Branding Buzz — What’s the Fuss?

Branding Your MinistryYour brand is the foundation of everything you do, the single most important communications work an organization can undertake. The process of brand development and articulation aligns your organization, whether it be big or small, to achieve greater focus and maximum results.

Some faith-based organizations look down on branding and marketing, thinking it worldly and only for secular entities. But it’s not. Image and reputation matter even more in the Christian world, so why hide your light “under a bushel?” Let it shine.

Entrepreneur defines brand as “your promise to your customer (or donor). It tells them what they can expect from our products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’ (services). Your brand is derived from who you are, why you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

Ronald Reagan stated and aptly so, “Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’” Organizations often become self-absorbed in their mission and never ask their constituencies  — donors, partners, employees or members, or others — about their perceptions. Or they think they know what their brand is and should be, without any objective, third-party input. If the public has no knowledge of your brand or perceives your brand unfavorably, that could put your organization on the fast track to irrelevance, looked down on or misunderstood.

InChrist Communications is currently leading organizational branding studies for several clients. One just needs to refresh and redefine its brand, while another is changing its brand/name completely. Both objectives are challenging, and the branding studies process is helping leaders better define how to accomplish their organization’s mission.

As organizations mature, their brand can become tired and stale, so updating needs to be a priority. What your organization holds dear may not resonate with the current or next generation.

A study, with objective third-party research, not only can refresh your brand, but it can also strategically align your organization. Similar to an audit, an extra set of eyes can help identify the “mission creep” that haunts most organizations, creating unnecessary weight (i.e., drag) and distraction from the original purpose.

And even in the nonprofit, faith-based sector, you have competition with other groups that are often doing similar work. That competition, even if it’s cooperative, makes it important to distinguish yourself from others like you.

Organizations exist to meet needs. How do stakeholders perceive your brand’s promise of how it will meet their needs? Is your messaging creatively articulated? Is your messaging consistent across all communication channels and tailored for specific stakeholder groups?

Your organization’s brand represents its future. Without marketplace identity and stakeholder loyalty, you could easily get lost in the crowd. A refreshed brand could create buzz that’s heard above the constant noise of business as usual.

Contact InChrist Communications to discuss the benefits of a branding study for your organization. Call 704-759-6192 or email info@inchristcommunications.com to initiate a discussion.

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Palmer Holt, founder and CEO, is an award-winning communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience in journalism, corporate and agency public relations, marketing and advertising.