Are You Making This Common Church Marketing Mistake?

Every time churches makes this mistake, they’re slowly killing their marketing efforts. Are you making this common church marketing mistake?

October 29th, 2013

We’ve all been there. We’re in a leadership meeting and launching a new ministry…it just needs a name…

Maybe it’s a new small group or a young adult’s ministry or an outreach campaign. Whatever it is, finding the right name isn’t easy. We bounce ideas off each other and we try to find the name with the perfect amount of epic-ness.

All the while, we’re completely ignoring a common mistake that churches make everyday. And every time churches makes this mistake, they’re slowly killing their marketing efforts. Are you making this common church marketing mistake?

Men Of Bacon

You’re in a leadership meeting trying to decide on the name for a new ministry your church is launching next month.

It’s a men’s ministry.

A couple of pastors and leaders are floating ideas around: “Let’s call it ‘Men on Fire’!” “Nah, what about ‘Ironmen’?” “Or maybe ‘M.O.B’ – you know, ‘Men of Bacon’?”

Amidst the absurdity, you speak up and ask, “Why don’t we just call it ‘Men’s Ministry’?”

The rest of your team look at you dumbfounded. “That’s ridiculous!” one of them exclaims. Another pipes in, “How is our church supposed to get excited about this new Men’s Ministry if we give it a lame name like that?!”

You decide to shut up, and the new ministry, Men of Bacon, is inaugurated.

The Common Church Marketing Mistake

Churches seem to have this idea that every ministry ought to have its own brand and unique name.

They think that simply calling something what it is eliminates any possibility of it being successful. Where’s the flair? Where’s the pizzazz? Wait, what?

The common marketing mistake churches are making is trying to create multiple brands within the church. For example, imagine a church called Grace City Church which has the following ministries:

  • Underground Youth
  • R.I.O.T. Squad
  • Sparkle
  • Men of Bacon
  • Catalyst Ministries
  • T.O.Y.L. (Time of Your Life)

How convoluted is that?

Not only does this church have ministry names that use acronyms (are churches still doing that?), but it has six different ministries, all with their own names and branding. You might think this is clever and empowering to each ministry, but it’s not.

It’s just confusing.

How To Focus Your Church Marketing On What Matters

You might find this unusual, but I’m an advocate for calling ministries what they are.

Instead of Men of Bacon, it’s Men’s Ministry.
Instead of Sparkle, it’s Women’s Ministry.
Instead of T.O.Y.L., it’s Senior’s Ministry.

Because what’s really important here? What should be the focus of your church marketing efforts?

Your church, of course!

The brand you’re building is your church brand. In our previous example, Grace City Church should be putting all their efforts into Grace City Church. And every time a new ministry is created, it should come alongside the existing brand – the main brand. It should not be its own brand.

But let’s move away from churches for a moment. How do big companies do this? Is this just a church thing?

The Coke Example

Here are a list of Coke products that currently exist:

  • Coke
  • Coke Zero
  • Diet Coke
  • Vanilla Coke
  • Cherry Coke
  • Coke with Lime

Do you see a parallel?

Everything is based around the base name, Coke. And it’s very clear what you’re getting when you purchase any of these sodas.

But let’s stop for a moment and take the church approach. What would happen if the church was in charge of marketing the next big Coke product?

What If The Church Marketed Coke?

You’re in a leadership meeting trying to decide on a name for the new Coke product your church is launching next month.

It’s Coke with Lime.

A couple of pastors and leaders are floating ideas around, “Let’s call it ‘Citrus Zest’?” “Nah, what about ‘Lime-Ola’?” “Or maybe ‘LOKE’ – you know, it’s like Coke and Lime put together?”

Amidst the absurdity, you speak up and ask, “Why don’t we just call it ‘Coke with Lime’?”

The rest of your team look at you dumbfounded. “That’s ridiculous!” one of them exclaims. Another pipes in, “How is our church supposed to get excited about this new Coke product if we give it a lame name like that?!”

You decide to shut up, and the new Coke product ‘LOKE’ is inaugurated.

Conclusion

I hope you’re starting to grasp the idea that I’m trying to get across.

Your church brand is THE brand. And it’s in competition with every other brand in your city. It doesn’t need to be in competition with itself. Here is how we do things at my church. My church is Engage City Church. We are a small church plant. The names of our ministries are:

  • Engage Kids
  • Engage Students
  • Engage Men
  • Engage Women

Each name is an extension of the church. It’s not its own thing. Remember, your church brand is in competition with every other brand in your city. It doesn’t need to be in competition with itself.

Now if you don’t mind, I’ll go and enjoy a refreshing can of ‘LOKE.’

What do you think about this church marketing technique? I’d love if you shared your opinion in the comments.