Brand Identity Guidelines

Logo Design Love has an interesting post on brand identity guides for many leading brands.  There are some great gems in there.  Surprisingly, I was especially impressed with the Walmart guide. It’s definitely worth a slow skim (suppose that’s an oxymoron).  One topic to pay close attention to is section 9 on Tone and Voice.  Finding a good and consistent voice is so important. We’re working hard on voice at CCV and believe it or not for the Rock project.  We want the Rock ChMS to be more than a piece of software.  We want it to be a community.  One with a personality.

Social Media Audit

In late 2012 we engaged a local marketing firm, Off-Madison + Spin Six, to conduct a social media audit of our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram outposts. To be honest, I wasn’t sure of the quality of what we were going to get back.  Being a bit of a pessimist, I always worry that a consultant will come it read my watch and tell me what time it is.

The results however were incredible. They provided us back with a 63 page document that had an in-depth review of each of our outposts (I learned this new term ‘outpost’ from the process, cool right?) The report also gave numerous suggestions for improvements with some real world spotlights that showed what other leaders were doing. The document ended with a section on ‘content recommendations’ that were very practical and I dare say brilliant. In summary, I think the document was one of the most practical and useful marketing tools I’ve read.

With their permission, I’m posting the results of their audit for you to download/read/share.  While the content of the audit is very specific to our church the suggestions and resources are very relevant to any church trying to better themselves in the area of social media.

If you would like to pursue a similar project with them let me know.  I’d be happy to send you their contact information.

Enjoy the document.  If you find some nuggets you like, or if the document was helpful to you post in the comments below.

Mobile App Released

Our mobile app was released this weekend.  So far it has been well received.  To date it has been downloaded to 2300 devices.  Below is a quick overview of the features it contains with a short description on how each is integrated into our systems.

(note click thumbnails for larger images)

Application Home

Contains the main navigation with a single promotion.  We’re moving to a “This Week’s One Thing” promotion strategy in our communications team.  This will highlight that one thing each week.  If you touch the ad you get more details.  Currently, this ad is driven out of our Arena database.  This will soon be moved to the Rock ChMS.

About Us

This page of the app shows the location of each of our campuses.  It also has an invitation feature that allows an attendee to send a personalized email to their friends.  This page is a bit of a ‘filler’ page in my mind and probably will be replaced with additional functionality in the future.


This page displays a sample of the current prayer requests in our Arena database.  It only shows those that a person has OK’ed to be public.  Each is approved (and possibly edited for privavcy) by our prayer team. From this page you can also add a prayer request.  These requests are added directly into Arena.  This will in time also be transitioned into Rock.


The notes functionality is by far the most popular.  This allows attendees to take digital notes during the sermon.  There are a ton of features to this part of the app (fill-in the blanks, free form entry, etc.).  I’ll do a future post just on this feature soon.

Message Videos

The app lets you select and watch sermons directly on your mobile device with support for AirPlay.  This again uses Arena’s podcast functionality to drive the content.  We currently host our messages on Vimeo so it uses their HTML5 player.  We’re currently looking for a better video network.  If anyone has some good recommendations please post in the comments.

Group Finder

This portion of the app allows someone to use their current location, or enter in an address, to find the closest Neighborhood Group (aka small group).  It also allows them to register for a selected group.  The usage of this feature has surprised us.  In the first two days over 25 families have registered for a group.

On-line Giving

Due to the fact that Apple does not allow donations in a native app we redirect the giving button to our website.  We have created a new highly responsive (thanks Titter Bootstrap) page that is very interactive.  If someone wants a peak at what the giving UX in the Rock ChMS will look like this is it. I hope Apple allows for a more native experience in the future.

For the most part that is the app.  I’ll be posting a couple of deeper dives into some of the features and code in the near future.

First Impressions Videos

Our first impressions team just created these training videos. Thought I’d share them here in case you’d like to pass them on to your host/first-impressions teams. If you have similar videos, on any topic, I’d love to see them and share them with our staff.




Info Center


Communion Prep

Baptism Photos

Seth Godin often writes about getting promotion tools/information into the hands of those who are on fire for your organization.  They can’t help but spread the word.  For a long time our team has been wanting to focus on this.  We finally made the time to tackle one such idea.  Here’s how it works.

As soon as Baptism photos come back from the volunteer photographers they are added to a person’s record in Arena.  That night the person baptized will receive an email with a personalized link to a page where they can view it (image below, names and faces blurred for privacy)


They can also, with one click, share the photo and link on their Facebook page, Twitter, email and Google +.  They also can download a digital copy of their picture.  The individual person still receives a printed photo and certificate in the mail.

No More Average Joe

I have a minor addiction to magazines.  I love to flip through them looking for new ideas and products.  I even flip through the US Postal Service’s Deliver magazine, which actually is better than you might expect.

In the latest issue (available on-line) they have a article on recent demographic research done by Peter Francese.  In it he states:

My research found that there is no longer an average American. When I was a child, people used to talk about John Doe; he was the average American in a relatively even society where vast numbers of people had the same sort of needs for consumer products and services. There was a significant uniformity of society that has really never been matched. But I can predict with a high degree of certainty that the 2010 census will essentially put the last nail in the coffin of the average American, because he or she no longer exists.

This makes thinking about target marketing even more important.  Thought I wonder if having just a single target is enough these days.

Feel free to read the rest of his article which starts on page 17.

Luke Days

It’s that time again.  Time for Luke Air Force Base’s Air Show.  For the last 6 years (the show is every other year) we’ve put a full back cover color ad in the shows program.  It’s handed out to over 75,000 people.  Below is a comp of this season’s ad.

We heard a great story about the ad from two years ago.  One of the instructors at Luke told us that the ad is up on the dashboard of the flight shuttle that takes pilots from the squadron house to the flightline.  That it’s literally the last thing a pilot sees before getting into their plane and the first thing they see when they return. It’s funny how God uses our efforts in ways we never realize.

We’re lucky to have Luke AFB in the valley.  It’s the primary training facility for the F-16 and soon the F-35 JSF.  We’re even more lucky to have many of it’s pilots, crew and support staff call CCV their home.

If your church has a local military base I strongly recommend partnering with them on efforts like these.


Branding Overview #2

Sorry for the delay in getting back to the follow-up on our branding project.  After defining the first two models we started to create a fictitious target profile.  The single person embodies who we see our target as. 

As a reminder from the previous post… we narrow our target not to be exclusive (all are welcome), but instead to focus our decisions (programming, events, marketing, etc) to who we feel we can best reach.  Some would say churches should not have targets.  I agree that the Church should not have a target, but every church has one, whether they know it or not, we’re just trying to understand it and make decisions with the best possible information.

To help with communication we gave our target individual a name, Mike Haas.  So here is Mike:


(click image for PDF)

Creating this document was an interesting process.  As we talked with our leadership team about each characteristic (type of clothing, car they drive, etc) we learned a lot from them on who they see the target as.  For instance the conversation as to whether Mike used an iPhone for Blackberry lead to a lot of insight on how Mike makes product selection.

The output of the process was a redesigned identity package.  More on that next time.

Branding Overview #1

Over the past few months our team has been working closely with our senior pastor and executive pastors on creating a new branding strategy. Our team approached this project as if we were external consultants coming in to listen and learn with new ears.

What made this different from previous projects is we sought to understand instead of pushing to be understood.  That’s a key phrase.  I think in the past our motive in many meetings was to push our ideas on what our brand should be.  This time we had an agreement as a team to only speak with questions. A simple example… before we might have said something like, “Men in our target feel comfortable with rich bold colors.” In this round we’d say “What colors do you think our target feels comfortable with?”   If they replied with something that we might have in the past disagreed with we’d follow-up with something like “Tell us more about why you think green would resonate with our target.”

You could say, “But doesn’t your team have valuable thoughts and experience to share?  Shouldn’t your knowledge be used to create this strategy?”  I believe the answer is no.  Our senior pastor and his two executive pastors own the church’s strategy.  They understand the target they wish to reach much better than we do.  More than anything we need to find ways for them to articulate what they’re looking for.

After each meeting we’d summarize what we thought we’d heard and then try to create models and graphic representations of what we heard.  We’d bring these to the next meeting and present them to make sure what we heard was correct.

Below is one of the models we made to understand our target.  Just so you know… CCV’s target is, and has been for many years, to reach ‘unchurched men between the ages of 25-45’, though lately we’ve been easing up on the age range (the whole reaching men strategy is huge and could be 10 or more blog posts on it’s own on why this is a good idea).  At first this might sound like a very specific target.  In reality is it’s very general.  Trust us… we’ve argued many many times about what a guy between 25-45 likes.  The truth is there’s a lot of different types of men.  We created the chart below to try to differentiate them and narrow who exactly we’re trying to reach. 


(click image for larger view)

One caveat…this doesn’t mean this is the only guy we want to attend CCV.  It’s the target that we’ll use to make decisions about marketing and programming.  We know if we hit this target a great many other guys will also enjoy the ministry.  It’s like a dart board.  The bullseye is something the aim for, but the whole board is “good stuff”.  Imagine playing darts without having a point to aim at.

Let me walk you quickly through the chart.  There’s two axis. The horizontal axis is a continuum between guys who think a lot and those who just do.  Einstein vs Evel Knievel.  The vertical access is a continuum between guys who want to be seen as trendy/fashionable vs those who like to be seen as outsiders.  Justin Timberlake vs Jesse James.  You can see where we placed our circle. 

What was really helpful about this graph was the discussion it started.  We placed the circle in a location based on what we heard from the first meeting.  During the second one we were able to adjust it a bit based on their feedback.  These tools helped us to get into their heads on our target in a way that we haven’t been able to in the past.

Some might disagree about the need for a target.  The truth is everyone has a target, some people just don’t that they do.

Next time I’ll share more of the models we used to move us closer to a new brand.