Diocese of Orange
We helped the Catholic Church create cohesion with a unified brand voice and design system.
The Diocese of Orange is one of the largest and fastest growing Catholic communities in the nation with 62 parishes and numerous programs, services, and schools in Orange County, California.
The Diocese of Orange purchased the Crystal Cathedral and its surrounding 45 acres with the intention of creating a central campus for Catholicism in the West.
That same year, the Diocese launched a capital campaign to gain financial support for the new property. While the marketing materials focused primarily on the functional aspects of the physical property, there was no mention of the property’s purpose or how it related to the Diocese at large. For the capital campaign to be successful, the Diocese recognized that both the property and the Diocese needed a defined purpose and identity.
One barrier to achieving this was that active Catholics had strong relationships with their community parishes and priests, but little interest in connecting with those outside of their immediate place of worship. As a result, each parish focused its communications on its own congregation. It therefore became increasingly difficult for audiences to understand and support the Diocese.
Through in-depth research including 60+ interviews with clergy, lay leaders, and parishioners, we learned that the vernacular of local and global Catholicism can be isolating. In an effort to unite Catholics of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds, we re-established the Diocese of Orange’s core mission as an institution that leads individuals on their own, highly personal faith journey.
The Crystal Cathedral – renamed the Christ Cathedral – was positioned as the beacon of faith in Orange County, the physical space where audiences could experience their own journey of faith together.
Armed with a clarified purpose and meaning, we developed a new visual identity, brand architecture system, and messaging strategy for both the Diocese and the Christ Cathedral property. The systems were treated as a “family of brands” with shared visual assets, voice, and tone to reinforce their relationships to each other.
The brand systems were applied to numerous websites for the Diocese of Orange and Christ Cathedral, as well as all subsequent marketing campaigns.
The Diocese of Orange also conducted two waves of brand equity research to measure awareness, opinion, and perceptions among Orange County Catholics of the Diocese institutions and key leadership. The first research phase was run prior to investment in the brand programs, and the second wave was run after the brand program was executed.
There was a sharp increase in awareness, positive opinion, and foundational perceptions of the Diocese and its leaders. This increase was most pronounced among young and engaged Catholics, who were key to the Diocese’s growth and success. The quantitative research also validated the positioning of the Christ Cathedral property, and instructed individual parishes on how to drive engagement within their own communities.