Branding is simply what makes your church unique.
Often we may consider branding to be simply a logo or font choice or color scheme. For instance, we may consider Chick-Fil-A branding to be the cows on the billboards or Nike’s branding to be the swoosh or Apple’s logo to be an apple with a bite out of it.
While those things are trademarked, and no one else can (legally) use those images to represent themselves, these companies are known for more than their logo – there is more than a logo that makes them unique from their competitor.
Consider that when you say “thank you” at Chick-Fil-A they are known for saying “My pleasure” or a black and white commercial comes on of someone playing basketball, which doesn’t refer to a product, but simply ends with a swoosh, or a group of lifestyle shots is on a commercial that ends with a white screen. Each of these things is not a logo, but each is a representation of what makes that company unique – something that is not branding, (hint: this is marketing) but points to branding.
Your logo is not your branding, but it is a visual representation of your brand – a visual representation of how and what makes you unique.
In practical terms, your branding is your core values, and what you value at your core matters. Your core values dictate what makes your church unique from other organizations, and determine the decisions you will make as an organization.
Why does being unique matter for our church?
We’re here to tell people about Jesus, and make disciples, so why do we need to be unique from other churches? There are plenty of people to reach, and we’re not in competition with them by trying to be better.
This is all true. I don’t disagree with one word, so how are you going to reach the people that need to be reached? A church that sings hymns and has weekly meals together every Sunday is going to reach someone different than a church who has flashing lights and loud guitars.
A church with 2 mid-weeks services is going to serve someone differently than a church with Sunday services and small groups through the week.
A church who focusses on local outreaches to the poor is going to serve different people than a church whose focus is sending people to take the gospel to unreached people groups around the world.
A church with country music during worship is going to reach different people than a church who likes urban gospel. (And they can both impact their community in unique ways, even if they’re next door to each other!)
We’re not trying to be unique in order to COMPETE with other churches, we’re discovering the unique thing that God has called us to be so we can COMPLIMENT other churches, because just like your spouse was drawn to you because you’re unique, your friends like that about you too, and where you work, and which gym you choose (or in my case, which 711 is most reliable to get a coke Slurpee).
Your branding is about discovering what makes you unique. It matters so you can reach the people that no one else can.