In the advent of a  new Rotary year and the current global situation provide, there is great opportunity to look at your club, its brand and its direction. Brands have to evolve over time, but reactive tactics and haphazard brand executions can happen despite one’s best intentions to be strategic and coordinated – no where is this more evident that with some clubs' reluctance to adapt to the Rotary branding even though it is not new and has been around for 7+ years.

Look at your club's branding and ask yourself: is your finger on Rotary's "branding pulse"? Are you performing regular brand health checks which are needed to ensure your message is effectively reaching the right audience? Worse still, do you think your club might be on a slow decline, sliding into irrelevance due to lack of visual recognition?

Whether things are going well for your club or not, it’s worth taking a little time to review whether your brand needs a little tender-loving-care or some urgent resuscitation. Here are seven steps to follow to give your brand the recharge it needs:
  1. Redefine your core values: Are you clear on what your organizational core values are? Do you have your values, mission and vison written down as part of a Business and Strategic Plan – once in place, they are easy to maintain.
  2. Review your brand promise: Are your members (current and potential) and your community clear on what you are promising them and what they can expect from your club? Remember that a brand is the essence or promise that is delivered or experienced. It’s about what your "customer" thinks about you, not what you think about yourself. Maybe it is time to ask if your club fosters and leverages the Rotary International Vision and our Core Values?
  3. Re-evaluate your audience: Take a fresh look at your audience and base each year. Use it as an opportunity to get rid of any deadwood and realign your plan for membership and service. Be aware of an evolving community – demographics, culture, marketing needs.
  4. Revise your offerings: Step back, reflect on your club assemblies and meetings as opportunities for member feedback, as well as, on mid-year goal achievements, taking a closer look at current Rotary trends, significant changes in your community and what surrounding clubs, and the District is doing. What services and products do you need to start promoting, offering, or retire, to better serve your community and improve your image?
  5. Reassess your marketing strategy: Stop and reassess its execution and suitability for your area and demographics. Be prepared to revise it, if needed.
  6. Reflect on your branding executions: Branding is a lot more than a logo, but it does include the logo (design and advertising) application across the media channels with which you communicate (digital/social/print/signage/clothing/trailers/marquees). Lay everything on the table and do a brand and communications audit: is everything relevant? Is it on brand? Are the colours, fonts, message, photography, brand story, worthy? A misaligned look, feel and message can confuse your audience and you appear inconsistent and unprofessional – something that may not sit well if ever a claim or criticism is in place against a Rotary club. Is your club marketing team being as responsive, effective and creative as you need them to be?
  7. Consider your best asset - your members and friends of the club: Are all of your members (especially new members) educated and equipped to live out your brand? Members are the key part of our brand story; so, ensure that they are telling and promoting it well – our brand is remarkably well respected by those who know it. Simply reflect on our core values of friendship, integrity, acceptance of diversity and our service and leadership opportunities.
Hopefully a brand audit will only reveal some small inconsistencies in your club...but do not worry if it reveals more – there is always a solution and there is always help. Start by filling in those gaps and ensure that you celebrate and promote the cumulative effect of making the improvements – your target market of the community and members is perceptive and will notice.

If the inconsistencies are great and your brand has gone off on random tangents or is dated, then it could be time for a new strategy or rebranding exercise, and it is time to call in help of your Assistant Governor or District Public Image Chair for some guidance and connections.

For further information and a wealth of proper resources, check our the RI Brand Center:
– Article by ARC PDG Brian Coffey