I helped Ron Davidson develop his brand kit for Burning Questions, a Christian video ministry. His videos will be focused on the “big questions” of faith from theological concerns (such as the Trinity) to everyday trials (such as suicide or cancer).
Ron found me through a referral and we met to discuss his project. Once I understood his vision for the videos, I put together a proposal that included a brand kit, social media channels, and a simple lead-generating landing page.
Choosing a Name
To start, Ron and I worked together to choose a name for his project. We workshopped several concepts.
Little Brown Church
Tone: Historical and Quaint
Inspired By: The church’s history and building
Example Text:Little Brown Church with Ron Davidson is a virtual sermon ministry from Lebanon United Methodist Church. Our video messages explore the biblical answers to your everyday questions.
(Alternate: Plain & Simple Truth or Plain Speaking)
Tone: Home-Grown and Playful
Inspired By: Your (Ron) personality
Example Text: Straight Talking with Ron Davidson is a virtual sermon ministry from Lebanon United Methodist Church. Ron uses his straight-forward style to turn biblical truths into everyday practice.
No Stupid Questions
(Alternate: Burning Questions or Good Questions)
Tone: Frank and Helpful
Inspired By: The hesitation that people bring to exploring religious topics
Example Text:No Stupid Questions with Ron Davidson is a virtual sermon ministry from Lebanon United Methodist Church. You have questions about your faith. The Bible has all your answers.
In All Honesty
(Alternate: In Truth)
Tone: Authoritative and Educational
Inspired By: A contrast to anti-biblical moral relativism in our culture
Example Text:In All Honesty with Ron Davidson is a virtual sermon ministry from Lebanon United Methodist Church. Each message brings the honest (although not always easy) answers to your daily challenges.
Speak of the Devil
(Alternate: Ignorance is Hell )
Tone: Edgy and Unexpected
Inspired By: The need to break through the clutter in the Christian Genre. The irreverent tone would stand out for this audience. This one is obviously a risky choice.
Example Text: Speak of the Devil with Ron Davidson is a virtual sermon ministry from Lebanon United Methodist Church. Each message turns the tables on our cultural norms — by addressing sin as the root cause of our everyday challenges.
Looking at these name options, Ron wanted to keep three names in consideration, “Burning Questions,” “Good Questions,” and “No Stupid Questions.”
I proposed kicking off the project by creating a brand kit that Ron could use throughout all mediums. This created a file with a logo, photos, fonts, and brand guide — for consistency between all of his projects.
At this point, we still had 3 ideas for the name in the mix.
Logo or Wordmark
1 logo or wordmark with full color, greyscale, black and white versions. The design will be scalable for different applications
1 Page Brand Guide with colors, fonts, mood board, and messaging details.
Includes: Headshots for up to 5 people (leaders, staff, etc.) Environmental shots of building/grounds (up to 45-minute shoot) Staged photos or preaching and/or ministry (up to 45-minute shoot) Photo retouching and editing
Custom patterns, textures, icons, or graphics as needed.
Initially, I developed a logo sketch for each Ron’s top name choices. This helped him decide on the overall tone for his brand.
Then, I did another round of logos based on his top choice “Burning Questions.” The main one Ron wanted to see was a blue version of the “Burning Questions” logo from the last round of options.
We thought it would soften the look of the flame while also differentiating it from other red church logos. In the end, Ron chose the Burning Questions logo with the blue flame. It’s a highly-readable, easy-to-scale option that I created in a horizontal format (suited for letterhead, header spaces, signs, etc) and a “bug” version (suited for social media, watermarks, and promotional items).
The brand guide combines the logo, colors, fonts, and messaging to create a one page document. This guides all of the work on the brand, saving time and discussion as we work on the project.
With these areas of agreement, we moved forward with a photoshoot.
We set up a photoshoot at two locations. First, we captured images of the church where Ron pastors. He plans to use segments inspired by his weekly sermons in the videos. Also, his congregants provided many of the initial questions for his video series.
I went ahead of Ron to the location and captured environmental shots of the building. I went in the evening to capture a moody glow that added drama to the shots. Then, I met Ron and his wife the following day to capture some staged images in the building.
Next we meet where Ron would be recording his videos. I helped him stage images that reflected what his video series would look like. Some of them offered a behind-the-scenes view of how he creates these messages.
Overall, we wanted to create a visual story that captured the seriousness of the topics without losing the friendliness of Ron’s personality. The historical details of the church, and Ron’s down-to-earth vibe, bring a layer of authenticity to the photo story.
Additionally, I captured textures and created some graphics that would fit with the Burning Questions Brand Kit. Bricks are a key element — captured from the side of the church building.
I also developed some variations of the blue flame from the main logo. This can be layered onto designs as needed.
The Brand Guide
The Burning Questions brand guide (contained to a single sheet) is a quick way to reference details. It becomes a shorthand for every marketing project and creates consistency.
I worked with Ron to draft the key message. Variations of this exist on all of the brand’s social media profiles and his landing page. Later, it will act as a guide for additional text on a full website.
I delivered all of these elements to the client in a zipped package, labelled in separate folders. I even zipped and saved the free Google fonts for easy access. This makes it easier to Ron to work independently or with other partners.
Although I often make more robust brand guides for my clients, I find that these one-page brand guides (complete with the brand kit) have enough details to get a client started with enough flexibility to allow them to grow their brand in the early days of their launch.
This process took us a few weeks in total.
YouTube and Facebook Accounts
After we set up the Burning Questions Brand, I proposed switching Ron’s YouTube account to a YouTube Business account and creating a Facebook business page. This had consistent messaging, design, and contact information across both platforms.
I expected the process to take a few days to 1 week. This depends on the number of edits and discussion.
Once Ron approved of the changes, I launched each profile. They’re ready for him to start developing, publishing, and promoting content.
MailChimp Setup and Landing Page
At this early stage, we opted to create a simple landing page on MailChimp. This includes a form for collecting email addresses that will feed into MailChimp’s CRM. This was customized to match the brand and contains an overview of the ministry. Any of the emails that are collected can remain in MailChimp. Also, Ron can send out an eblast from MailChimp.
I also built a branded email template in the MailChimp editor. If, at a later date, Ron wants to build a website, we can simply build a website and use MailChimp forms throughout. Also, MailChimp has an easy “export” process if Ron decides to switch to a more robust CRM later.
I’m excited to see how Ron grows the “Burning Questions” brand through his video series.
Develop Your Brand
Every new endeavor can benefit from a brand kit. It provides you with those key elements like a logo, fonts, photos, and messaging. That creates consistency in how your brand looks, sounds, and feels from the very beginning.