Marketers care passionately about their brand. The rightfully view their brand is a reflection on the company and/or product it serves. Marketers often go to great lengths to standardize on a brand and protect its integrity. We don’t tend to think of it this way, but the Catholic Church is a brand and each one of our churches has its own unique brand.
I believe its valuable to look at Corporate America and see what tools and best practices we can leverage from them. In this case, corporate marketers have a tool that may be appropriate for some of you. Its called a brand style guide. I came across my first brand style guide for a Catholic Church, and feel its a great example that’s worth passing on. This brand guide was used to develop a new website for St. Clement Church in Chicago, IL. Father Manny from St. Clements graciously agreed to let me share this with all of you. Their website is built in Drupal and they hired a designer to update their “brand” and create this style guide. You can see their final website, here. While this guide was designed initially for their new website, its important to point out that these standards should really be pervasive across everything you produce for your communications. Your brand reflects the image of your church whether that’s in print or online. This is a good church-focused style guide and covers the typical elements you should see in any style guide. These elements are:
- Logo usage and permitted variants – For more on logos, check out this past post
- Tone and style of content
- Spelling variations – Are they St. Clement or St. Clements? Is it Saint or St?
While they did higher a professional to help them with this and I realize not every church has that capability, just looking at this guide and trying to cover the points above may help in the long run. These seemingly trivial things go along way for adding consistency to your communications and making your next communication project easier and more effective.