What Does Your Church Brand Say?

What do the following have in common?

Uncle Ben, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and the Marlboro Man.

You probably guessed that they are all advertising characters. But did you know they were all created by the same man, Leo Burnett?

In 1943, Burnett met for lunch with Forrest Mars, who had just bought the rights for a new milling process for rice and was looking to market to a wartime economy. Mars had already settled on the name of the product – Uncle Ben’s Converted Brand Rice, named after the owner of the farm that was supplying the rice.

During their lunch, Mars told Burnett he wanted every home in America cooking Uncle Ben’s rice for dinner – even though rice accounted for less than 10 percent of the nation’s starch consumption at the time.

Burnett considered Mars’ ambitious goal, then pointed to the dignified gentleman serving them and said, “If you want everybody eating your rice, you better have somebody real friendly like him serving it.”

Mars took one look at the broad-grinned, slightly balding black man who had been serving them and called him to the table. He made an offer for the man to sit for a portrait, telling him only that he wanted all rights to the picture. The waiter agreed, and in January 1944 Forrest Mars introduced the nation to the now familiar orange box with the picture of “Uncle Ben.”

Burnett believed in selling products with strong yet simple imagery that spoke to people in a friendly manner. His philosophy, later called the “Chicago School,” went on to have a huge impact on American branding.

It’s a great, true story – but what does it mean for leaders in ChurchWorld?

Branding is simply how your church builds relationships with communication tools.

If you want to know more about the concept of branding for churches, start here with an introductory post by Will Mancini on “The Three Branding Strategies for Churches.”

If you want to have a conversation with a talented church design team, learn more about Auxano Design here.

Your church has a brand – even if you don’t know it. Shouldn’t you be the one shaping your brand?


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