Thursday, March 12, 2009

Communications and Web: Unleash Breakout #1

With Suzanne Swift (@suzanneswift) and Joshua Blankenship (@blankenship).

I've never done this before. Here I go:
  • Their job is to handle branding, communications, and web.
  • They also have IT people on their team.
  • Newspring is almost 10!
  • Web is just an extension of Communications. It's the same thing online in a way that makes sense. (@blankenship)
  • Newspring is very simple. It's helpful because there isn't much to communicate about.
  • They're a branded house, rather than a bunch of brands.
  • Make sure the visual represents the cultural.
  • You all need to figure out who you are. If you don't know who you are and what your culture is, it will be really difficult to communicate in a cohesive way. You want people to know where they are.
  • If you're doing something that doesn't support your mission, you need to take a hard look at that (@suzanneswift).
  • They have leadership that champions their style of communications. Top - down, they are very simple.
  • Specific next steps are "them."
  • What is the vision of my leadership?
  • If you're constantly fighting with your leadership over branding, web site, etc., sit down with them and figure out what their vision for your job is. (@blankenship)
  • They've made their standards available to staff and specific volunteers, so they can be empowered to use everything correctly. They've picked champions in each dept. to help.
  • to download the style guides
  • They didn't want to be brand nazis, they want to be a support to the ministries at newspring.
  • Help them focus on doing ministry, not promoting it. AMEN!
  • They don't operate through a filter of "fair."
  • If you give people too many options, they freeze. 
  • @blankenship looked at web traffic and redesigned by popularity. A fairness mentality would do a disservice to people who are trying to know about Jesus.
  • If we promote too much and all at the same level, it makes it very difficult for people to make a step.
  • Know what your role is in your church. Their role is supporting ministries. Understand where you fit in and how you can support them.
  • Define what a win is for the ministry you're promoting. (@blankenship) The win isn't how the site looks, it's people signing up.
  • We don't have time to do everything. Accomplish the ministry's mission first.
  • (side note: these two are REALLY passionate...THAT'S a win)
  • Get out of the way and remove barriers. The more excellently we do what we do, the better. If we can do it and make great artwork, that's great, but isn't our ultimate goal.
  • Clear communication with the people you're serving is key (deadline, expectations, etc.). As you build relationships, that gets easier and easier.
  • They aren't thinking about what they need to tell you. It's on you. (good one @suzanneswift)
  • If you have an antagonistic relationship with your staff, do some soul searching about what your role is. (@blankenship)
  • If you don't have people skills, I would rethink the role that you're in. (@blankenship) 
  • It's easier to work with people you like. (seems obvious, but it probably isn't)
  • It doesn't get easier as you get specialized. The bigger you grow, the more you're doing, and the harder it is. (@suzanneswift)
  • (side note: they must have awesome internet service)
  • It's a learning process and it's good.
  • Budget and Outsourcing (vendors): It's about relationships. They've had a plotter and they aren't going to do it anymore. Part of what makes it work is clear expectations. 
  • They do 6 month budgets.
  • Multisite Comm. Strategy: strategy is minimal. people come when their friends invite. They empower their people to invite. They don't flood the community.
  • Internal Communication Tool? Just email and come see us and hangout.
  • Delivery to other sites: video is upload and downloading through FTP. it depends on the content. campuses aren't doing different things and everything filters through them.
  • Communicating to Volunteer Leaders: volunteer director has a blog, newspring church blog posts announcements. 
  • Anything mass communications goes through them. They do not send snail mail unless absolutely necessary. They also won't do phone stuff again.
  • Notice for things needed:  It depends, but they like 2 weeks, and get excited with actually getting 1.
  • How do you coordinate what goes into print and what happens on stage (graphics, etc.): They don't brand events or specific things, but they do brand series (AMEN). Because they're simple, there aren't many places or people involved. 
  • Series stuff: Series planning is usually 5-6 weeks out. Designed in 2-3 days tops.
  • Their designs don't go through the pastor. Hasn't happened since 2002. They trust their people to do their stuff and be awesome.
  • They only send e-news to people who want it. They drive people to the website.
  • Moving away from print and toward screen.
  • They do a lot of business card sized invite cards to empower their people to invite. For big services like Easter, they ticket.
  • We just call things what they are. Don't create logos and use these fonts and colors.
  • How do you get other people to "get it?" They need to know your heart and that you truly want them to succeed. "Don't use that font." vs. "Let's work together to make this awesome." Point them to people who are doing it well and compare it to what they're doing (ex: apple).
  • Best way to renew the graphic identity of a church: it's huge. make sure you have support from your leadership. If you have the budget, hire.
If I could sum this up for my communications people in two words, I'd say, "build relationships."

Oh, and here is their awesome chalkboard wall calendar:


jendakerr said...

I feel like I'm there. Only it's a lot less interesting here doing test prep... I imagine it's a bit more interesting there!

Johnny Leckie said...

Thanks for posting this!

Dave said...

live blogging. hmm....i don't understand it's purpose.

Anonymous said...

so good! love it that your church has brand guidelines :)

Justin Sternberg said...

Awesome! Thanks for summarizing it so well.. will be a great resource.