“Branding” has become the hot buzzword in ministry circles. That is a good thing. Ministry leaders are discovering that by properly branding their organization they can make an even greater impact for the kingdom of God, and more deeply connect with their donors.
Simply put, branding is the total experience your audience has with your organization. It has to do with not just the look and feel of your ministry, but more with consistent messaging at all levels of interactivity. This includes the content, corporate identity, donor communications, website, and even staff attitudes.
Every place where someone can “touch” your organization is a “Branding Point.” All Branding Points ultimately need to be brought into alignment for correct and consistent branding to happen. Certainly, the visual look and feel is a large part of your brand, but the graphic identity is a response to the brand, not the definition of the brand itself.
Branding is critical for any organization for the simple fact that branding provides clear organizational and missional definition to leadership, staff, clients, vendors, viewers, and donors. It helps each group understand the nature of the organization, the benefits the organization provides, and how to relate to the organization in a more appropriate way. It also allows the organization to serve various constituencies more effectively and build relationships with them on a deeper level.
Every organization brands itself whether it is done consciously or not. A brand always exists. It is created by an organization’s actions and communication. If a ministry simply lets branding “happen” on its own, confusion will often be the result. Multiple brands and multiple impressions will be generated through the audience’s experiences. Inconsistencies at different levels will arise, and people will become uncertain or even confused about the ministry’s focus and how to relate to it.
To achieve your ministry objectives — to have a deeper level of ministry — to grow the donor base — to create a broad spectrum of awareness and appreciation — your brand messaging must be correctly targeted and consistent. You must reach your audience with a unified message across a variety of marketing vehicles, be it an on-screen presence, a website, or a direct mail letter. Only in this way can you truly bring about communication integration that achieves a positive, satisfying, and lasting experience for your donors. And that will mean donors who are committed to your vision and the success of your ministry.