If you’ve lived in the church communicator world for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across the issue of branding and promoting ministries within your church. See if this scenario seems familiar. You’re sitting in your office, the student minister comes by and announces that he is changing the name of the student ministry to “extreme ignition”. Not only that, but he wants a new “cool” logo to match by the end of the day.

Some of you may be laughing and/or groaning because this hits a little too close to home. So, what do you do? How do you maintain the credibility of your church’s brand without offending your student minister or stifling creativity? What can you do to create consistency and still promote specific ministries?

Unfortunately, there’s not a one-solution-fits-all when it comes to branding and promoting specific ministries. However, there are considerations and guidelines that can help drive you as you work to make the best decision for your church.

Church Branding

Before you can jump into ministry branding, you have to first establish a church brand. According to the Business Dictionary, branding is “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind…”

In the case of churches, your church is the “product” and your brand is the “unique name and image”. In the most basic sense, it’s how your community will recognize your church.

When branding your church, pay close attention to colors, fonts, icons, and more that may evoke emotion in those that see it. For more on church branding, view this article.

Once your brand as a whole is established, you can then shift your focus to branding and promoting your church’s ministries.

Your Options: A House of Brands or a Branded House

In the marketing world, a popular term that circulates is “a house of brands or a branded house”.

Marty Neumeier explains it this way:

“The first is a HOUSE OF BRANDS, meaning a company that markets a range of separate brand names (Procter & Gamble). The second model is a BRANDED HOUSE, meaning that the company itself is the brand, and its products or services are subsets of the main brand (Hewlett-Packard).”

Here are the pros and cons of these two options when it comes to your church.

A House of Brands

When it comes to your church and the ministries within it, a house of brands would mean that each ministry is branded separately. Your kids’ ministry, student ministry, missions ministry, etc. would all look completely different from each other and different from your church as a whole.

Pros:

  • Promotes creativity – your kids’ ministry logo can be bright, colorful, and childlike while your women’s ministry logo can be pink and girly.
  • Easier to manage – guidelines can be less restrictive.
  • Allows for delegation – easily put someone in charge of each individual brand.

Cons:

  • No unified look – there’s no way to identify that your worship ministry is a part of your church just on appearance. Because there are no guidelines, quality, colors, appearance, etc. are all inconsistent and unpredictable.
  • Exclusive – Your church members may know that your student ministry is called “extreme ignition”, but guests more than likely have no idea what you’re talking about.

A Branded House

On the other hand, when it comes to your church ministries’ branding and promotion, a branded house would mean that each ministry works as an extension of your overall church brand. This means that your young adult ministry will be called “church name young adults” and that the logo will match (or at least coordinate with) your church logo.

Pros:

  • Consistency – every ministry within your church will have a consistent look.
  • Identifiable – because of the consistent look, each ministry’s brand will be recognized as part of your church (both in and out of your church).
  • Single brand ambassador – this option allows for one person to oversee branding as a whole. Guidelines make it easy to say yes and/or no to branding ideas that come your way.

Cons:

  • Restrictive – due to the stricter guidelines, logos, fonts, colors, etc. are all restricted to the brand guidelines

Further Considerations and Recommendations

Lastly, when thinking through branding and promoting your ministries, there are two important things to consider:

  1. Guest Perceptions – think of your branding and promotions through the lens of a guest. Can they identify what the ministry is just by the logo? Would they be able to tell that it’s an extension of your church?
  2. Your Ministry Audience – the target audience of your kids’ ministry is parents, while the target audience of your senior adult ministry is senior adults. What appeals to each audience? How can you incorporate that into your branding?

All things considered, you have to take the approach that is best for your church. However, in most cases, “a branded house” is going to be the stronger, more brand-conscious decision. With this approach, you can be sure that each ministry is an extension of your church and isn’t seen as a separate entity.

Next Steps

No matter which approach you decide, you will need a quality church website, graphics, software, and more that allows you to effectively promote your branded ministries. Sharefaith is an all-in-one church worship and outreach resource created to engage and grow disciples. Learn more here.

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