It’s not often that a church or ministry truly gets branding. Sure, there is no shortage of churches and ministries that try their best to be relevant or provocative with hipster bands, light shows, and a tattooed/bearded pastor. But what we’re talking about is a classic, traditional church that gets it – that knows it’s presenting something quite old to the culture, but at the same time, it’s a message that has shaped humanity itself. How does a church in that model make something old new again?
Westside Reformed Church (WRC) in Cincinnati hired Brand Shepherd to figure out how to do just that.
But first, a brief snapshot of what this church is all about. WRC is, in their own words: “A Community, Founded Upon Scripture, That Takes Refuge In Jesus Christ.” It is a church in the Reformed Christianity traditions, and by “reformed,” it refers to terms you are likely familiar with such as The Doctrines of Grace, Calvinism, etc. WRC is part of the URCNA denomination (United Reformed Churches in North America), and was started in 2013. While being a young church, it follows a liturgy like the church services of old, and appeals to the growing number of people – young and older – who want authenticity instead of style in church.
In a lot of ways, this new church is like a startup business. From strictly a branding architectural view, the needs are the same in many areas. So we felt equipped to help WRC launch the visual branding elements of its bigger church launch.
When we came into the picture, the identity creation process was started, so the first task at hand was to provide brand guidance on the new identity. We worked directly with the designer to get the logo “close enough,” then our designers stepped in and finished the new WRC logo with polish and detail.
With the new logo created, we turned our attention to creating a website for WRC. The criteria was that it had to be easy to use, mobile-friendly, equipped for on-going content, and easily found via search engine. With those criteria needs, WordPress was a natural fit. Budget required us to use a WordPress theme in order to focus on branding it and making a space for great content. Take a look:
The new website met all criteria, and it even features a space for weekly sermon audio with test references for ease of use. This website continues to be updated regularly with fresh content and is one of the best-managed websites we have ever seen after released from us. The staff at WRC do a great job of creating on-going content.
With the website in place, WRC set their attention to a tangible, traditional method of getting the word out: direct mail. Since Cincinnati’s west side neighborhoods are very traditional and familial, using direct mail to get the word out about WRC was very appropriate contextual marketing. We created three postcards: One to introduce the church that is still in circulation, one for a special coffee shop study of the Gospel of Mark, and the last is to promote a study of the book of Revelations.
From there we created the assets WRC needed to promote the church and other events. From an A-frame sign that stands outside the doors of the church each Sunday, to business cards, to a special logo and poster for a two-day event, Brand Shepherd has been WRC’s partner to make sure their branding matches the quality of who they are and why they exist.