A current trend in the church today is to change our names. First Baptist Suburbs becomes First Church of the Suburbs. First United Methodist Church becomes Grace Church. Two assumptions drive these changes. First, the assumption that our denominational affiliation is a detriment to evangelism. Second, the assumption that a “cooler” name will bring more people to our churches. Whether or not you agree with these assumptions, churches all over are changing their names. They are re-branding themselves. If you are considering changing your brand, consider the following:
If you are going to rebrand your church, don’t assume that you or your congregation have the expertise required to do it well. In fact, assume the opposite. Create a budget for the re-branding process, including funds to do research about the area your church is in, to create graphics that support the change, to hire a consultant to assist with the process, and to buy all new everything that has your church’s name and/or logo on it. In addition, make sure you spend enough time on the process. Re-branding your church is not something that can be done overnight, or even in a month. Make sure that you take the time to consult people who are key influencers in your church and community. Make sure that you give your board enough time to really support the change before you go public. And make sure that you take some time after you decide on the new name/logo to sleep on it. Don’t announce it right away – you might not like it in the morning!
Re-branding your church is a huge endeavor. It doesn’t just affect you and your staff or board. It affects the congregation. It affects the community. It affects your mission and vision. And it affects everyone who used to attend. Be cognizant of these groups as you look at re-branding, and consult key influencers. If you have people on board with your change that others trust, they will be more likely to trust it as well. Value their input, because they will be key to making the change successful.
Have a Plan
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when re-branding is to leave remnants of the old brand in existence. You need to eradicate all references to the old brand when you switch to the new one (except for historical items or memorabilia, i.e. cornerstones). Otherwise there will be confusion within the congregation and among the community. A plan is necessary to accomplish this – don’t leave it up to chance. Have someone designated to make this happen and ensure they have a written plan. Think about every place where the old name/logo exist – signage, websites, documents, printed materials, everything. Then write them all down and create a timeline to get each one updated. This will also help with your budgeting, as these items will cost you. If I am looking for your church, but Google gives me the old name, I won’t find you. Make sure that doesn’t happen!
A good re-branding can rejuvenate a church and reach a community for the gospel.
Have you or are you considering re-branding? What are you reasons for doing so?