Church Branding Poll Results

September 19, 2005 by

2005_09_19branding.jpgIn last week’s poll we asked if churches had a recognizable brand. 66% didn’t have one, though 27% are working on it.

I guess I should expect churches to be out to lunch on this one, though a brand seems like such a no-brainer. It makes everything else easier because you already have a logo and a specific look and feel. You don’t have to come up with something new all the time. On the plus side, 34% of churches claim they do have a recognizable brand. At least some of them are getting it.

This week’s poll asks what’s working to bring visitors to church. The early leader, not surprisingly, is word of mouth invites with 64%. And yes, we did notice that we put special events in twice (there’s special events and then there’s special events). Oops. By the time we noticed the mistake 35 people had already voted and our software forces us to delete all responses if you want to edit the question. I figured I’d rather look dumb and keep those 35 responses—it’s not their fault I’m a little slow this week.

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Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “Church Branding Poll Results”

  • Frank Johnson
    September 19, 2005

    Every church in the world has a recognizable brand. The problem is that we define “brand” too narrowly.
    Brand goes way beyond logo, look and feel, etc. Ultimately, a church’s brand has to do with the many-faceted experience a potential visitor has with the church.
    In the business world, my logo, look and feel, etc. can be brilliant, but if my receptionist is rude to customers, the ultimate branding of my company will be more about rudeness than brilliance.
    Same goes for the church world. If my logo, look and feel, etc. are top-notch, but the everyday life of the church (the people, not the organization) does not reflect well on Christ, then the ultimate “brand” people will take away is one of disrepute.
    The ultimate brand of a church is found in the interactions unbelievers and potential visitors have with current members and attendees. Make no mistake about it – that ultimate brand is always recognizable.

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  • Wp
    September 19, 2005

    I’ve been to several well branded (from a busines standpoint) churches – both postmodern / emerging church and contemporary, seeker-sensitive types. However impressed I was with their materials and presentation and regardless of how well everything worked together into their overall brand, I have often times been left wanting at the end of a service I attended as a guest because of the human factor.
    In that moment, I think Frank has a very good point. Regardless of how well branded these churches were, my perception of them from that moment on will be based on my actual interaction with the people and not on my perception of their brand via logos, websites, or any other media.
    But, I think that media branding definately has its place inasmuch as it helps creates the public’s perception of your church. Spend little effort on your materials and people will recognize a sloppily made Comic Sans MS logo & the Word template flyer. Do that and folks will think your church is just as sloppy and/or unprofessional as your materials.

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  • Frank Johnson
    September 20, 2005

    Wp, I agree with you up to a point. We should be striving for excellence in all we do.
    I keep coming back to something Jesus said in his prayer in John 17 – if His disciples are one / perfected in unity, then the world will _know_ that the Father loves them and that the Father sent Jesus (I take that to also mean that they will understand His mission when He came to earth).
    I suspect that if we concentrated most of our efforts on seeing authentic Christian community developed to a depth we haven’t known before and in such a way that the depth of our community is seen by all (the kind of community that says, “I love you so much that I would die for you tomorrow, but I love you so much that I will live for you today,” lived out in full view of the unbelieving city – outside the church building), we wouldn’t have to market ourselves. The world would _know_ that the Father loves them and that He sent Jesus, and they would come to us to find out why.
    Obviously, that’s looking at the implications of only 2-3 verses of Scripture, so it’s not entirely fair. But it gives me pause.
    I have a love-and-hate relationship with church marketing. In my day job, I’m an internet strategist. I do web marketing all day long. I also consult with churches and ministries on how to best use their websites strategically for outreach.
    But sometimes I think the traditional forms of church marketing are just ways we can continue to keep ourselves at arms-length from unbelievers. “We’ll tell you all about our church in the newspapers, in television spots, on doorknob hangers, in direct mail, etc. If you want to learn more, come to us and participate in our programs.” All instead of taking the life of the Christian community to the streets and public parks and bookstores and malls, etc.
    How do we take the life of the Christian community to the streets? Simply by being there in groups – talking to each other, talking to other people, picnics in the park, helping the homeless, etc.
    Again, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t strive for excellence in our materials. Only that we should wisely understand their relevant effectiveness.
    Just my .02.

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  • Brenda @ FUMC
    February 9, 2006

    All the comments that I am seeing on the web with regards to branding seem to assume that we all know that it is wonderful and valuable and worth the money. This attitude seems to be coming from pastors, communications directors, evangelism directors, etc. I agree, but how do I convince my congregation and communication leadership team? As a fairly large (but not a mega-)church in a main line denomination, how do I convince them that we need more than the denominational tag?

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Poll Results