Discovering Your Brand

Church Relevance – Issue 14
December 2006
by Kent Shaffer

In many cases, branding refers to an organization’s logo, but a logo is not a brand. Rather, it is a symbol of the brand.

Branding actually goes much deeper than design and marketing and is a representation of the unique personality of your church. It should take into account your church’s calling, strengths, and core values. In fact, your church’s brand should be communicated at every touch point you have with your congregation and community.

But before you can successfully communicate your brand, you must first be able to understand and explain what it is. If you need help discovering your brand, ask yourself the following 18 questions:

  1. Why was your church created?
  2. What is your church’s mission?
  3. Who are you called to reach?
  4. Rank your target audiences in order of importance.
  5. How do you want to be perceived by each audience?
  6. What are your three most important goals?
  7. What is unique about your church?
  8. What does your church do better than anyone else?
  9. What values and beliefs unify your staff and volunteers and drives their performance?
  10. What other churches do you admire most and why?
  11. Why would someone who is unchurched want to attend your church?
  12. How do you market your church?
  13. What are the trends and changes that affect your church?
  14. Where will you be in 5 years? In 10 years?
  15. How do you measure success?
  16. What are the potential barriers to your success?
  17. If you could do or be anything in the future, what would it be?
  18. If you could communicate a single message about your church, what would it be?

Do you notice any common themes in your answers? If there are too many, narrow them down to the five strongest. How could your church’s brand be communicated in everything you do?

For instance, a church that focuses primarily on communicating God’s love might consider what colors, typefaces, and imagery communicates the warmth of God’s love. They might want to consider a cozier atmosphere for their facility rather than a cold contemporary one. Of course, these decisions must also be considered with respect to the church’s other brand themes as well as their audience’s culture.

These 18 questions are not meant to exactly pinpoint and identify your church’s brand, but they can be an excellent guide to better understanding your church’s priorities and branding. A church whose answers emphasize encouraging, equipping, and cultural diversity has quite a different brand from one that emphasizes love, community, and practicality. So think about what your church emphasizes and how you can better communicate that through your role at your church.

Note: Most of the 18 questions were derived and inspired by Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler, and they have been changed to apply to the church. If interested in learning more about brand identity, the book is well worth the investment.

Related post: Top Church Logos