Several people have asked my opinion on how difficult it would be to “rebrand” a church — change the name and/or the logo and relaunch as if you were launching a new church.
But this depends on many factors, including the length of time you’ve been in existence, the degree of opposition within your church membership, and other variables (not the least of which would involve finding out how poorly your current brand is perceived and how skillfully you can create a new brand identity and new branding deliverables).
Before I offer up anything new, check out these three things:
- Our article “What’s In A Name? Southern Baptists, Southern Gospel, Pandas Versus Wrestlers”
- Our article “How To Design A Church Logo That Tells Your Story”
- Most importantly, Dr. Russell Moore’s sermon “Repentance, Not Rebranding: The Horrible Mercy of Owning Your Shame.” Stream or download the audio here, or watch it below:
Dr. Moore mentioned the rebranding of Sugar Pops in his sermon. Mothers are more comfortable buying Corn Pops for their children because it sounds healthier. But Sugar Pops is Corn Pops. It’s the same thing.
Don’t do this as a church. Don’t use branding signals to tell your community that you’re something you’re not. It won’t work, and people will call you a liar.
The marketing business has a saying: “Good marketing will kill a bad product faster.”
Think about that. Say your church is filled with gossipers, cliques and tight-fisted lovers of flesh more than lovers of God. But you come up with an incredible marketing plan for convincing your community that your church is the friendliest, most generous, wide-open group of people they’ve ever been around. You. Are. In. Trouble. Your good marketing will work against you. Forget the marketing — model and preach repentance in your church. Lead Us Back is a modern hymn of repentance that I wrote with Brooks Ritter, which you can use in your worship services:
Remember that a brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they (the public, community, customers, etc) say it is. Your brand essence is the feeling people get and the things they think about when they hear, read or talk about you, or come in contact with you.
Coherence is the discipline of ensuring a transparent connection between customer expectation (brand) and authentic user experience. Coherence is aligning what we deliver with what we say we deliver. Coherence engages customers in shaping a meaningful experience that meets their needs.
Coherence is telling the truth.
This is fortunate for churches, because churches exist to tell the truth, preach the truth, and live in the reality of the Truth — Jesus Christ. So live out your calling and tell the truth, even through the branding signals you create (logotypes, emblems, typography, colors and the various products that make use of them, like signage, websites, bumper stickers and postcards).
Successful branding isn’t easy because it isn’t just about coming up with a cool name or tough graphic design package. It’s about finding the difference between what you say you are and what they say you are, before forging ahead.
What is positive about your community? Focus on that in your branding efforts.
What if it’s all negative?
Then preach and model the change you’d like to see in your church, praying for the Spirit’s help, while challenging, equipping and empowering people to follow the leading of the Word and Spirit in the right direction. You must do these things before any branding efforts — especially rebranding — will be successful.
For nuts-and-bolts help with branding signals, you can visit the blogs and websites of many church communications firms and individuals anytime in the Communications Resources page here at My Song In The Night.
- Need graphic design? Sojourn uses two outstanding freelance designers: Bryan Patrick Todd and Tyler Deeb.
- Sojourn’s freelance web designer is David Yeiser, of Design Intellection. The Sojourn website often makes “Great Church website design” lists.
- Is your church relocating? See my articles When Your Church Relocates, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2