A few weeks ago I wrote about how we have rebranded our Kidmin here at Gateway. Honestly, we’re only about 30% into our rebrand. A student ministry previously called Uprising and Kid’s Quest has been essentially replaced by the larger brand of NextGen. So far, the transition has gone really well. However, I wanted to explain the thinking behind why we’re branding the way we are.

First of all, we wrestled with the brand and communicating our organization for months. I talked to dozens of church leaders and the responses I got were all over the place. So, I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong way to do this, just the way you feel fits your situation best.

My initial desire was to brand Gateway Kids and Gateway Students. It’s super clear and that’s a huge win. My preference is always to brand in conjunction with the church. However, in a NextGen/Family Ministry model there was a problem with this (in my opinion). Actually, two problems.

  • If we went with Gateway Kids and Gateway Students, people will have strong ties to these brands. How do we cast vision for a unified family ministry and NextGen strategy in the shadow of these two brands. We could communicate what we’re about, but much of it would be lost because of the strength of these two brands. It’s not that I wanted NextGen to be the strongest brand, but I wanted it to be more significant than what it might end up being next to Gateway Kids and Gateway Students.
  • Secondly, the more I thought about it, the less I liked a brand that a kid would have to identify with for 8-10 years. Under the brand Kids Quest, a child would be a part of Kids Quest from birth through 5th grade. Both three year olds and and 5th graders would both claim Kids Quest as their church experience and I didn’t love that. I know how important it is that older kids have something that distinguishes themselves from the younger kids. The same is true of high school students compared to middle school students. Sure, you could brand rooms or specific age groups as sub-departments of Gateway Kids – which is what most ministries might do. Currently, ever room in our Early Childhood department has a name/theme. However, I think it’s over doing it. It’s too much. We’d have a kid who is in the room “Asteroid Alley” in Kids Quest Juniors as a part of Kids Quest which is a part of NextGen. Too many divisions. Too many things for parents to remember.

So, this is where we’ve landed.

NextGen is the over-arching ministry for infants through high school. It’s a brand parents will most identify with. Over the 18 years their child could potentially be in our environments, the NextGen brand doesn’t change. It’s a constant for parents and hopefully they’ll connect and identify with the strategy. However, we’ll brand four areas for kids and students. Early Childhood (infants-Kindergarten), Elementary (1st-5th Grade), Middle School (6th-8th Grade) and High School (9th-12th Grade). The name/brand/theme around these four areas is what kids will identify with. The brand will be fun and relevant to that particular age group. Fun, right?

Individual classrooms in early childhood/elementary will not be branded with cute theming or names. Rooms will likely be known primarily by the age group in that room (like one’s, three’s or 4th & 5th Grade Girls).

So, we’ll have a strong brand for parents to identify with and strong brand for kids/students to identify with at key ages and brands for kids/students to look forward to promoting into.

There is only one exception to all of this, and I’ll write about this next week.