What exactly is a church brand? It’s more than your logo — although your visual brand is the “outfit” your church brand wears. So, what is it then?

It’s the controlled promise (or story) that is consistently spoken so your congregation understands why they attend. It should be compelling, needed, and relevant. Your logo simply reminds someone visually about that beneficial message thread.

Here are seven indicators that your church brand isn’t working:

Your benefits aren’t controlled language. Note that I said “controlled” in the definition in the introduction paragraph.

That means that certain valued keywords are repeated enough (in your thread and conversation) that the average person in your congregation will use them when asked, “Why do you attend our church?”

You only have a logo. Or your logo is more than 10 years old. Many churches think that a logo is enough. It’s not. You need a tagline, positioning statement, or thread to accompany your logo.

This means three to five words that state the benefit of what you offer to a certain audience. If the logo is older than a decade? It’s probably time to update it.

If your logo was removed from everything, people couldn’t tell it was yours. Your branding should be throughout your promotional materials in a way that your logo isn’t necessary for your congregation to know it’s from you.

Controlled colors, fonts, and design are essential. You do have a graphic standard manual for your brand, no? You need one.

Your audience changed since you developed the brand. Your brand relates to a particular audience for a particular time.

Has the congregation gotten older? More diverse? If yes, your brand probably stopped working a while ago.

Your attendance has stagnated. Worse? Declined. When a brand is broken, people aren’t attracted to it.

Do shrinking numbers only point to a bad brand? No.

There may be more things broken that need to be fixed — and those issues will come to light during a quality brand development project. A good brand promise = audience needs + a quality product offered.

The average person in your community wouldn’t want a cap with your logo on it. Your pipeline to your church’s potential is the community around you.

If they’re not tempted to take a free ball cap with your branding on it, then your brand is broken. Many churches produce promotional materials and their own congregation wouldn’t wear (or take) them.

It feels as dated as your building. Or worse? It feels more dated than your building. Your brand needs to match your building and product. If it feels crazy different, your brand will feel inauthentic.

What do you do with an old building? Update it to the best of your budget and then create a modern brand that has nostalgia attached. It’s what a lot of millennial brands are doing now! Except they even renovate newer buildings to look older!