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Posts Tagged ‘branding’

What I Have Learned About Branding!

With the move into LST’s new facility have come lots of opportunities to re-think ourselves.  For instance, since we have a new address, LST must produce new business cards and letterhead stationery. That gives us the opportunity to re-think how we present ourselves to the public. In addition, we are having to reprint all of our recruiting materials for the fall, both for college students and for church members.

Early last week, the recruiting team ran a brochure design by me that they were thinking about using. I looked at it and knew right away that although it was attractively done, it was going to need some re-working.  There was this big wave in the design, and LST has never used waves. Several new, bright colors were introduced—which looked good perhaps for a stand-alone piece, but if you lay it down next to other LST materials, it not only was going to be completely unidentifiable as from LST, but these bright, new colors were going to clash with the other materials.

Then, the text was borrowed from previous materials and was way too long—too many words (and I may have been the one who wrote that treatise myself several years ago!!). Anyway, too many words, so much had to be re-done.

Re-doing this one brochure threw us right into the middle of a lengthy discussion about branding.

So I’ve learned a lot about branding in the last week.

For instance, branding was originally a mark of ownership. Cows were branded, horses, and in darker times slaves were branded to unmistakably identify the property with the owner.

Later, branding was used, not just for ownership, but to identify quality.  We have an old wooden wine box in our kitchen that we picked up from a pile of things to be thrown away in Belgium one year. The box is branded with the name of the vineyard—not to say who owned the box, but to say that the contents of this box are of great value.

Now we are not wine aficionados, so the name meant nothing to us, but to people who know wines, I’m told, it is a name that can be trusted to have produced a great wine.

Anyway, back to our branding conversation at Let’s Start Talking:  we got into a lengthy conversation with our graphic designer about which color gray to use for the little talking heads in our logo. We talked about horizontal logos versus stacked logos—all kinds of subtleties that make a difference but that most of us do not consciously recognize as important.

Does this make you think of Acts 11:26 as it did me?  “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”

We don’t really know if the early followers of Jesus took this name themselves or if it was applied to them by outsiders—perhaps even derisively—we just don’t know, but it was a brand name that has stuck!

My brief education in branding gave me these insights into what this might mean for us:

  • Christian is a mark of ownership. To wear the name and not be owned is false advertising, fraud, and lots of other bad words.  It’s serious to be branded with the name Christian.
  • Christian is a mark of quality.  Just like the wine crate may be years removed  from the harvest and thousands of miles from the vineyard, we may be many years away from the establishment, i.e. the naming, but the brand name is supposed to mean that the quality has been preserved.
  • Christian is a brand name only as good as the trust it engenders.  When people have bad experiences with a brand, then they lose trust and they quit believing that it is a mark of quality.

We Christians have been divinely branded, not because of our own goodness, but because we have been purchased for a great price. We are owned.

And we have been washed and given new clothes so that even outwardly we can represent our Master as someone of quality.

And if we know who we are and live as we should, then others will trust the name Christian to be something good.  If our neighbors and our community do not trust us, then our first actions should be to check ourselves to see if we are meeting the standards of the name we wear.

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