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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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
 
— Jon Moore
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 

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