Establishing and Maintaining Branding in an Age of Aesthetics
A lot of things around us these days function by trying to grab and then hold our attention. Certainly some of these things deserve our attention more or less than others but that’s us—the viewers’— decision to make. This vie for attention applies to any industry believing they have something to offer people, whether it’s a retail clothing store with the latest fashion trend, a real estate agent wanting to help people obtain property, or the most important invitation: a church sharing the good news of the gospel. Having said that, because of the array of advertisements attempting to catch our eye, across both digital and physical spheres advertising must be noticeable and unique, consistent and captivating.
A strategic way of creating a captivating advertisement is by having strong graphic design and branding. Graphic design concerns how text and illustration appears visually but what about branding? Branding includes everything from your organization’s logo to the font of its text, the colour scheme used in its visuals, the tone of voice conveyed in its writing, the style and format of how information is communicated, and the feeling and emotion it aims for its target audience to experience and thereby, associate with them as the organization. Your brand has been established once you’ve determined each of these six elements, but the key factor that remains with branding is maintaining it.
Your brand must be maintained across physical and digital spheres through your print media and platforms like social media and websites because this consistency subliminally creates recognition, validity, and credibility of your organization, which then instills familiarity and trust within the audience being marketed to. Practically speaking, maintaining your brand through your communication is done by sticking to the six elements (discussed above) that you’ve decided upon and using them exclusively. Take a moment to reflect on how you’ve seen this executed by different organizations and churches that have caught your eye.
Maintaining branding in a physical sphere is often easier than it is a digital sphere and the reason for that is, in a physical sphere you’re often releasing pieces of media (like a monthly bulletin) one piece at a time. All you have to do is make sure each piece abides by the brand elements. The only time you’re likely releasing multiple pieces of communication at once is if it’s within several within one package or if several pieces of existing media have become a collection over time (for example, a handout for your youth program, a card explaining more about your church and its mission statement, a prayer request form, and perhaps a business card; you might find these near a ‘Welcome Centre’ in your church). Nonetheless, by keeping the branding elements consistent in your media, each piece should evoke—and together, fit—your brand.
However, maintaining branding in a digital sphere, particularly within social media, is more challenging because of the mass amount of media being released at an ‘instant’ rate. Until one really gets the feel of the creative vision, it can be challenging to keep all of the elements of branding in consideration while also posting things such as stories, photos, and videos. This brings us to the idea of maintaining what is widely referred to today as ‘aesthetic.’ With this idea of aesthetic one must consider elements of branding, the timing of posts, and how they spread various types of posts out. The combination of these three things will allow for more clarity of branding on social media platforms, giving your organization’s platform a distinct feel. A mobile app that helps with envisioning aesthetic is ‘Preview.’ This app works by connecting to your Instagram platform and providing a preview of the post you’re considering making with your Instagram feed, allowing you to see if it fits well or if there’s something you should reconsider. The app also comes with other features such as scheduling Instagram posts that they may happen automatically. Staying original while up-to-date with technique in the realm of marketing can be difficult because there are many unspoken variables to think about. We hope tips such as these can help grab the attention of your congregation and hold it that they may hear the much larger message your church is inviting them to hear.
By: Jessica Cluett