Here’s a quick punch list of ideas to evaluate and improve your church or organization’s brand:
1. ANALYZE YOUR AUDIENCE.
- Who is target demographic?
- What do numbers show is your current reality?
- What is your aspiration?
2. COLLECT WEBSITE TRAFFIC DATA.
- Pore over Google analytics. What are most common pages and clicks, types of content used, routes, destinations?
- What are missing opportunities?
3. COLLECT VISITOR AND NEW MEMBER DATA.
- Same for new members. What are averages, high and low points, retention rates. The object is to look for trends.
- Why do people stay?
- Why do they leave?
4. CONDUCT A CONGREGATIONAL SURVEY.
- What are best things about church? Worst?
- What do people think about the church?
- What are signature ministries?
- What are ministries in need of development?
5. STUDY THE CAMPUS.
- If you were coming on campus for the first time, what makes the biggest impression, and why?
- Where is the brand from the exterior view? Is it obvious enough? Where can it be improved?
- What are existing channels for campus messaging? Missing any?
- Any presence of core values and stories that reflect brand visible on campus?
6. CLARIFY YOUR DENOMINATIONAL RELATIONSHIP.
- If your church is in a denomination, you have two (often competing) brands – the local church and the denomination. You need the local church brand to be more dominant, but from an audience awareness view, the denomination is probably more dominant.
- Decide what to do about this – build both? Lose the denomination? Marry the values?
- To members who love the denominational brand, conduct a survey: why?
- If you stick with the denominational brand, (re)define what it means in your context. This requires extensive storytelling.
7. LEARN YOUR FOUNDERS’ STORY.
- What did you do in the beginning?
- What were the big struggles and victories?
- Look for ways these stories can build the brand.
8. EXPLORE THE WHY.
- What’s the why for the church?
- Why do your leaders do what they do in ministry?
- What is your source of un-peace?
- Differentiate purpose statement versus marketing statement.
9. DEFINE “SUCCESS”.
- Large church staffs have a lot of assumptions about the Whys- a lot of different understandings about what it means to do church. Don’t allow assumptions, but clearly state what “success” looks like to create a clear sense of purpose.
- Ask, what does an image of a disciple look like at this church?
- Within specific ministry areas? Point to specific people and articulate why they’re an image of discipleship at your church.
10. DIG INTO VALUES.
- Are existing values ever used in decision-making? If not, they’re not good enough. Values should drive strategy.
- Do exec and/or staff exercises to deepen understanding of group values. I write more about values here.
11. CREATE A SET OF DELIVERABLES TO INCREASE CLARITY.
- Share your research results with staff and lay leadership.
- Tell core stories to the staff and to the congregation.
- Development brand guidebook.
- Tweak vision and values statements to reflect this research.