Why Brand Identity Matters in Faith-based Organizations
Published on December 6, 2022 by Sarah Lawing
What is a brand?
When you search the word brand, the first definition that comes up from Oxford Dictionary is “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” We tend to associate this term with products for sale or logos that represent large companies.
Does a faith-based organization have a brand?
If you’re part of a faith-based organization, you may be thinking, what do words like product and company have to do with my work? Yes, these are words from business and marketing. But, as a person within a religious system or structure, you are in the “business” of ministry. Whatever that particular focus may be, your organization already has a brand. This is part of your reality.
What is brand identity?
We live and work in a context and world that rely on communication of all kinds. Part of how your organization communicates with both present and potential participants is through words and images that make up your brand identity.
Ideally, brand identity is how people come to know who you are and what you represent. Being intentional about your brand strategy is the first step toward refining your brand identity.
Do your communications have a consistent look and feel to them, or do they seem haphazard and random? Most importantly, does the look and feel align with how you want to be perceived by your current audience and by people outside your organization?
Why do faith organizations shy away from thinking about brand management?
Brand management is your plan for building, refining, and maintaining your brand identity. Some working in mission-driven contexts resist determining a brand strategy for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t have the time, personnel, or other resources to dedicate to being intentional about your brand. Another reason faith-based organizations may avoid doing this work is because it feels too much like for-profit marketing.
Your brand identity is part of how people 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. The fact is that most (if not all) major denominations have built an intentional brand strategy and have made plans about how they manage their brands that include published brand guides. A few are linked below.
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