The phone in my office rang loudly this morning at 9:30 am. Upon answering it, I was surprised to hear the voice of a pastor who wanted to improve her church brand! We conversed briefly and the woman told me where she felt the church was lacking in branding. I have since sent her a proposal outlining how I can help improve her church brand.
Do churches need branding? Of course they do because they operate like a business. Their customers are their congregants.
What Is Branding?
Everyone thinks that branding is your logo, company name, business cards, and flashy brochures. That’s just a part of it. Your brand is the total experience your prospect, lead, or church member has:
- When they first learn of your existence;
- When they start researching your church;
- When they become a church congregant;
- When they remain a church congregant and become more involved;
- When they refer your church to their friends and family members as a desirable place of worship.
Why Is a Strong Church Brand Necessary?
It is your fingerprint – your identity.
It’s how people recognize and remember you. “Oh, that’s the church that gives out the free donuts after the service on Sunday.” “That’s the church where I feel closest to God.” “That’s the church with a great variety of ministries.”
It gives your church authenticity.
People will probably search Google for a church of a particular denomination in their location. If they are disenchanted with what their current religion offers them, they will be shopping for other religious denominations. They’ll review the website of that church and, if interested, check out their social media sites to learn more about the church. They’ll want to get more of a feel for what the demographics of the congregation are before making a personal visit. They’ll want to feel assured that they will be going to a church that can meet their spiritual needs.
It grows your church’s following.
A strong brand will attract, convert, close, and delight your church’s members much more easily than a church with little or no branding. Word spreads about your church and how inspiring it is and the members multiply. You not only attract new members but you also retain those you have.
How to Improve Your Church Brand
If your church membership is declining rather than increasing, you should take a few minutes to strategically address what may be amiss.
What’s your church’s purpose and vision?
Think about why your church exists and what you want to facilitate? Then write it down.
Who is your niche congregant?
Sketch a picture of who that church member is. Take a look at the composition of your existing congregation. What is their typical age, educational level, socioeconomic background, and marital status? Are you mainly trying to attract people of your own faith or those of a different faith? You have to know whom you want to attract before developing any marketing strategies to do so.
Who is your church’s competition?
You probably already have an idea of who this might be. If not, do a Google search for churches of your denomination in your vicinity. Examine their website and social media sites to see what they are doing to develop and promote their brand. Is there something specific about their brand that could be of help in establishing yours?
What are your church’s values?
“We are the church who_________________.” OR “We believe_____________.”
How do you want prospective church members and your congregation to perceive you?
How is your church unique?
What makes your church different from the other churches in your vicinity? What would entice a prospective congregant to choose your church over another?
Conduct a SWOT assessment
What are your church’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats to your brand’s uniqueness and awareness? Knowing what your competition is doing will help you with this part.
Improving your church brand is not a one-time thing. It’s a continuous cycle of research, marketing, and conversation. A strong brand is heavily influenced by those one-on-one conversations with people. Every interaction is an opportunity to develop, strengthen, or damage your brand. Branding is crucial to the deep-rooted success of your church.
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