Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
When it comes to marketing and advertising, it's easy to forget your umbrella.
Often, ads can be developed to feature the latest program or event. Marketing plans can revolve around strategic goals for a specific part of your ministry, and along the way, very little is communicated about the brand of the organization - the umbrella that everything lives under.
Your brand is the thing that will protect you when the rain comes. It's the sum of every interaction that your audience has had with your organization and if all it's ever been was piecemeal adverts for this ministry, that program or your latest event, then you've missed a massive opportunity to connect with your audience on a deeper level than simply as a provider.
Sure, you can create advocates through a great event or program, but advocacy happens much easier and in a more meaningful way, when it's created in context of relationship.
Personal relationships offer a great picture of this truth. If you were to say something that could be taken two ways, one positive, and the other negative, your closest personal friends will always be more likely to interpret the things you say in a positive light and/or be forgiving because they will bring all the context of your friendship to bear on your comments. Those who don't know you don't have that context and as such, will be far more likely to interpret your comments badly.
That's your umbrella in a friendship. It's also your umbrella in ministry communications.
So next time you start talking about your great new program or event, make sure you don't forget to bring your umbrella to the party.