Part of the process of establishing a digital presence is the issue of branding – Step 1 in our eBook.
Simply put, ‘branding’ can be thought of as the overall message a person gets about your ministry. As Darrel Girardier puts it, “the 30-second elevator pitch” – points such as “what are the unique aspects of our ministry; if you get involved in our ministry, what are you going to come out with or get; what are we trying to solve for our community”.
Three main digital branding components are the logo, website, and domain name.
Without question, a new ministry needs a new brand. What about an existing ministry? Does an existing ministry need rebranding?
Existing ministries who are considering rebranding will need to take an honest look at their motive(s) behind their desire to rebrand.
Let’s consider the main rebranding drivers:
1. Far and away, the most common reason is a new minister. While this may seem totally logical, ministries must consider whether or not new pastors are “seeking the approval or man or of God?” (Galatians 1:10) In other words, is it an ego thing, trying to leave their marks or stamps on the ministry?
In the case of a new minister, it is advisable to wait at least a year before considering rebranding. New pastors will need that time to learn about the congregation and culture of the ministry, including the existing brand. Then, they will more accurately assess whether or not rebranding is necessary.
2. The next most common driver is a new or changed ministry direction. Perhaps the focus of the ministry has changed. Maybe it has become involved in a new project which has changed the church and its ways significantly.
3. Then, there are ministries which are not doing so well and need to be turned around. Often congregation numbers are decreasing and it’s time to start getting people back into the fold.
4. Girardier describes the last reason as the ‘new coat of paint. When a house gets a new coat of band, it is just a visual change. The basic structure remains the same. When a ministry brand gets ‘a new coat of paint’, the current ‘dated’ brand gets a little TLC but the underlying message remains the same.
No matter what the rebranding driver, ministries need to stop and think: what am I messing with here?
How well-known is the current brand?
Is it iconic?
Ministries who have long-established brands need to take the time to assess the effect of rebranding.
Ministries which fail to take due time may find themselves in a similar situation as Gap. After 20 years with the same logo (left side in image below), Gap decided it was time for a change (right side in image below). The change lasted six days, after which Gap reverted to their previous logo. The wasted budget? About $100 million.
With ministries, the waste will most likely be much more than just money. It will probably include the loss of existing and potential worshipers.
If rebranding is a ‘go’, it is wise to consider the scope. These guiding questions can help:
Are you revamping the entire church or a specific ministry’s website?
Does it make sense to focus on just your ministry separately or should it be together with a broader strategy? (Sometimes this depends on the size of the church or the organization of that church.)
Do you need to redo the entire website or just refresh the messaging (copy), the flow, and the logo?
Are you thinking about revamping a website using an older form of that church or ministry logo? (You don’t need to do major brand changes to have major brand effects. Clients who do, have generally not clearly thought through what brand means.)
As you can see, rebranding is a complex process. A time estimate for a careful rebranding is about one year.
Another important component of a successful rebranding is the sequence of events. For example, it is recommended to create the new logo BEFORE any work on the website is done.
A new logo is more than a pretty graphic. It tells the story about your ministry. It should be the result of a detailed investigation.
Here’s an example: We’ve been working with the Houston Central church. After a survey and many discussions with the leadership, we put together a collection of sample logos.
The leadership came back preferring the ones with the building. This makes sense. As you can see, our inspiration came from one of the actual church buildings.
We reworked the logo with this feedback in mind. Note how the colors echo the colors in the actual building. Eventually, after some more back and forth, Houston Central had a new logo.
Then, we continued this color scheme when building their new website with our program.
With careful planning, the right information, and experienced branding assistance, your ministry’s rebranding can reach its goals.
Is your ministry in the process of rebranding? We’d enjoy hearing about it or answering a question. Is your ministry thinking about rebranding? We’re happy to offer advice. Please leave us a comment or question in the comment section.