Great churches put it in writing

26 10 2010

I’m blessed to be a part of a great organization made up of people that work for churches (specifically Southern Baptist Churches, but don’t let that turn you off) that have progressive media and communications outlets.  Most of these churches broadcast their services either by television or web streaming. Some even have national broadcast coverage.  Being a part of the Metro Media Ministers Association has afforded me a ton of resources, not to mention a wonderful, lifelong connection with guys who do what I do and understand what it’s like.

Recently I’ve seen a shift, or at the very least an increase, in the tasking of our members towards the true area of “Communications”.  While the group was founded 25 years ago by folks doing mainly “Broadcast Ministry,” today the group discussions are broad and cover all areas communications.

This morning one of the members asked the association, via it’s Google Group, to talk about Branding Guidelines.  I love the give and take of these online discussions, as many end up chasing rabbits of all kinds.  Today though, 3 files were shared that show just how serious churches are when it comes to protecting the brand. See the .pdf files here:

Champion Forest
Touching Lives

As detailed as these are, church people (be it staff, volunteers and even lay leaders)  will do whatever they want when given access to brand components. Putting concepts, structure and guidelines in writing makes it MUCH easier to protect the identity and, more importantly shows just how important the brand is to an organization.  I’d love to see your style guides, handbooks and general brand policies! I know I will borrow a ton of ideas from these 3 to use in ours.

The new information icon

19 10 2010

My good friend Brent Hammett stopped by the office today to share his wit and wisdom from the many travels with a famous, yet un-named, Christian rock band.  His latest discovery is from the magical world of bar codes. Yes bar codes! Specifically QR Codes (which stands for Quick Response Code).  I believe that this little graphic is the next big thing in the distribution of content for the mobile world.  Utterly simple to set up and infinitely flexible, I can’t wait to show you how to use it in church communications!

First you need to generate a code.  Today I’m using QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project. Just go to the web site and fill in the blanks. Tell it to generate the code and WOOHOO…
Next put the code on stuff! T-Shirts, bulletins, billboards, mailouts, stickers, etc.  Remember that you can have codes for everything and the information that is returned to the user can be almost anything as well.

For instance:
We created a code to put alongside a graphic on a t-shirt for middle schoolers about a Wednesday night service [still working on making it appear correctly, but we’ll get it].  Here’s the code:

This little graphic file contains very thing you want to know about the event. Of course you need a code reader to read it right?  Go to your favorite app store and search QR Code Reader.  I’m using the Bakodo Code Reader for the iPhone 4. There are lots and lots of free readers.  You may recognize these little symbols from newspaper sale circulars (I’ve only heard about them appearing there… since I try to save a tree a week), or maybe you’ve seen them on displays at places like BestBuy. They are amazing and even a little fun!

I suspect you will see them appear on our billboards and printed materials this week… promoting events, sharing links, giving directions and yes… quoting scripture!

Thanks @BHammett for bringing home the brain blender! It’s good to mix things up!