Smashing Your Brand: Name, Language, Icon

Tapping into the complexity of our senses is an important skill for ChurchWorld leaders.

And there is not better guide than Martin Lindstrom, a global branding guru and expert on consumer shopping behavior whose work is in demand by corporations worldwide. In his book Brand Sense, Lindstrom reveals how the world’s most successful companies and products integrate touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound with startling results.

An overview of Lindstrom’s Smash Your Brand philosophy was covered in this post. Today is the second set of three philosophies and how they might be applied in ChurchWorld.

I will be using generic examples, but where appropriate, I will illustrate specific uses of the Smash Your Brand concepts used in my church – Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. A disclaimer: though I am involved in a volunteer leadership capacity, these observations are my own and have not been vetted by Elevation Church staff.

Ready for the next three?

Smashing Your Brand Name Language Icon

Smash Your Name

McDonald’s uses “Mac” or “Mc” in the naming strategy: Big Macs, McNuggets, McMuffins, McCafe, and McRib. Their naming philosophy is an essential part of their brand. Sub brands become intuitively recognizable and tap into the broad set of values that are already established by the parent brand. Integrated naming strategies reinforce the awareness of the brand’s profile.

ChurchWorld Application: Is there a unique feature of your church’s name that might make it a candidate for use in a naming strategy? Names with place connotations and “First” churches have a lot of possibilities.

Elevation Church: As a multi-site church, Elevation’s campuses are all known by a “place” name, along with Elevation: Elevation Uptown, Elevation Rock Hill, etc. The church also gets a lot of use from the letter “E” as in eKidz (children’s groups),  eGroups (small groups), and eTeams (volunteer teams), just to name a few.

Smash Your Language

The key to forming a smashable language is to integrate it into every single piece of communication that your organization is responsible for, including all internal communication. For example, the word “magic” or “magical” is a part of almost every communication the Disney companies do. The result? A recent study showed that more than 80 percent of respondents directly associate the word “magic” with Disney.

ChurchWorld Application: Play a word association game with your staff and leadership teams. Is there a consistent word or phrase that is repeated? What about in your community – does your church have a reputation for doing or being something?

Elevation Church: The church has a set of values known as “The Code.” Each value is a short sentence, containing keywords. Those key words often show up in worship experiences (sermon titles, songs, graphics, etc); they are also prominent on the church website. Activities of the church reflect these key words so much that media stories done by others often use them in the headlines – that’s smashing your language!

Smashing Your Icon

Icons or symbols are likely to become one of the most important components in building a smashable brand. Successful icons help companies take their commercial message to new and unexplored terrains. Today’s technology has opened up more opportunities for your message. It’s critical that your icon be graphically sophisticated enough to be equally understood on a billboard, a computer screen, and increasingly, on a mobile phone display.

ChurchWorld Application: Does your church have an icon as part of its brand? Is it time to “freshen” it up or has it stood the test of time? Maybe you are thinking of a total brand overhaul – if so, start with the icon as the foundation of a new brand identity.  Just remember that a truly successful icon is eminently smashable!

Elevation Church: The icon used by Elevation Church is an inverted V standing alone or in a sphere. As discussed in a previous post on Shape, it is used throughout the church. It is always prominent in print pieces, graphics in videos, and in creative elements during worship experiences. One of the most talked about uses is in a simple, old-school window sticker, appearing on thousands of cars across the Charlotte area. In short, it’s everywhere – and creating subtle connections all the time.

Next: Sound, Navigation, Behavior

inspired by and adapted from Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom


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