What does it mean to be a Christ-like, progressive church in today’s culture? This was the big question The Garden hoped we could help them answer. While juggling competing interests and needs among audiences at their founding location on the northside, The Garden was also interested in tackling how they could plant seeds in the Broad Ripple community without abandoning their current congregation. In addition to creating a strategy to tackle these challenges, helping The Garden plan their path forward, we also embarked upon rebranding effort to help set the tone for the future.
We began our branding process with a listening tour. From the congregation, we wanted to understand not only what people love about The Garden as it currently exists, but also what their vision is for the future. When looking ahead, Gardeners dream of an energetic, connected group of people, focused on social responsibility and making a difference. We encouraged the congregation to share their ideas for making their collective future a reality, and in doing so, unearthed opportunities for fellowship, outreach, service, and space.
Our listening didn’t stop there. As a church who is open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds, we also engaged non-members in the branding process, particularly young adults. Through creative design sessions and guerilla research, we explored reasons why people shy away from church, how they alternatively choose to practice their faith, and what “spirituality” means to them. Through these conversations, themes around nature, personal reflection, food, and connectedness emerged, guiding new-member engagement ideas for the (future) Broad Ripple location.
After connecting with so many passionate people with different interests and needs, we found ourselves at a crossroads. Do we keep The Garden name? Do we still identify as a church? How do we serve our current congregation while also appealing to younger audiences?
While The Garden’s brand originally focused on spiritual growth and renewal, the stories we heard throughout the listening tour painted a slightly different picture of The Garden. One focused on the journey—not only the road ahead, but also the road behind:
Everyone’s journey to The Garden is different, and that’s okay. This logo symbolizes the diversity found within The Garden. Welcoming of all backgrounds and religious views, The Garden provides a safe space for spirituality, helping you make your best path forward.
With so many ideas to implement around fellowship, programming, and outreach, we developed a roadmap to assist with the brand strategy and roll-out. The roadmap was inclusive of The Garden’s high level mission/vision, as well as specific outlined tasks for the current northside congregation and the future Broad Ripple location.
We have rebranded ourselves in a way that will allow us to talk more clearly about who we are. SmallBox did surveys, focus groups, and visioning exercises with our people to inform all of the work they did. We have a clear road map of how to move forward in an effective way and we could not be more pleased with all they did for us.
– JILLIANE PRUIETT, THE GARDEN