Digital Generalists is working with a church whose history spans more than 150 years to solidify its brand. The goal of the project is to develop a set of communication guidelines that its staff and volunteer leadership can use to bring synergy to what is now a mismatched (and diluted) set of flyers, websites, and messages.
First, we wanted to take a look at examples of how other sacred organizations have documented their brand. Here are just a few that we found:
- New Spring Church, a non-denominational church with several South Carolina congregations
- Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, a Christian denomination
- ReThink Church, a program of the United Methodist Church, a Christian denomination
- Redemption Church, a non-denominational church with several Arizona congregations
- Mennonite Church, a Christian denomination
During this discovery period, we learned it was difficult to find examples of brand guidelines for large mainline, denominational churches. Many use the branding of their denomination and do not craft an individual voice, such as is found with newer, non-denominational congregations. There are mainline, denominational churches out there with clearly defined brands; however, their guidelines are not easily found by non-members.
Next, we found in the examples that we did uncover that the documents are written largely for communications professionals and not for easy use by lay church members.
Finally, we did see that an important part of several sacred brands was defining the character and personality of the congregation. For example, Redemption Church is targeting a primarily male audience (not typical for most churches) and makes striking choices to support this decision. This seems to be even more important for a church to include in communications guidelines than a corporation. Churches’ members are seeing a match to their own beliefs and values (much more so than they would when selecting a bank or cereal) and want these to be reflected in the messages that their church produces.
As we move forward in working with Trinity United Methodist Church to solidify its brand, we will be holding several focus groups with those staff and lay stakeholders who will be using the brand to determine how they see the brand currently being used, how they would like the church to be perceived, and (most importantly) who are the primary audiences of the church. Digital Generalists is looking forward to the collaboration.