Many people mistakenly think of a branding as creating a logo and plopping it on some stationery and a website. But branding is so much more. We particularly appreciate marketing strategist and author Seth Godin’s definition: “A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

What are the expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that people associate with your church? That’s the question to wrestle with as you seek to create or redefine your brand.

Another common misconception people have is that branding and marketing are interchangeable. Branding is the emotional connection, experience, and reaction to your public image as an organization. It refers to what you do and why you do it. Marketing, on the other hand, outlines the specific tactics and activities your church engages in to promote its offerings and services. It refers to how you communicate who you are and what you do. A logo is the distinctive design element that identifies your organization and helps communicate the brand.

Developing your brand

So how do you begin developing your brand? We recommend starting with this great video interview with Rev. Jeremy Peters, planting pastor at The Grove’s Cottage Grove Campus, who shared how his church went about creating and living into its brand promise and values.

Peters also suggested three great questions that you might spend some time discussing with a few members of your church and your community: What are you known for? What do you want to be known for? And finally, how do you close the gap?

He shared a helpful marketing framework for targeting and positioning your church’s brand that The Grove used in its rebranding process. It provides a high-level outline of some key questions to explore to help you become crystal clear on who you are and what you are about.

Branding professionals for hire

Do you need a new logo and/or new marketing materials? There are a few options we can recommend:

United Methodist Communications offers four different logo development packages at very affordable prices. The first option gives you a logo with your church name next to the UMC cross and flame, and it’s free. But you can also opt for more custom options for between $100 and $250. This is a great option if you’re on a budget but want a new or refreshed logo.  Learn more

Karla Hovde, the Minnesota Conference communications specialist, is a graphic designer extraordinaire. If you’ve been to our annual conference sessions or attended an annual conference event, you’ve likely seen her handiwork. We keep her very busy in her full-time job, but she provides graphic design (and website) services on a freelance basis in her own time, charging $30-$35 per hour, depending on the complexity of the project. If you’d like to talk with her about a project, you can contact her at Karla keenly understands local church challenges, needs, and opportunities, and we wholeheartedly recommend her!

Upwork is a platform that allows you to post a specific project (design and creative is one of the primary categories) and receive proposals from qualified individuals who can do it for you. Before deciding on who to hire, you can review each person’s past work, find out how previous clients have rated them, and see how much they would charge. You could hire someone to simply design your logo, or to design a variety of publicity and marketing materials. This service is fantastic because it connects you with professionals in the field but leaves you fully in control of the process, and there is an incentive for those submitting proposals to be competitive so that you choose them for the job. We have firsthand experience with Upwork and highly recommend using it.  Learn more