on Sunday morning as a work in progress. They understand that unchurched people in their community arrive with different starting points – not a finished product. Visitors do not arrive on Sunday morning to win a contest or be judged by outer appearances. They are arriving at church because God has sent them. They are usually looking for answers or connection during a difficult time. Their presence alone speaks louder than words.

#3 Human brands understand the power of heritage.

They know and appreciate where they have come from is as important as where they are going.

They recognize that they are standing on the shoulders of faithful giants before them who have faithfully preserved the Word and persevered during tough times.

Traditions come and go… and that’s okay. New programs, ideas, and methodologies will arrive and fade away. But heritages remain rooted and steadfast. They define who you are.

#4 Human brands rely on the power of community.

They know their strengths and weaknesses. They would rather not go at it alone and willing to work with others for the sake of the gospel. Their mission is bigger than themselves.

They preserve their identity and their heritage that may disqualify themselves from partnerships that might blur what they teach. They are willing to work with the community and its leaders to help support their work. By doing so, bridges are built and networks are expanded that leads to greater opportunities to spread the gospel.

#5 Human brands know the power of empathy

They exhibit genuine interest in others. They want to know people’s stories. They think about the challenges we are facing and the fears that everybody is experiencing.

Quick to listen, the power of empathy refrains from Christian jargon or pat answers that may come across as uncaring. Instead, an emphatic hearts discover felt needs and provides specific answers from the Bible to address them.

Great brands are great people.

Your church is a name that people call you. You are a fixed anchor – a beacon of light – salt that preserves – in a community that may seem adrift in difficult times.

Now is a great time to build your brand.  People are watching and observing how your congregation will respond in this crisis.

Now is not the time to be Noah’s ark and close the hatches. I don’t think it’s raining yet. The Lord has set believer apart right now to help get the Word out.

Church brands are not about logos, but about people.

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