October 18, 2016 The New Perspective I Gained When My Church Rebranded
I recently had the pleasure of helping a church through the branding process. And this wasn't just any church, but my own personal place of worship – Eagle Church.
Rebranding can mean a lot of things, and sometimes churches have a hard time with the words "brand" or "marketing," so let's just start off by calling it communicating. We can all agree we need effective communications. Even Jesus spoke in parables to help us understand what He was teaching.
Effectively communicating who you are through a visual brand can help people in your community know what you want them to feel or experience when interacting with your church. Since our churches change and grow over time, rebranding gives you the opportunity to best tell your story and invite others to be a part of it.
I recently had the pleasure of helping a church through the branding process. And this wasn't just any church, but my own personal place of worship – Eagle Church. Being a congregation member as well as a Fishhooker was a unique and amazing perspective throughout the process.
I loved being part of the brand unveil Sunday. Seeing all the elements come together and feeling the energy it created within our church body was amazing.
My 11-year-old son knows what my work entails at Fishhook. He knows that we partner with churches to help them effectively communicate. He knows we help brand churches, make websites, produce videos, etc. But as we were getting ready to head home at the end of the worship service on that Sunday morning, he said, "So, this is what you do with churches all the time? It's really cool!"
As a sixth grader, he understands the impact and the healthy pride a church feels when they have "grown up" in their communications and church members feel they have new tools to invite someone to church and strike up conversations on the soccer field.
He sees the momentum shift it has created at our church. Now he understands in a different light how Fishhook helps churches share their stories via their brand. He understands and sees how we encourage churches to use their websites to help people take spiritual next steps and that it isn't just another bulletin board. He understands when print pieces work in unison with digital tools like social media and apps, it has a big impact.
I loved being able to share this important work with him at our church. It has been truly special to see him "get it."
But it's not just my son who has been observing and learning!
I've learned a bunch too as I experienced this communications effort as an active church member. Here are some of my reflections:
- It's really important to define what makes your church unique and different – and to keeping defining this and telling stories to help people know it. It's not just about the creative mark, but it's also about the experience that people – church members, guests and others in the community – get and the feelings it evokes when someone encounters that particular brand. Then, Eagle Church is helping support this by the blogs they are writing that lean into their new tagline – More. Together. Every day. They are helping people understand and embrace what this means and why it is important. This is a reminder that content and storytelling is so important.
- It’s pretty difficult to build brand recognition when your brand isn’t consistent. Eagle Church is being intentional about using their new logo and brand colors on anything that connects to the church. That way, if someone stumbles upon a T-shirt worn in the community, a sticker on a car or the church's Facebook page, they’ll be able to connect it back to the church. The lobby of the church also supports the new brand with a fresh coat of paint and new signage. This reminded me of the importance of planning and budgeting for a full process, not just piece-mealing things together and hoping it makes an impact.
- The Eagle Church staff did a great job of subtly hinting through social media and messaging in the Sunday morning services leading up to the unveil Sunday that something new was coming. People were having conversations about what these cryptic posts were alluding to. Generating "buzz" and anticipation is really useful!
- The timing on the launch of the brand is important as well. Personally, I've wanted my church to walk through this process for years, but the timing just wasn't quite right. The launch of the new brand was perfect for the season of ministry that the church is in now. And of course, God's timing is perfect!
Written by Shayla Kenworthy
Partner & Director of Business Development