A Warning…If Your Brand is You

Here’s a principle you need to understand in leading a church, team or organization.

I see many church planters, pastors, and other leaders who build their organization closely around their own identity. They brand the church or the organization, very closely associated with their personality.

When you think of the church…you can’t help but think of them.

In fact, you may think of them even more than you do the church.

It has their flavor, their culture, their stamp. That happens naturally in leadership. It’s unavoidable to an extent. People like to follow a leader. People follow a person. But, these leaders seem to do so purposefully.

I’m not saying that’s wrong. It is certainly one option. I even encourage personal branding in THIS POST. And it often works.

(Unless, of course, it’s done out of arrogance or in the case of the church it’s done at the exclusion of the real brand of a church…Jesus!)

But here is the warning…

If you brand something around you….

It will be harder to hand off should you ever or when you ever need to.

You can build a brand around your name, your personality, your particular flavor…

You can probably be successful at it…maybe even more successful at it.

The problem is that when you build around yourself…when you don’t give others a seat at the table of leadership…when you don’t let others share the “brand”…

…and then you leave.

What happens to the brand?

It often leaves with the one it was branded upon. Then others have to build a new brand.

Makes sense, right?

I’m not saying it’s impossible to brand around a person…lots of organizations have…some continue to be successful…it’s just more difficult. Take this blog for example. Who else wants the brand, right?

If you want the vision to last long after you are gone…

Build your brand around a vision that is bigger than you….known for more than just your name.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • annettejett says:

    Agreed Ron-I have seen this in the church community, and experienced it first-hand in my own business in the private sector. Although it sounds like a good idea in the beginning, it is hard to build an exit strategy for yourself when the brand is all about YOU! My new business, Pilots of Change, is all about highlighting OTHERS that are making a difference helping to remedy social injustices. Your post is a nice change from the branding argument that you are your business. My mission has developed over time, but was made more clear to me when I asked God if He wanted me to tell my story – He clearly answered, 'No, I want you to tell MY story.' On a side note, I hope to meet you soon now that you are in my hometown! Blessings!

  • Greg Conley says:

    Great post Ron! I liked what you said at the very end…"build your brand around a vision that is bigger than you." When this happens, then the vision can continue more easily. We all have a brand (an identity)… some just have been given a greater leadership role where their brand is more easily recognizable. The key in ministry, personal life, and professional life is to understand whom your serving. First and foremost, we serve Jesus Christ in all areas; in my personal life… my family & friends (community); business life… primarily customers (but includes employees & shareholders). Ultimately our brand should be Jesus Christ… that's where our identity should truly be. Your post always have me thinking, share great insight; and challenge my own thoughts… so thanks!!

  • Kandace says:

    I just asked this question yesterday, ” Can you transfer a brand?” Your posts reflects the same thoughts from the person who answered my question. I have a non-profit that I am considering handing over and thankfully it will not be that difficult b/c the brand is not me. And the mission is way bigger than me and one others feel passionate about as well.

  • margaretfeinberg says:

    great point. this may be harder to fight when the leader has a big personality and the brand is easier to build

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