Brand Management: Ministry or Marketing?
Published on March 28, 2023 by Sarah Lawing
If you’re part of a faith-based organization, you may be thinking, what do terms like brand management have to do with my work in ministry? It’s a very familiar term to those in business and marketing contexts. As a person within a religious system or structure, your business is ministry, and ministry is often about communication.
Whatever your particular ministry focus may be, your organization already has a brand, and that brand is a huge part of how you share who you are and what you’re about to the world. Brand identity is about communicating that picture in consistent, straightforward, and easily identifiable ways. Having an intentional brand strategy is the first step toward refining your brand identity.
Brand management is your plan for building, refining, and maintaining your brand identity. Mission-driven organizations may resist being intentional about their brand for a variety of reasons. Some don’t have the time, personnel, or other resources to do this work, but my guess is that the primary reason faith-based organizations avoid establishing a brand strategy is that it feels too much like consumer-driven, for-profit marketing.
Here’s the reality: Faith-based organizations use the same vehicles (print materials, media platforms, and digital communications) that secular brands rely on to reach their existing and potential audiences. Your brand identity is one way people can determine if your mission aligns with their values.
Organizations that have a brand strategy are clear about their mission AND how they plan to communicate it. Those that choose not to prioritize this work will still be compared by potential audiences to organizations that do make it a priority.
If you’re ready to start being intentional about your brand, here are a few tips:
- Define your audience(s).
- Determine your visual brand strategy.
- Document your brand management plan.
- Audit your current communications.
Establishing your brand identity brings your mission into alignment with your organization’s values through your intentional processes and practices. If you can share your organization’s vision with consistency and clarity through brand identity and invitational messaging, you increase the potential impact and reach of your mission.
We’ll dive further into brand strategy in our upcoming Learning Live session on Tuesday, April 18, at 1 pm ET.
Can’t join us or want to get a jumpstart? You can check out this Tutorial on the LF! Hub, where I’ll guide you through the process of determining a visual brand strategy. To share thoughts and questions about this particular aspect of brand management, check out the discussion happening in the LF! Hub Commons.
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