I love a menu with lots of pictures, I’m much more apt to order what looks good than what sounds good. I’m a visual guy, that’s just how I’m wired. But when I order that steak that looks so good on the menu and you bring me something that looks like something just short of a hamburger … big fail. (here are some great examples) I think there’s something for the church to learn here.
I’m a big advocate of setting expectations that you can achieve and better yet, go way above. So often marketing fails to set up a realistic expectation, which leaves nothing but a bad taste in your mouth (pun intended).
You want diversity in your church. Awesome. But just because you find a stock photo of a Hispanic family for your web site, doesn’t make you diverse. In fact, you’ve set someone up for failure for when they walk through your doors, excited to find a place where they can feel welcome and not feel like an outsider to look around and see not a single Hispanic couple in the building.
Or maybe you want to be the cool hip church like the one down the road. So you put together a super cool, edgy billboard campaign and the people come in droves … into a church that delivers a very traditional, conservative atmosphere. Think they’ll ever be back?
Marketing is an inside out endeavor. It’s easy to find the right stock photo that shows the perfect family, hire a company like ours to put together the next campaign–it’s easy to set a high expectation. But if we don’t meet those expectations, we’re going to let people down, we’re not going to connect with them.
That’s why knowing who you are as a church and as a ministry is so valuable. That’s why a logo can’t just be a pretty mark, it needs to show your personality. That means you must first understand who you are. Spend time getting to know you and being true to that throughout all that you do.
If you want to be diverse, begin by being diverse. If you want to be hip … probably time to lose the polyester suit coat. Start from the inside and work your way out.