11 ways to improve your church's brand

June 19th, 2016

1. Analyze your audience.

  • Who is target demographic? 
  • What do numbers show is your current reality? 
  • What is your aspiration? 

2. Collect website traffic data.

  • Pore over Google analytics. What are most common pages and clicks, types of content used, routes, destinations? 
  • What are missing opportunities? 

3. Collect visitor and new member data.

  • Same for new members. What are averages, high and low points, retention rates? The object is to look for trends. 
  • Why do people stay? 
  • Why do they leave? 

4. Conduct a congregational survey.

  • What are best things about church? Worst? 
  • What do people think about the church? 
  • What are signature ministries? 
  • What are ministries in need of development? 

5. Study the campus.

  • If you were coming on campus for the first time, what makes the biggest impression, and why? 
  • Where is the brand from the exterior view? Is it obvious enough? Where can it be improved? 
  • What are existing channels for campus messaging? Missing any? 
  • Any presence of core values and stories that reflect brand visible on campus? 

6. Clarify your denominational relationship.

  • If your church is in a denomination, you have two (often competing) brands — the local church and the denomination. You need the local church brand to be more dominant, but from an audience awareness view, the denomination is probably more dominant. 
  • Decide what to do about this — build both? Lose the denomination? Marry the values? 
  • To members who love the denominational brand, conduct a survey: Why? 
  • If you stick with the denominational brand, (re)define what it means in your context. This requires extensive storytelling. 

7. Learn your founders' story.

  • What did you do in the beginning? 
  • What were the big struggles and victories? 
  • Look for ways these stories can build the brand. 

8. Explore the why.

  • What’s the why for the church? 
  • Why do your leaders do what they do in ministry? 
  • What is your source of un-peace? 
  • Differentiate purpose statement versus marketing statement. 

9. Define success.

  • Large church staffs have a lot of assumptions about the whys — a lot of different understandings about what it means to do church. Don’t allow assumptions, but clearly state what “success” looks like to create a clear sense of purpose. 
  • Ask, what does an image of a disciple look like at this church? 
  • Within specific ministry areas? Point to specific people and articulate why they’re an image of discipleship at your church. 

10. Dig into values.

  • Are existing values ever used in decision-making? If not, they’re not good enough. Values should drive strategy. 
  • Do exec and/or staff exercises to deepen understanding of group values. I write more about values here

11. Create a set of deliverables to increase clarity.

  • Share your research results with staff and lay leadership. 
  • Tell core stories to the staff and to the congregation. 
  • Development brand guidebook. 
  • Tweak vision and values statements to reflect this research.

Len Wilson is the author of Think Like a 5 Year Old: Reclaim Your Wonder & Create Great Things from Abingdon Press. He blogs at LenWilson.us.

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