How to Develop a Compelling, Gospel-Centered Tagline for Your Church

Sometimes conversations that mix marketing and ministry don’t go well. In this post, I will not being dealing with a biblical basis of branding or marketing, but I will discuss the biblical integration with one branding tactic- the development of an effective tagline.

TAGLINE BASICS

What is a tagline?

It is short, compelling phrase that makes a promise about your ministry to people both inside and outside of your ministry. Other words people might associate with a tagline are a motto, slogan, jingle or catchphrase. Historic examples range from Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” to Nike’s “Just Do It.”  Recent examples from the 2011 Superbowl ads include Coca Cola’s “Open Happiness” and Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit.”

What a tagline is not.

A tagline is not your mission or vision. In almost every vision session or marketing consultation I conduct, people are confused about the difference and appreciate constant reminders with clear definitions. Mission and vision language are for your internal ministry audience only. A tagline is for both your external and internal audience, with a special emphasis on the external– people who don’t know about your ministry.

What does a tagline do?

A tagline positions your ministry based on a promise. When marketers use the word “position” they are referring to both the “position” in someone’s mind (How do people file your ministry in their brain?) and the position relative to other ministry offerings. (How does our ministry compare with others?)

Do I have to have a tagline?

No, but generally it is an opportunity that can be missed if you don’t.

How long does a tagline last?

Depending on what industry it represents, taglines can change every 1-2 years or may last generations. BWM’s tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine” has endured for over 40 years. I think a church should be consistent enough to stick with a good tagline for 2-5 years. The key is to stay consistently consistent while remaining fervently relevant.

HOW TO DEVELOP A TAGLINE

Here are the steps required to develop an effective tagline. Each step has a post with further information and tools.

Step #1: Revisit your vision. You will want to first clarify the identity and direction of your church. Use this tool to assess your clarity.

Step #2: Decide on a gospel-centered promise. Use another tool, developed by Auxano Design,  to decide on what gospel promise your ministry best fulfills.

Step #3: Brainstorm many possible taglines based on your promise. The key is more. Follow these steps to make your list big enough.

Step #4: Review taglines from other ministries and competitors. Make sure your voice and message are unique.

Step #5: Reduce your list to the top five taglines. Don’t make the decision to quick. Follow some simple steps over two weeks.

Step #6 : Test your tagline with people outside of your ministry. Here is a quick way to test your external audience for free.

Step #7: Make a final decision. Take the ultimate test for your decision.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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