The topics of personal branding and platform building permeated the conversations of a recent conference I attended, including concepts by which Christian leaders can promote their ministry and message. The advent of social media now allows people to engage in ministry faster and with more people than ever before.
When I first started in student ministry, Facebook hardly was more than a site connecting students from a few Ivy League colleges. Most of my interactions with students from high school were by text message or face-to-face, and we advertised church events through bulletins, flyers, and the occasional email. As I continued in my career―and technology advanced―my correspondence with students transformed. Now, there are countless ways to communicate with those whom we are called to minister.
The positive effect of social media for women in ministry is that we have an accessible platform to promote the message of Christ. We can connect and collaborate with those with whom we share the same passion, without having to be in physical proximity to one another. Yet, given this avenue of outreach comes the question: how do we utilize our current platforms to promote the message of Christ―rather than ourselves―as the messenger? Perhaps the answer lies in how we define our personal brand and build the platform upon which we stand.
Defining Personal Branding and Platforms
In a business sense, a brand helps differentiate itself from the competition, and distinguishes its quality from other companies. When customers make choices based upon a brand, the distinction is brand recognition. Similarly, a personal brand is the distinctive way someone desires to be seen by others, often emphasizing their positive attributes, such as their strengths, values, skills, and abilities. According to an article in Entrepreneur magazine, a person’s individual brand begins at birth and continues to build through their consistency of actions over time. Your personal brand, however, needs an outlet in order to connect to an audience―a platform―which might include a church pulpit, blogs, social media sites, podcasts, or newsletters.
Just as businesses and people have brands―whether intentionally or not―the church also has a brand. There are some qualities readily distinguishing one particular church from other places of worship―often through the style of music, preaching, programming, and environment within the walls of the church building. Developing a consistent church brand helps the community recognize the general culture and message of the ministry.