Last Updated on April 23, 2022
The right church branding ideas aren’t just for attracting parishioners; they also get your current congregation fired up.
In churches across the country, there’s a familiar goal: get more people to attend. It’s not just new members churches are after, either. Many churches have a robust membership list. The challenge is getting those church members involved and active in the church community. That’s where church branding ideas come in.
Branding has evolved in the last decade or so, and there’s more to it than the perfect logo and tagline (although these are important). Branding, by some definitions, means creating an experience or community that people want to be part of. On a large scale, Nike offers a superb example of branding, especially with their “Just Do It” campaigns that help create a community of active, goal-oriented people.
Church branding ideas don’t need the same kind of big budget or exposure to be effective, though. A few basic principles will put you on the right track to creating a brand that promotes parish participation, engages your current membership, and piques the interest of new members.
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Church branding ideas: Basic marketing principles
Marketing and branding go hand in hand, so any church branding ideas necessarily start with some marketing basics.
1. Know your audience.
Who are you marketing to? Are you trying to reach a younger audience? A working-class community? A population of wealthy retirees? Your audience directly shapes the way you craft your message. Spend some time and figure out who to market to.
2. Differentiate yourself.
What makes your church different? Why should someone come to your church instead of going elsewhere – or staying home? Figuring out what makes you stand out, and how to share that, needs to be an essential part of your church branding ideas if you want them to work.
3. Create your mission statement.
If you don’t already have one, create a mission statement that reflects your church values. This can be as detailed or as broad as you desire.
4. Be consistent with your name.
To the extent possible, your church name should also be your web address and your handle on social media platforms. You may need to get a little creative, but stay consistent here, too. For instance, if your church is St. Mary’s Church, it’s highly unlikely that www.stmaryschurch.com is available as a web address. You might, however, find www.stmarysomaha.com available if you’re in Omaha, NE. If so, stick with that moniker. Use St. Mary’s Omaha on Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platforms you use.
5. Be consistent with your image.
Your name needs to be consistent, but so does your image. Use the same logo, including the same font, across your printed and online material. Create a logo you like, and use it consistently on your website, business cards, pamphlets, newsletters, social media logos, and any similar locations. If you stream your services online, then include the logo and brand elements in the overlays, stingers (transitions), and pre-post service timers.
Church branding ideas: Taking the next step
Once you have the basics together, it’s time to put that work into action. Most of these ideas can both re-energize your current members and attract new members, so don’t be afraid to take what works and use it generously.
6. Form a welcome back committee.
Ideally, everyone feels welcome in your church. You probably have a welcome packet and outreach plan for visitors and new members. You have plenty of social events for regular members, too. But what about those people who only show up occasionally? Do they feel welcome? Put together a committee tasked with watching out for and engaging with those itinerant members. Make it a point to express happiness that they’ve joined you for a service. Encourage them to return as often as they can. Maybe put a booth somewhere for them to learn more about your church.
7. Reach out.
While some congregants only come occasionally, others participate regularly, then “disappear”. If you notice a regular parishioner misses a few services, and you don’t know why, reach out to them with an email or phone call. Find out if everything is okay or if they need anything from the church community.
8. Get sporty.
Bring some healthy competition into, or rather, out of your church. Form a team (soccer, flag football, basketball, or anything people are interested in) and join a local recreational league. Don’t forget to post invitations, game schedules, and all the play-by-play action on your social media feeds. And if you have outdoor digital signage, you can use Everwall to broadcast the activity to anyone passing by your church.
9. Get crafty.
How do crafts fit into church branding ideas? At least with a sports team, you can put your logo on the uniforms. But branding isn’t just about what you say or what your logo looks like. It’s also about what you do. If you have a community skilled in crafts, hold a craft fair and donate the proceeds to a local food bank. Hold a knitting party and make blankets for the domestic violence shelter in your area. Helping your community is a fantastic way to give your church a positive brand identity.
10. Get excited.
No matter what your message is, you can make it sound exciting. Or you can make it sound ho-hum. Here’s an example: “Join us on for Sunday’s service where we’ll explore the lessons of the feeding of the 5,000.” Or you could say something like, “Jesus had five loaves of bread, two fish, and 5,000 hungry followers. Then he gave us a lesson that we can still learn from. Join us on Sunday to learn more.”
11. Update your website.
At a minimum, be sure your site is responsive (meaning it works on smartphones and tablets), and that it has the correct information on it, including service days and times and your physical address. You can also embed a social wall .
12. Make your website fun.
Include a blog with regular posts. Use Everwall and include a customized Twitter feed on your website to encourage people talking about your church online. Hire a professional photographer or graphic designer for your website images. It’s these little things that make a big difference.
Bonus tip: Stay active on social media.
Twitter is an excellent platform for churches, but Instagram works, too. Stay active to help brand your church as a friendly, exciting place. Post inspirational messages, respond to comments, engage with other churches or religious thought leaders. And make sure all of it shows up on your social wall so no one has to miss a thing if they have to step out of the service for a few minutes.
Increase donations online by promoting a catchy hashtag, then keep track of your efforts by displaying everyone’s social posts in your church and on your website. Start building your social wall today.
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