Critical Church Communication Fixes

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If you're not moving forward you're moving backwards. So true. We had a client recently say the rest of the world is communicating at the speed of social media and we're simply not even close to being there. It was his way of acknowledging their failure to adapt to communications change. What a bold, yet real conclusion to make on their part. Also, his statement was spot on in capturing the speed in which communication continues to move. 

Moving into the new year, we want to help you avoid mistakes that so many churches have been hindered by in 2015. 

PERSONAL OR CORPORATE?
People expect brands to be more relatable. Anything short of this is a closed connection opportunity for so many. Corporate branding feels cold... personal branding is approachable. Where does your church lean? The coming year should prioritize your church's brand and communications as becoming more relational than ever. Less programming and more stories with feeling and character! After all, we're talking about lives changed and not potluck suppers. Every piece of communications from your church should embody more personality, more life than previous impressions. Want a simple illustration; look at how Coca-Cola took the steps of changing their packaging to include people's names or life phrases that speak to us in a personable way - that's a strong effort towards personal branding.

MILLENNIAL APPROPRIATE OR NOT?
How effective is your church communicating to millennials and Gen Z? After all, they represent the next generation of leadership for your church. Their communication language is visual, digital, open book, bold, and always wired. Is your brand big and bold in their eyes? Is your story compelling and amazingly special? Is your church boldly living out its mission? Is your communications in synch with their communication expectations of video, photos, brand excellence, and realness? It's time to evaluate how your brand engages younger audiences. 

ARE YOU IN THE HANDHELD WORLD?
One constant for 2016 will be the continued growth and dependence we have for our handheld devices. Is your website relevant for handheld users? Your site must be responsive design and your messaging must be handheld appropriate. Many churches have responsive websites, but their communication methodology does not engage or translate well to handhelds. Churches continue to struggle with wordiness, complex messaging, and content that simply does not inspire people. Handhelds mean smaller canvases on which to communicate, therefore your messaging approach needs the right mix of visuals and light copy. How effective is your brand in the handheld world?

IS YOUR COMMUNICATIONS PLAN RELEVANT?
It's time to do an honest assessment of your communications plan. Does your church even have one or is it driven by "this is just the way we've always done it?" Many churches confess their approaches are antiquated and irrelevant on many fronts. What is the communication mix of print, digital, and social that keeps your communications in front of your audience in informative and relevance ways? What's your social media formula; tempo; and language? What's your guest engagement plan and the tools that support it? It's time in 2016 to have tighter focus with a plan and embrace new methods and the retirement of tired methods. 

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Brian Jones