Getting Started: Ambert Rodriguez

Getting Started: Ambert Rodriguez

July 8, 2013 by

Ambert Rodriguez loves branding. You may remember his creative approach to enforcing brand standards. These days he’s the creative director at Paradox Design Studio. He’s worked as a volunteer staff member at several churches in South Florida and worked full time at Potential Church as a lead designer. While at Potential he oversaw a rebranding project, including a name change from Flamingo Road Church to Potential Church. He led the design and web team that created work for six campuses, thus the need to enforce brand standards.

What’s the one thing you wish you had known when you were getting started in church communication?

Ambert Rodriguez: That getting things done “right” is a continuous process that varies depending on who you’re working with. What’s important in church communications is to know that every ministry leader really and truly loves their ministry area. Even though they might not be communicating the “right” way you think they should, you really have to assume positive intent. I know that’s kind of weird to hear, but teach them, take the time to explain what the right way is, educate, and you will have a huge win on your side.

If a church is just starting to get serious about communication, where should they start?

Ambert: Start with the “why.” Figure out why you exist as a church, other than the obvious. Find your unique “why” and use that as your core. Build all your communication to support that.

What was your first great success as a church communicator? What made it work so well?

Ambert: I would say my first success was fixing the internal communications processes. Creating systems that worked at all campuses to make sure we are all going in the right direction made a huge difference in all other areas.

What was your first great failure? What lessons did you learn?

Ambert: My first major failure came when I started focusing too much on the tasks and not the people. First and foremost, working in church communications is about people. If you lose sight of that, it doesn’t matter how much you know or what skills you bring to the table. The key is relationships.

How do you deal with congregations that are stuck in a ‘That’s how we’ve always done it,’ mindset and are resistant to trying new things?

Ambert: To get different results, you have to do something new. If a congregation is resistant to change, then start small if you have to. Build up to bigger things once you have a few “wins” on your side.

What have you learned from working for multiple churches instead of being on staff at one church?

Ambert: Every church culture is different, and it’s very important to cultivate that and learn their communication style.

Since you have that experience with multiple churches, what are you seeing that churches are doing well? What do churches need to work on?

Ambert: I am very interested in how churches handle branding. There are some churches that do a great job at controlling that perception by continually communicating their “why.” More often though, I’ve seen that churches don’t have a clear understanding of what branding is and how to improve in this area. I would say most churches need to work on this. Some think the brand is the logo, when in reality it is far from it. The logo is the representation of the brand. Your church brand is what your congregation thinks your church is, whether good or bad.

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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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