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Tips for using the Brand Center to tell Rotary’s story

By Peter Roaf, Rotary Club of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada, and District 5040 Interim Public Image Chair

As the interim public image chair for my district, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we tell our community about Rotary and share our excitement about our organization to motivate others to join us in the work we do. Growing our organization requires three things: attracting and retaining members, supporting The Rotary Foundation, and strengthening our brand.

Many of us know the importance of membership. And we understand how our gifts to the Foundation drive life-changing, sustainable projects. But strengthening and supporting Rotary’s public image may be harder for us because we’re less familiar with how to do it. Fortunately, Rotary’s Brand Center is a valuable resource that I often turn to for guidance.

Rotary’s public image is what people think and feel when they see our logo and hear our name. The experience they have at our club meetings or when they participate in our programs contributes to this impression. The stories we tell and images we share also help shape how they feel about us and our brand.

How do we talk about Rotary?

The Four-Way Test guides our speech and actions as we work in fellowship and service alongside people in our communities. But how do we know what to say to non-members to encourage them to join our clubs or projects? We can start by listening to what’s important to members of our communities. Then we can use the “Voice and messaging” section of the Brand Center to share information about Rotary, our programs, and whatever else you’ve learned is important to your audience, whether they’re prospective members, sponsors, or potential project partners.

How do we tell our story?

The purpose of club publicity is to influence people to join us in creating lasting change in our communities and around the world. We first seek to make them aware of our causes, then move them to a deeper understanding of why we’re committed to those causes. Finally, we want to motivate them to take action, such as speaking in favor of our cause, helping implement it, or funding it. It might even be joining our club to work with us to advance our cause.

One of the best ways to motivate people is through storytelling, a powerful medium for connection. There are so many Rotary stories to share, and the Brand Center can help guide you with tips on building awareness and understanding of Rotary. When you’re telling a story about your club project, the most important elements to communicate are the need you’re filling, the benefit you’re providing, and your project’s impact. These details will resonate with people and entice them to join or give.

The “Promote Rotary” section of the Brand Center provides tips on the avenues available to communicate your stories and when to use them. You’ll find guidance for building strong website content, sharing compelling social media messages, crafting effective press releases, and how, when, and where to advertise.

I’ve found it wise to rely on members with expertise in each type of communication. Do you have club members who are familiar with social media marketing or building a website? Make use of them and point them to the appropriate Brand Center resources.

How do we look?

Many of us take care when dressing for a special occasion because how we look is important to us. Looks are no less important for our organization. First impressions are critical, and a good appearance shows we care. What does your club or project look like to your community members? Can they readily see you’re part of a trusted organization with more than a hundred years of service above self? Will they connect those impressions with other Rotary clubs they come in contact with?

This all adds up to visual identity, and the “Brand elements” section in the Brand Center can ensure you’re using the correct logo and design elements for your club and district communications. The Brand Center has templates to create logos for Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact clubs, as well as creating “logo lockups” that incorporate a partner organization’s or sponsor’s logo. Remember, creating your logo correctly is like wearing the right clothing. Impressions matter.

Show that we’re People of Action

While many people recognize the Rotary name, not all know who we are or what we do. As people of action, we can change that through our communications. Visit the “People of Action” section in the Brand Center to find ideas to show prospective members and supporters how we channel our skills and expertise to solve community problems. You’ll find messaging tips, ready-made People of Action ads, and templates to customize with your own images to create great content for your website, social media posts, advertisements and presentations.

So visit the Brand Center today to see all the ways you can support and promote Rotary in your community and beyond.

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