In today’s culture it seems everyone and everything is so focused on branding. Sports fans have everything from clothing, license plate covers, phone cases, lawn chairs, throw blankets, BBQ equipment and more. When you go to a concert, you see tons of branding material as well. The same goes with their favorite coffee shop/brand. So how come the church has been behind the curve on this? Megachurches have started to do this, but how can your church start branding? What are some reasons behind church branding? We asked Bryan from GOA Merch to write more on the subject of church branding.
Church Branding: 3 Reasons to Brand Using Merch
In the last few years of running a merch company and working with hundreds of churches around the country, these are some things I’ve observed when it comes to church branding through merch and how its affects any church.
1. It helps people belong
People always have a story behind the items they have, whether shirts, coffee mugs (I’ve got a story below!), or key chains. Church branding on any item will leave a longer impression on them than the worship service. It could simply feature the church logo or a graphic for the current sermon series you are doing, but either way, it will help knit them into the fabric of the church. When you use a mug from Starbucks, you feel more connected with Starbucks. When you wear a shirt from a band you like, you’re reminded of how much you like their music. The same applies to a church: wearing shirts from your youth ministry or kids ministry reminds you that you are part of this life-changing venture. They are not only acknowledging that they attend your church, but that they BELONG there, love it there, and even want other people to know about it.
2. It will make first-time guests feel served and valued
I recently visited a church in my city where my brother is the Congregational Pastor. As a first-time guest, I was given a little bag with this church’s logo on it and inside were some great items that I thoroughly enjoyed: a pen (good for sermon notes), a small journal, and a really cool mug with the church’s mission statement.
Now, I serve as a Pastor in another church as a volunteer, and constantly think about first impressions for those stepping into my church family for the first time every single Sunday. When I realized the way I felt as a visitor for the first time at my brother’s church, it hit me that I left feeling valued, thought about, expected, and part of what was going on there because they handed me gifts they made just for me. They just let me join in on what God was doing there by saying “We’ve been waiting on you!” Having these items tied with a smile and caring people makes a huge impression. That mug is still in my kitchen today!
3. It expresses who you are as a church
Merch and promo items are vast and crazy! You can literally print branding on almost anything you can imagine.
Fanny packs, anyone? Oh yes, we’ve been printing those recently! Not too long ago, a youth ministry was heading to the beach for camp, and we supplied branded sunscreen bottles and stress balls that looked like miniature beach balls.
I mean…anything. Merch can really communicate the heart behind your church to those coming in, and help to express the culture created there.
There are many pressing issues to discuss within the church, and branding is nowhere near being the most important.
But… it’s really fun and serves as another means that you can reach and engage those who come to your church! Let the creativity flow!
Bryan Robison grew up around the merch world with his father running his own merch company, recruiting Bryan to sell t-shirts at many different events. Today, Bryan is the Vice President of GOA Merch and, for the past 5 years, has been partnering specifically with churches and those involved in the music industry, from youth camps to headlining tours. His passion is spreading the Gospel through every means possible, both through his work in merch and through serving in a pastoral role in his local church.