The whole idea of branding can be confusing for a lot of smart people. And it’s easy to see why with all of the different definitions floating around—is it what other people say you are? Is it your logo? Or the website & other promotional channels?
The simplest way to wrap our minds around this is to think of it as a promise we’re making of what to expect, and how well we consistently deliver on that promise.
This all comes down to the EXPERIENCE we’re offering. Are we who we say we are?
When we think of it as a promise, we’re in control—we manage the expectations and experience of that promise. If we allow others to define who we are, we’re constantly in a reaction mode.
This goes beyond what we say in bulletins, brochures, & billboards to what we actually do.
Everything else is just a channel for delivering on that promise.
I’m a huge fan of learning from others. Especially when they’re people who walk the talk & have a great track record.
If you somehow missed the new online conference everyone’s talking about, there’s still a tiny bit of time to sign up. Registration closes tonight at midnight CDT.
The roster of folks sharing what they’ve learned in the trenches is pretty amazing. Here’s just a few:
- Jon Ferguson — Lead Teaching Pastor, Community Christian Church
- Darrel Girardier — Creative Director, Brentwood Baptist Church
- Casey Graham — CEO & Founder, The Rocket Company
- Jay Kranda — Online Campus Pastor, Saddleback Church
- Scott McClellan — Communications Pastor, Irving Bible Church (Former editor of COLLIDE Magazine & director of Echo Conference)
- Carlos Whittaker — Author & Church Communications Specialist
- Tim Schraeder — Social media ninja, led campaigns for Hillsong United
- Blaine Hogan — Creative Director, Willow Creek Community Church
- Haley Veturis — Social Media Artisan, Saddleback Church
- Emily Cummins — Associate Director of Communications & Branding, Central Christian Chuch
- Mark Clement — Founder & CEO, Big Picture Media Group
- Jason Inman — Content Developer, LifeChurch.tv
- (I’m talking about the Keys to Communicating Change)
** A couple of things to note **
1) All of the talks are TED-style… 10 mins or less of the best stuff
2) Speakers will be chatting live & answering questions w/participants DURING their talks
3) If your schedule on Wednesday is looking a little hairy, the talks will be available again after the event for participants so you can watch them later
4) A private Facebook group has been set up for participants. Folks are already connecting & learning from each other
5) They’re including a bonus Facebook Ads Training (Which apparently I could use, as I’ve been rejected 3x so far–Thankfully I’m not talking about that)
I’m really excited to see how this event turns out. If you’re thinking about jumping on board, I’d recommend it.
Ps: Did I mention registration ends tonight at midnight?
It can be tempting to chase after “free” opportunities
- A volunteer is willing to start a new ministry idea
- An organization is offering to sponsor an initiative on your behalf
- Someone is willing to include your ad on their website, magazine or newsletter
- A partner wants to send a summer intern/assistant/extra-hands-and-feet-to-do-work-for-you
Sounds great, right? I mean, who doesn’t like free?
Before jumping on board, remember everything has a price. Sometimes it’s actual, physical dollars & cents. Other times it’s time. Or relationships. Or how much it impacts your brand or reputation.
So be sure to ask first:
- Is the timing right for this opportunity?
- What will it really cost?
- Will it ultimately help accomplish what we’re supposed to do?
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
Recently, I read an article about how United Airlines plan to improve its connection to passengers through technology… primarily mobile.
United has been my go-to airline for the past 13 years. The vast majority of my work has been here in the states, so to achieve Gold status—living in the middle of the country, no less—is no easy feat. I’ve had A LOT of experience with gate agents, customer service reps, & flight attendants. Some were good, most weren’t.
Technology isn’t going to help in the way they’re hoping. People are.
People who act like they care. That my problem matters to them & they’re willing to do whatever is within their power to help.
Technology (at best) is just an extension of the customer experience. Not the foundation of it.
Instead of investing in tech, invest in service training. Or better yet, in hiring & recruiting strategies that attract people who actually do care in the first place.
Whether in the marketplace or in ministry, the very people we’re hoping to serve get shortchanged when we elevate tools over training. Every. Time.
“I just don’t get it,” he sighed. “I feel like I’ve been repeating the same thing for months until I’m blue in the face. Why aren’t people getting on board with the new vision?”
Many of the leaders I work with are in the midst of leading through change. Some big, some small, but all with their own unique challenges.
I’ve found there are three common denominators why people tend to resist change and what we can do about it.
I wrote a post for Catalyst that talks more about this that published today & I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Does media matter? How can churches reach people without a big marketing budget? Isn’t “marketing” kind of a dirty word in a ministry context anyway?
Phil Cooke and I were interviewed by Justin Blaney at Innovate for Jesus this morning and these were just a few of the topics we covered. Lots of great stuff shared for ministry leaders big and small (And if you look closely, about three quarters of the way through, you might see my Great Dane slipping by in the background… Kind of a Where’s Waldo sorta thing)
Here’s a few highlights that were tweeted:
“We have the greatest story ever told. But if our audience doesn’t speak “Christianese” we need to adapt to their context”
“When every ministry has its own logo and brand identity, you’re setting them up to compete with each other”
“The people that really break through are the ones that focus. We were made to focus”
“If we don’t define what is important, by default, nothing is”
“The average TV is on for eight hours a day. The average preacher preaches for an hour a week. Who’s winning the battle?”
“The most creative ministries are often the ones that didn’t have money to throw at the problem”
What are some of communication principles you’ve found to work?
I am really excited to take part in a new conference that’s happening July 22nd. It’s entirely online (so no need to travel) and there are some pretty amazing friends joining me…
- Tim Schraeder (social media ninja, helped raise a boatload of cash for Hillsong United)
- Scott McClellan (communications pastor @ Irving Bible Church, prior grand poohbah of COLLIDE Magazine)
- Jon Ferguson (lead teaching pastor at Community Christian Church & all-around scary smart guy)
- Carlos Whittaker (brilliant musician, amazing at generating viral word-of-mouth, including this adorable video with over 7 million views)
- Brady Shearer (founder of Pro Church Tools & host of a great podcast I was privileged to be part of)
- Blaine Hogan (creative director @ Willow Creek & founder of a great coaching community Make Better)
- Vince Marotte (church communications specialist & prior fantastic backstage broadcast host of Cultivate << he actually arrived on a bicycle)
- Dave Shrein (wicked smart, author of The Communicators List & prior discussion leader of Cultivate)
Best part is until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT pricing has been rolled back to early bird rates of $89
Just use the promo code: Party (case sensitive)
It’s honestly one of the best ways to invest $89 and a few hours of your time. I can vouch for these guys. They’re legit. You’ll learn a ton. Totally worth it.
Hope to see you there!
A lot of the folks in my circles tend to be leaders. Oftentimes Lead Pastors, Executive Pastors and Communication Directors. And some of these leaders have huge hearts to help others—and others really need to know about it. So if you haven’t already heard of unSeminary, this is a resource you definitely want to check out.
Founded by Rich Birch, Operations Pastor at Liquid Church, (and all around great guy) he offers up some great, practical resources to guide your church communications. Here’s a highlight reel of some of the goodies you’ll find:
I honestly haven’t come across another one-stop-shop that offers so much free, quality stuff as unSeminary. Rich was a fellow speaker at Collyde last year when we first met, and he did a great job of helping me keep the crazy at bay before my session started. He’s continued to impress me ever since.
** Side note ** This is not an endorsed post. unSeminary is just a great resource and the world will be a better place if others know about it.