How to know when the issue is church branding vs. something else altogether
Great branding is inspiring. It is easy to recognize. When we do not have great branding, it can even haunt us. It can lead us to feel that it is the one thing that is holding back our growth. The challenge is that rebranding is not always a quick-fix for our “growing” concerns. It can actually do more harm than good.
A friend of mine who speaks at a lot of churches recently shared about a small church he spoke at. The pastor mentioned to him some concerns about their lack of growth. My friend immediately called out that the church name and website both did not fit the community. He was right. He shared his plan to tell the pastor to go through a rebranding that would “fix” it.
Here is the challenge with his advice. This church had not grown in 8 years in spite of its prime location in a thriving community. It had already changed its name and done a rebranding 3 years ago. If this church rebranded again, it would spend tens of thousands to implement the change. Do we think it would get different results?
Just think: How would you react to a restaurant that keeps changing its name but has the same menu and service? The first rebranding might inspire you to give a disappointing restaurant a second chance. However, if you have a second disappointing experience, you will likely never return. And what’s worse, you might tell all your friends about it.
It was true that this church was dealing with poor branding—but it had a much deeper problem. A problem with what we call “connectivity.” Connectivity is about passing the people test. If we do not learn how to pass the people test, branding cannot help us win. As a matter of fact, branding often only reveals the gravity of our disconnect.
Branding is a visual promise that we make about an experience people will have with us. When we don’t deliver on this promise, we risk increasing the amount of visitors who never return. Rebranding when we are not ready can effectively increase our “burn rate.” It can cause more and more of the community to count us out entirely.
If visitors are not coming back, it is flawed to think that branding is the core issue. I have never heard someone say, “I did not like the worship or the pastor, but their website is so great—I think I will join the church.”
Branding goes much deeper than a logo and paint swatches. True branding is a bridge from the core of who you are to the people God has called you to reach. It is a promise you deliver on in all you do. It reveals itself on the surface as your communication, design, identity, or image.
If we are not connecting with people that come through our doors, no amount of branding can solve our problem. But, if we are connecting with people, the right branding can be a catalyst to new levels of growth.
It is time to diagnose. Do we have a branding or a connectivity problem?
Branding cannot secure what a church with poor connectivity cannot reach.
To learn more about connectivity, visit artistrylabs.com/consulting.