Regionalizing Rotary’s brand for maximum impact

This month’s Rotary Leader featured RPIC Christina Bredin in the “Ask the Expert” column.  Christina wrote about her region’s efforts on the Strengthening Rotary initiative and shared some tips for regionalizing our brand.  What are some ways you have regionalized the Strengthening Rotary initiative in your Zones?  Have you seen any strong examples from others?


There is an old Latin saying: “Constant dropping wears away the stone.” Implementing Rotary’s brand in the Nordic countries has been like that. It has required constant communication with Rotary members in every district and club. To motivate people to adopt changes, you have to give them good background information about why the changes are necessary.

In our part of the world, Strengthening Rotary is very much about changing the concept of Rotary from a closed, invisible organization to an open, visible one. The new generation does not mind promoting Rotary, but we have had to advise more-established members that it is good to wear shirts, jackets, or vests with the Rotary logo when out on the street, and to address the public.

Bredin

In Sweden, we felt it was imperative that we update the Swedish website to communicate that something new and fresh was happening in Rotary. That way, members in all parts of Sweden were informed at the same time about Rotary’s facelift.

Rotary’s Brand Center has made it easier for coordinators and Rotary leaders at both the club and district level to motivate clubs to use the new look. Some district public relations chairs even used the Brand Center to make logos for all of their clubs so the logos were consistent throughout the district. We plan soon to implement a Swedish version of the Brand Center that will have material translated into Swedish.

The reaction of Rotary members has been very positive since it was made clear that the lapel pin would stay the “old way” — another example of the importance of clear communication.

Here are some other tips for regionalizing Rotary’s brand:

EDUCATE/TRAIN

  • Hold PR seminars regularly in your district
  • Include the Strengthening Rotary presentation at every district event.
  • Include an item about the brand in the governor’s monthly newsletter.
  • Train members to share their Rotary moment.

COMMUNICATE

  • Public relations is best in the native tongue, so translate PR materials from Rotary International.
  • Hold webinars to reach a wide audience in a cost-effective way.
  • Keep your newsletters short and to the point.
  • Use Facebook and other social media often.

COLLABORATE

  • Form PR teams made up of representatives from clubs in a given area to cooperate in events and other PR activities.
  • Create forums for the exchange of ideas and sharing of material.
  • Involve Rotarians who are PR professionals
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