A church rebrand is something most pastors will only do 1 or 2 times in the course of their ministry. It can be a challenging, emotional, and even expensive thing to do. It can also be rewarding, energizing and even healing for a congregation.
At PlainJoe, we come alongside pastors and teams all the time to help them with this valuable moment in their church history. One of the things we’ve found is that teams can get so focused on the creative product, that they miss seeing it as a pastoral opportunity.
The following seven steps are important things to consider when launching your church’s rebrand:
1. Anchor to a bigger story.
Changes to your logo and identity can help draw attention to your church and serve as an opportunity to communicate something significant to both staff and members. That attention is best used to convey a larger, more meaningful story than just an updated logo or new name. Some of the most common stories that a rebrand is anchored to are: change in leadership or strategic vision, an expansion of services or campuses, or a significant anniversary or event that conveys how the church will commit to the next season of life. If you don’t do this, people often scratch their heads and wonder why you’re spending tithe dollars on something seemingly unimportant.
2. Always start with “why”.
Simon Sinek in his popular Ted talk was right—great leaders and organizations start with why. Whenever you have the opportunity to speak about the rebrand, always discuss the rationale that led the team to decide it was an important thing to do and to do now. People feel included when they know the backstory.
3. Get the influencers (and potential naysayers) on the bus.
Early in your planning and dreaming, it’s critical to get influential church members and leaders on board. What you’re seeking to get is their agreement on the “why” from step 2. You want them to support you in the decision that a rebrand is necessary and makes strategic sense.
4. Leverage your “influencers” to spread the word.
Member meetings and special gatherings like a town hall are all venues to share the news and direction with your core church family. Your influencers, especially those who may have been conscientious objectors, should play a small part in this meeting. It’s very helpful to allow them to share their perspective of “why” the rebrand is necessary to the life of the church at this time (step 2). It’s best that this meeting is a listening and information sharing event rather than a big reveal.
5. Rock don’t roll.
When it’s time to reveal the new brand identity don’t let it out slowly; that will only confuse people. If you do, you’ll also lose the opportunity to leverage the rebrand as a catalyzing event. Do a big reveal on a Sunday morning and if possible pair it with a sermon that combines the strategic idea behind the branding with the bigger story or vision of your church (from step 1).
6. Coordinate immediate touchpoints with the big reveal.
Shortly after you announce the new brand identity, ensure that your digital touchpoints (website, app, digital signage) all switch over to reflect the new look and feel. It’s also a good idea to have a brand card printed that has the new brand identity on one side, with the strategic idea behind the logo and any key verses or phrases that align with the pastor’s message. This card can be a simple 4″x6″ card that is handed out during the morning service, left on the seats, or distributed as people leave your building.
7. Execute a plan for updating all touchpoints.
On the Sunday you reveal the new identity and direction, be sure to announce to the congregation that the updated branding will begin to show up in the days and weeks to come as you methodically replace the old branding throughout the campus. You can provide awareness that you will be moving as quickly as your time and budget will allow. Your first step in creating that plan should be to create an extensive audit of all the touchpoints—those places that your current branding exists. Your plan should prioritize the most visible and critical touchpoints first and work back toward the least visible. It’s best to do it all within a month, but budgets sometimes do not allow for such sweeping change, and that’s okay.
You will spend a considerable amount of emotional, spiritual and creative energy on a rebranding project. Don’t miss the opportunity to use it pastorally to position your church for what God has next.
These seven steps will help you toward that end.