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Merlin Mann Calls Out Branding

August 13, 2008 by

Productivity guru Merlin Mann has this to say about branding, via Twitter:

If you’re really worried about your “branding,” try to stop thinking about life as a press release and just focus on making something.

I’m pretty sure this is a common view, and I’m pretty sure he knows more than I do about most things. But I’m also pretty sure that your church shouldn’t listen to people who espouse this view. At least not fully. Let’s look a little deeper at what he says:


Stop looking at life as a press release. I think he has a great point here. And I think our own Brad Abare and the Think Personality team have this running through their veins. You shouldn’t be spending time and energy considering the smallest details of your church and figuring out how to put off a good image. You should, however, understand your identity and check up on yourself to make sure you’re effectively communicating that as your brand.

Make something. For churches, this could be “Do something,” “Create something,” “Change something,” “Communicate something,” etc. But your priority should be making disciples (however your church is going about doing that), not making press releases.

I think Mann is really speaking to companies here who seem to just come up with a cool identity and scramble to build a product around it. But, as with anything, the church can learn. You can’t just come up with a cool church name, a neat logo or a pretty color palette and concentrate on building a brand around it. You can, however, understand your personality, mission and passion, and focus on using that as your brand.

My imaginary, under-140 character, updated response tweet:

Know who you are, and build a brand that’s true to that. Stop thinking of life as a press release, and just be yourself.

Post By:

Joshua Cody


Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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2 Responses to “Merlin Mann Calls Out Branding”

  • Bryan Nelson
    August 13, 2008

    Thanks for the great reminder to be in the business of ACTING on our purpose and vision, instead of focusing solely on a slick shell about the business of acting on something.


  • Phil Cooke
    August 26, 2008

    Actually, I don’t think Merlin’s referring to companies or organizations at all here. I think he’s referring to people. To that end, I would have to agree with him. I’ve been writing lately on changing culture, and I agree with Andy Crouch’s opinion that the best way to change culture is to make culture. If I have to go to one more Christian conference to discuss “The Power of Story” I’ll shoot myself. Nike got it right: Just Do It. I wrote a book on branding (Branding Faith) but at some point we need to stop talking about it and make stuff.



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