Yesterday, Tom Kellogg laid out the basic rules of branding your secular organization in Part 1 of “Branding a Secular Organization.” Today, he’ll tell you how to put those rules into practice through your organization’s logo, mission statements, and venues.
A good logo is extremely important. It visually connects an individual to your brand. Have someone who is great at graphic design create a logo based on your organization’s name (or hire a graphic designer). It should look somewhat professional. With limited resources or talent, interesting fonts can make the group name come alive. Boxes and colors around the name can create a simple but nice logo.
Your Own Brand and a Name That Matches
Start with the name of your organization. Who are you? Are you humanists? Atheists? Agnostics? Freethinkers? Skeptics? Secularists? All or some of the above? You may wish to choose one identifier to be used in the group’s name. For example, the Boulder Atheists, the Jefferson Humanists, the Secular Hub, Freethinkers from Mars, and the Godless Heathens are all existing groups with creative names. The name should be displayed in large, bold letters with an interesting font.
Building the Logo
The two branding laws mentioned in Part One concerning how to create a perfect marketing logo will be discussed here. They are The Law of Shape and The Law of Color. These are basic principles but give some good guidelines.
The Law of Shape refers to a logo shape that fits your eyes. A perfect shape is offered in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding. Basically, the best shape for a logo is a rectangle or rectangular box that is 2.25 times as wide as it is tall, or 2.25 units wide and 1 unit tall. This shape fits your eyes perfectly. Of course, your logo can be any shape you want. Also, the font type you choose for the name can be elegant, but must be first and foremost easy to read.
This is a simplified logo to demonstrate the concept of shape and readability.
Colors are important, but try to choose sets of colors different from those used in other secular groups’ logos, especially the ones of local groups in your area. Have one main color or possibly two main colors that work well together. Stick with basic colors. Because of the way each color hits your retina differently, humans experience unique sensations caused by different colors. For instance, red portrays energy and excitement, while blue is peaceful and tranquil. White is purity, and black is luxury. Purple is the color of royalty, and green is the color of the environment and health. Yellow is neutral, but can mean caution. Orange is similar to red and can be used to create an offset effect.
The Main Branding Graphic or “Banner”
The banner is a way to graphically create your group’s basic identity. These guidelines should form a picture or essence of what your organization is about. The result should be one image making a banner graphic to place on your website homepage, Meetup page, social media pages, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, and flyers, to name a few. This is your top branding point.
Start with the logo you created as the basis, then combine it with the following:
A few catchy words such as: “Don’t Believe in God? Join the Club!” or “Reason Beyond Belief” are effective for attracting interested individuals. This phrase should be in bolded font and can be included in the logo or used alongside the logo.
Narrow Focus vs. Wider Focus
Optionally, after the logo, with the name and catchphrase shown in bold letters, one can add a longer description such as, “We are Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics, Freethinkers, Skeptics and Heathens.” This gives a wider inclusiveness to the brand. If not included in the banner image, then make sure it is displayed prominently in your online presence and literature.
Have t-shirts made with your logo or banner on them. Shop around for the best price. Sell them to members for a reasonable amount.
A mission statement should be displayed prominently on your website, Meetup page, social media pages, and in your literature. It briefly describes what the organization is all about. It should have several sentences summarizing the main goals and purpose of your organization. Make it concise and to the point. Focus on the ultimate main reason your group exists.
Here is a fun example:
The Godless Heathens are dedicated to the cause of making godlessness acceptable in all societies across the globe. This will be accomplished by throwing parties so awesome, everyone from all walks of life will want to join in.
Notice how focused and concise the message is. Okay then, we can also get a little more serious:
The Downtown Humanists advocate a progressive philosophy of life, grounded in Science and Reason, that supports equality for everyone including humanists, freethinkers, agnostics, atheists and skeptics, affirming our social responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives, and work for the greater good of community and humanity.
A Place to Call Home
Finding a place to conduct regular membership meetings is an important piece of the brand, although not always easy. The space must be fairly central to the group’s base area. Most secular groups don’t have much money to rent a meeting place, especially when starting up. The main monthly meetings need to have a fairly regular home base that can be depended on for a sense of consistency. Most other events can take place at different locations such as restaurants, pubs, parks, community centers, libraries, and such.
The Boulder Atheists still to this day, after almost twenty years, hold their monthly membership meetings at the Boulder Public Library main meeting room. It is free but has to be reserved several months in advance. Most other events take place all over town.
The Jefferson Humanists meet at the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, a western suburb of Denver, Colorado, and the cost is very reasonable.
The Secular Hub in Denver rents its own place, which is fairly expensive, so they have to collect a lot of donations and membership fees as well as hold fundraisers. They host other Denver-area group meetings as well as their own. Look for a place like this in your area, but don’t go too far from the home base area.
Community centers, libraries, and some businesses have meeting rooms available for free or at a low cost.
Part Three includes tips about getting the word out about your organization and advanced tips for organizations that are ready to move on to the next steps of branding.