Church Branding: Communicating Your Message
An Interview with Cody Bridenbaugh, Founder of Made By Harvest
Church branding, though relatively novel, can be misconstrued as a sterile and corporate concept. This is according to Cody Bridenbaugh, the founder of Made By Harvest. However, Cody’s perspective offers a refreshing shift. He reframes branding as a means to establish coherence in conveying your church’s message and shaping people’s perceptions.
Cody illustrates the importance of alignment by envisioning a scenario where a parishioner discusses their ministry with someone, hands out informational brochures, and introduces them to the church’s visual elements. Should any disparities arise, individuals might feel perplexed or, worse, misled. Conversely, a sense of clarity and reassurance emerges when a seamless thread links the message shared by members, the visual identity associated with the church, and the atmosphere upon entry. This is where church branding comes in.
Our brains gravitate towards clarity and simplicity. If we can swiftly and easily communicate our church’s identity and purpose, individuals are more inclined to return and establish meaningful connections. So, where does one begin this journey?
According to Cody, the optimal starting point for church branding is rooted in crafting a compelling vision. This vision serves as the foundation upon which we build every subsequent element. You need a clear understanding of who your church is and the compelling reasons for people to engage. Once you have this, you can embark on the journey of orchestrating every facet of your ministry experience.
This is true for everything from the sermon content to the layout of communal spaces where connections are forged. It even comes down to the nuances of your logo design. A well-defined vision acts as a guiding light, illuminating the trajectory of your branding efforts. It should encapsulate not only the core beliefs of your church but also the unique qualities that set you apart within the larger community. With this vision as the bedrock, you’re equipped to tailor every aspect of your church’s identity to resonate harmoniously.
Starting with the sermon, you can infuse your message with the essence of your vision. This ensures a consistent and impactful narrative that resonates with your congregation. It further extends to the physical spaces where people gather — as we orchestrate the layout, aesthetics, and ambiance to reflect the ethos you’ve established. Even the logo, a visual emblem of your ministry, can be infused with the symbolism and values that emanate from your visionary core.
Ultimately, the process of church branding begins with the clarity of purpose embodied in your vision.
As we’ve previously mentioned, this concept is a recurring theme in Cody’s discussions throughout the podcast. It’s a principle that resonates with us, given its paramount role in effectively conveying your church’s identity and mission. In Cody’s words, it’s all about “putting the cookies on the bottom shelf.” This analogy serves as a clear directive. It urges churches to simplify the communication of their essence and engagement process.
In essence, it’s about ensuring that anyone, regardless of their background or familiarity with your church, can readily comprehend what you stand for and how they can engage. The metaphorical “bottom shelf” represents an ideal level of accessibility. It makes your message and involvement pathways easily accessible to all. This approach aligns seamlessly with human psychology. After all, people tend to embrace concepts and opportunities they can grasp without unnecessary complexity.
By distilling your church’s essence and engagement process into easily digestible pieces, you not only make it more approachable for newcomers but also foster a sense of connection and understanding among your existing congregation. By embracing this principle, you empower your community to readily comprehend your mission and contribute to your vision. As such, you’ll foster a vibrant and united congregation.
Cody brings forth a perceptive observation that sheds light on the practices of highly successful brands in establishing connections with people. He astutely draws a parallel with Nike’s strategy, where they prominently feature their apparel on athletes who embody qualities that their customers aspire to emulate.
While the church doesn’t sell athletic gear, the underlying principle remains valid: individuals remain invariably attracted to entities that cater to their needs and desires. This insight holds considerable relevance for churches aiming to foster engagement. It underscores the importance of positioning the ministry’s message in a manner that resonates with the congregation’s personal aspirations.
Just as Nike’s endorsement by athletes taps into the aspirations of their consumers, churches can craft their message to reflect how their community and beliefs align with the deeper yearnings of their members. It’s a nuanced approach that recognizes the hierarchy of needs and desires. While volunteering and giving are undeniably integral to a thriving congregation, these aspects often fall into place when individuals are convinced that their engagement holds value for them.
Therefore, the initial focus should be on showcasing how the church experience and involvement can genuinely benefit each person. By illuminating the transformative impact of participation, ministries can create a compelling narrative that prompts individuals to become active contributors.
How Can You Succeed at Church Branding?
These tips can go a long way in building an effective brand for your church. Of course, taking on this task alone may seem daunting. That’s why DonorWerx is here to help. Our goal is to help ministries around the world succeed, and this means improving donor engagement and giving levels. One of the most effective ways to do this is effective branding, and we can help you understand how to thrive in this area.
Schedule a Discovery Call with one of our giving experts today. We’ll show you how to take your ministry to the next level.