Thinking about starting a marketing campaign for your next sermon series? Brainstorming branding ideas for a new church plant? Launching a ministry? Then there is something you should know about the new world order of branding.
A wise person once told me that in ministry there are only two types of time frames – long-term temporary and short-term temporary. This is certainly true in relation to marketing and branding. The communications world is constantly shifting, changing, upgrading, getting smarter, and sometimes becoming more complicated. Thus it is vitally important to make your brand as easy to follow as possible.
Years ago, when someone was launching a church, coming up with the branding was simple in many ways. Maybe you name the church after the area you plant it in, or you develop a cool hip name like Grace Community Church. Before our social media infused internet age came about, this worked great. But use the same technique today without doing your homework, and your church or ministry could become hopelessly buried in the depths of Search Engine Hades or be hopelessly locked out of becoming a viable multi-site church. It doesn’t make sense to have First Baptist Church of Fort Worth meeting in a second location in Dallas does it?
The good news is, it’s never too late to re-brand. Since our God is in the business of making all things new, surely there is hope. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is absolutely nothing sacred about a brand or a location. What is sacred, however, is reaching the lost. So if re-branding your organization could help solidify your place in the community and make your church a brighter light to the lost – it’s worth it.
It all starts with Assessment. Get with your team, discuss ideas for the branding – and then immediately assess the web-o-sphere to see if your ideas and vision would be too diluted by existing similar brands to make an impact. If your idea was Grace Church and you noticed that you weren’t the first to use that name – it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon that idea all together. There are other options such as tagging on a location to the domain name (ie – gracechurchATL.com). However, keep in mind that your location tag may make it harder to branch into other communities without making adjustments to your branding.
Don’t forget that brand protection is important – purchasing .org .net .info .tv and other major extensions will help solidify your brand and protect against fraud.
WAIT, you aren’t done yet. After solidifying your domain options and before diving too much into your investment, double check social media outlets to see if your branding can be used in a similar fashion there as well. Having a well planned social media presence can not only help your followers connect, but can also empower them to promote your movement.
The ideal set up would be duplicating your domain (gracechurchATL) across your social media accounts.
- So your Facebook Page’s URL would be facebook.com/gracechurchATL
- Twitter would be @gracechurchATL (keep in mind you only have 15 characters here)
- Flickr would be flickr.com/photos/gracechurchATL
You get the idea. Simply repeat the pattern for any outlet you would use – Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo. If you are reading this and thinking – I have no idea what any of this is… find yourself a geek and make them your best friend.
We recently helped launch a young adult ministry at our home church and were able to use this model to successfully build a solid foundation for branding. After discussing the vision of our ministry with our leaders, we voted on calling it The Bridge. That name, however, is not exactly an original spark of marketing brilliance – but after assessment we decided on thebridgedfw.com (DFW as in Dallas-Fort Worth). Seeing how we were launching a ministry out of a local church, the location tag was not an issue. We were then able to nail down that same URL on all the social media outlets we needed. Thus, the branding was complete and informing people of how to find us was simple.