Small Church Guide to Digital Growth [BRANDING part 1]
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Hey everybody, it's Tyler. We are going to be doing a four-part series on branding. What does that mean and how it can impact your church?
Can a small church have a strong brand? Social media? Marketing? Follow this 4 part series on how to create a strong brand. A part of digital ministry and church growth that is overlooked is branding. If marketers can use branding as a core part of their strategy to make more money can't we use it to more effectively connect with our community and share the hope of Jesus? Many churches make the mistake of jumping right into producing more content on social media, blog, podcast, without thinking about the messaging and brand.
Chances are you're a church leader of a congregation of less than 250 people. In fact 90% of all churches in the US have less than 250 people. It feels like a lot of the information that's being put out there about digital ministry. And it seems like church growth is for that last 10% of these sort of mega, high-production churches. I really believe that if marketers can use branding as one of the biggest tools moving forward then you should be able to do the same thing for your mission of spreading the love of Jesus Christ with your community.
First, what is branding? There's a lot of different opinions about it. It's definitely not settled as far what it is. Is marketing a part of branding or branding a part of marketing? For the purpose of the post, we're going to define branding like this: it's the combination of everything that you do. All these little touch points: the things that you want to be and that you aspire to be, the things that you actually are, how people perceive you, the emotions that people feel while they're experiencing, and sort of this conglomeration of all those things. So that's the definition of branding.
The first step I would say that's going to provide the foundation for this branding series is three things. They might be things you may think aren't really a part of branding. I would argue they are essential for branding and are going to provide the stepping stones. First is defining your mission, vision, and values. If you've read the book "The Unstuck Church" by Tony Morgan, it has a great couple chapters about this when they're talking about the life cycle of your church. I would really encourage you to check out that book. I'll give you synopsis here.
Basically, your vision is the big picture. It's what you want to be and very aspirational. Your mission is a clear picture of what your success looks like if you're successful in your vision. Your mission is exactly what that would look like. So your mission may change a little bit more frequently as time progresses, whereas your vision is really going to be the core part of who you are all the time. For example, in a 25 year outlook then your mission is a 5-year chunk.
Then your values are going to be the things that make your church unique. What are the things that you guys really want to live into as a church? It can't be something that every church would agree with because then it's not necessarily specific to you and it's not really something that you can use as a tool for branding. So it's not going to be something like 'Well, we believe in the Bible. We pray. We worship God.' So I would encourage you to come up with something with no more than 5 words, or short phrases, that define your culture or the culture your leadership team is trying to create.
All of these things fit together to provide the first stepping stone for creating a really strong brand.
Join us next week for Part 2.