The Rotary Brand - January is Rotary Awareness Month.
When I joined Rotary at age 53, I had never heard of Rotary.  I knew nothing about Rotary.  I knew about Lions because my father was a member of the Downtown Lions Club.  I heard about Kiwanis as they sponsored one of our little league teams.  And, I heard about Optimists as they also sponsored one of our little league teams.
Rotary must be the world’s most best kept secret.  For the world’s largest community service (35,000 clubs world wide and 1.2 million members) organization to be so little known begs the question: why is that so?
People in 147 countries were helped by Rotary last year.  And, yet, 75% of people who ask what is Rotary know the name Rotary but have no idea what Rotary does.
Is the brand lacking?  Is there, in fact, a brand?
Let’s explore what the Rotary brand is and how we can get the Rotary brand out in to the public domain to increase our presence in the world. 
Most organizations have a logo which visually communicates that organization's brand.  The logo presents instant recognition and understanding.  But a brand is more than its logo.  For instance, Rotary's brand is much bigger than its wheel.
A brand is how others think about the organization.  And, brand is the bond an organization has with the public as well as the members.
What Rotary, and its brand, does is brings together leaders from all continents, cultures, and occupations to exchange ideas and take action for communities around the world.
We use our connections, experience and skills to work together to bring about lasting change.  Our diverse Rotary membership work together to solve the world’s most challenging problems.  Our brand, or public image, goes hand-in-glove with membership and foundation.  If our brand is known it will bring in more members.  If we have more members our foundation will grow to provide more projects at home and abroad.  If our foundation grows, our brand will grow.  Our public image helps Rotary expand its reach.
I believe that people's perception of Rotary comes from their experiences with our clubs and programs, along with the stories we tell and the images we share.  The brand experience is most often reflected in the club experience.  Is the club experience: fun, relevant and engaging?  
It’s up to us to help strengthen Rotary's brand.
Here are some suggestions as to what we can do to improve our public image: 
  • We can use social media to get our message out.  Effective messaging can include: keeping our audience in mind; visually stimulate them by using People of Action stories and photos; list clear compelling facts and have testimonials and Rotary "moments."
  • Posting club pictures or club projects on our club websites or Facebook page will generate more interest in our club. The imagery posted on social media can help reach potential new members or event attendees.  As you know, more people rely on social media more than ever.  These posts will drive traffic to our club.
If each member pitches in to help spread the word on social media reach we can  dramatically grow our membership.  And, wouldn’t that be great.