This post first appeared on Church Omni’s website here.
Here are 10 things to avoid in your church branding. Although some of them may seem like good ideas, they can prevent your influence from reaching its potential. Let’s go.
1. A logo has to be a deep, all-encompassing, theological statement
Sometimes your logo just needs to look amazing. Sure, it can reflect your values, your church name, or your location, but when we try and pack too much into a logo, it rarely has the effect it’s meant to. Not only does an outstanding logo act as a cornerstone for your church’s brand, but it can set the standard of excellence and relevance for your church, especially to non-believers (which is who your church should exist for). Just make it look amazing.
2. Making everything “spiritual”
There’s nothing wrong with that word, so let me explain what I mean:
Make your brand appealing to non-believers. Not everything needs a cross.
3. Having too many hands in the pot
This is a really easy way for your church’s brand to derail over time. Design isn’t meant to be done by 5 different pastors and whoever needs a quick graphic thrown together.
If hiring creative staff isn’t possible for you, train and build up 2-3 people (volunteer or part time), align them with your brand, and then trust them to take care of it. That last step is really important. Major decisions can be made by the lead pastor or the whole team, but no one wants someone breathing down their neck; let them grow, and watch your brand flourish.
4. Talking about what you do instead of who you are
People today want to belong to something greater, not be just another customer. Don’t make them feel that way by just offering them programs or events; offer them a loving community to be a part of.
5. Setting the expectation too high on social media
This one’s easy. Don’t use a photo of an extravagant light show and 1000 people if you’re a church/ministry of 250 in a small town, or if the event is a worship night that you know 40 people will attend. Invest in training a photographer to capture what your church is really like. If you’re church is healthy, that’s what will draw new people.
6. Copying what other churches are doing
Idea stealing? Go for it.
Getting inspired? Go for it.
Duplicating a strategy that worked for someone else? Go for it.
However, when you step away from authenticity and it becomes more about programming than it does your congregation, you may need to re-evaluate. Innovate, modify, and be the best you that you can be. After all, you’re the only you.
7. The go-to photos are of the building or lead pastor
Neither of these should be the focus of the local church. Post about your community, post about what God is doing, post someone’s story, or celebrate someone’s accomplishment. People what to feel valued, not meet a celebrity pastor.
8. Using acronyms
This works for some church cultures as a whole, but not for separate ministries or events. Acronyms can create confusion and subconscious exclusivity. If the name of your ministry or event needs an acronym, it’s probably not that great of a name.
9. Not resourcing creativity
It’s 2018. Visual impressions are crucial in reaching new people. If this is something that isn’t being resourced in your church, your influence may be far from meeting its potential. Don’t assume I’m talking about a salary; time and training are valuable resources, too.
10. Giving partial effort
Don’t take your brand lightly. The gospel message is relevant in every context and to every demographic. Your brand should be, also.