At the outset of the initiative to Strengthen Rotary, three very important questions were posed:What does Rotary stand for?How are we different from other nonprofits, and even for-profit corporations, that support worthy causes?Why does it matter to the world?Every organization in the world must answer these questions. And it became the number one objective for Rotary to learn the answers. Because…
The fact is…manypeople do not know Rotary. Those who do only know our name or have a only a general idea of what Rotary is and does.We got some great insights from Rotary’s own Public Image Surveys in 2006 and 2010,* which reached a wide cross-section of prospective members around the world.The research found:Four in 10 have never heard of us.Another four in 10 have heard of our “name only.”Only two in 10 claim to have “some familiarity” with Rotary. Unfortunately what much of this group knows is often colored by misperceptions and half-truths. [FOR REFERENCE ONLY.]*Research: Rotary Public Image Surveys completed 2006 and 2010. Responses received from six nations: Argentina, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Africa, United States. Surveyed approximately 1,000 individuals in each of six nations by phone and online. Survey has a +/- 4% margin of error.
As a result…it is harder for Rotary to attract the new members and volunteers needed to achieve our full potential The findings concluded that Rotary is not earning full credit for the good work it does in communities around the world. This is important…not because we want credit, but because we need people to understand the great work we do so that they will want to join us and the organization will grow.
We obtained responses fromover 20,000 Rotarians, Rotaractors, prospects and staff in 167 countries on six continents. We reviewed trends in social and business sectorsConducted 160+ interviews, club visits and visits to Rotary Institutes and our 2012 conventionExplored the underlying motivators of giving time andmoney—globallyThe findings provide a wealth of practical, actionable information.
The research indicated we have five primary objectives to strengthen Rotary:Clarify and communicate our core reason of being to capture our most relevant points of difference.Bring our values to life to ensure our words support our actions and vice versaRedefine or re-energize our voice to reflect our unique and distinct character.Organize how we present our offerings so people understand what we do and how to engage.Refresh our visual identity to energize our look and feel while celebrating our heritage.
From this exhaustive research…We learned the top two reasons people join AND STAY in Rotary are:To positively impact their community. Rotarians have a deep seated need…a food, water, shelter-quality kind of need…to give back to their community. And they join for the friendships…and the connections they develop.People stay with Rotary year after year for “community” and “connection.”
The volumes of research and detailed findings can be distilled to three key implications that will guide Rotary’s strategy and future direction:Rotarians are responsible leaders, both socially and ethically.In Rotary, we define leadership by mindset, not title. Some of us hold senior titles, CEO, partner, school principal. Others are leaders because they step forward to tackle some of their community’s toughest challenges. When people step forward as Rotarians, they ARE leaders. Connecting always will be a driving force behind RotaryWe are a membership organization.Connecting celebrates our membership and the friendships and bonds we form.And Rotary is not just about global impact. Rotary creates community impact on a global scale.
This is a simple question, but the research findings indicated that few Rotarians could give a clear, resounding response. In most cases when you ask, “What is Rotary?” many start with “Um” or a hesitation. The research helps again…because it has helped to better define the following three core ideas about Rotary.
Rotaryjoins leaders…we are a catalyst for collaborating and improving our communities.We exchange ideas…bringing our expertise and our diverse perspectives to bear on community problems.Then…because ideas are only the first part of the solution and Rotarians are interested in solving problems…Rotarians take action.By taking these three thoughts…JOIN LEADERS….EXCHANGE IDEAS…AND TAKE ACTION…we can help every Rotarian to create their own “elevator speech” that reflects their personal Rotary experience and culture as well as these three attributes. For instance…my elevator speech is (JUST AN EXAMPLE):“Rotary brings together successful, diverse and influential community leaders who step forward to take on some of the most meaningful challenges in communities everywhere. And we do this community-by-community around the world.”
Every organization has a personality. And looking at Rotary’s personality through the lens of the research, we identified four attributes that make us unique.The first attribute is smart. This speaks to our ability to see challenges from different angles and captures the expertise we apply to solve social issues. The second attribute is compassionate. This speaks to our heightened emotional understanding of the people we’re trying to help. The third attribute is persevering. This describes our determination and drive.The fourth voice attribute is inspiring. This reflects our ability to motivate others to act by conveying hope, enthusiasm, and passion.It’s a new way of talking about our organization—and living the Rotary experience. This is the new voice that should inspire and motivate Rotarians and others who want to connect with our great organization.
Rotary’s current visual identity system consists of our wheel and a couple of Rotary colors. With so little design direction, Rotarians have implemented a wide range of designs that don’t give Rotary a unified, consistent look. We have not provided enough tools for clubs and districts to tell their story consistently.<<CLICK>>We want all Rotary communications to be easily identifiable as “Rotary,” whether it’s a club website, a billboard, or a fundraising brochure. Rotary International will provide in the future an online visual and voice toolkit that will help Rotarians present a consistent look in their communications. It will be built using the new voice and identity based on our color palette and our logo. This slide represents a snapshot of some of the key enhancements Rotary is making to its visual identity for colors, font, logos, image style, and iconography. It is a bit busy, and more details are in the available guidelines. Let me provide a few specific details.
Our official signature (logo) consists of the word “Rotary” beside the traditional Rotary wheel…to make the word “Rotary” more prominent.There will be a variety of color combinations used for best graphical representation, but it is important to note that the Rotary wheel—our mark of excellence—will remain prominently displayed in our publications and materials.
Our leadership colors are built on Rotary’s Royal Blue and our heritage Gold, with the addition of Rotary Sky Blue and Rotary Azure. Our full palette of secondary colors and neutrals will give us greater flexibility in design, while maintaining consistency.
When our current wheel is used in small sizes, the words inside become difficult, and even impossible, to read. This is particularly true in websites and mobile applications, such as smart phones and tablets, where images like the Rotary wheel break up into unreadable pixels and blur when enlarged. <<CLICK>>The board has agreed to accommodate digital media and ensure an accurate reproduction of the Rotary emblem by encouraging the use of a specially modified emblem for smaller replications. This modified emblem should only be used with the word “Rotary” as part of the digital and small space signature. And, the toolkit includes standard typography, a headline and body style, and recommendations for telling our story more visually through images and iconography.
In the past, Rotary’s materials were often more concerned with the “hows”…for example, the process and mechanics of becoming a member. Today, we are refocusing our communications on the “whys”…the benefits of becoming a member…using action-oriented headlines and demonstrating compelling benefits to the individual.
A club service project poster might look like one of these with many different styles and colors provided in a menu of options for Rotarians and othersHowever, the key attraction is the voice—an action-oriented headline:“No one in our community should go hungry. With our help, no one will.” Again, the large Rotary Gold wheel ensures that the message…”This is Rotary”…comes through.
We want tocreate promotional flyers like this. And tell the impact of all contributions through powerful infographics.
Now this is a preliminary version, but again, see how our palette provides for a fresh, clean and bright look for Rotary.The updated website launches/launched in late August and reflects the strengthened voice and visual identity.
At the club level, we currently see a number of uses that may confuse our the general public. Some clubs personalize the message so much that it is difficult to tie it back to Rotary.And the fact is…even though our clubs are autonomous…what one club does affects all of Rotary.The recommended approach being encouraged and promoted is clean. And it makes it absolutely clear that this is a ROTARY club.
The new visual identity encourages consistency when addressing Rotary’s six areas of focus…and creates a graphic that always shows all six as one unit. This way everyone knows we’re talking about Rotary’s six areas. We also avoid creating new logo elements for each individual area. The graphic can be used horizontally, vertically, or as a grouping. The highlighted area would identify the area that is currently being promoted or described. If a project covers more than one area, all of the relevant areas can be highlighted.
We continue to encourage clubs to promote and publicize a local or global service project. It’s absolutely clear, that “Day of Service” is a project of Rotary Club of “somewhere.”There may even be clothing or other promotional items that could use the same visuals.
When we have a partner relationship or for our internal campaigns…we are again clear—visually—about that relationship and that this is a Rotary project.
Our new approach brings marks of RI programs like RYLA into Rotary’s color palette. <<CLICK>>This approach addresses the problem with all acronyms…they don’t work in languages…and by putting the words “Rotary Youth Leadership Awards” below the logo. This could be accomplished in any language. Finally, note that the Rotary Signature (logo) always appears with the RYLA logo. Here, it’s shown on the sleeve.
Finally, a preliminary implementation plan has been created, based on a three-part strategy to:InformInspireAnd Empower Rotarians with the tools and resources you need…including an online version of our guidelines…that will help bring our voice and identity to life.A team continues to work to operationalize this plan…for Rotarians…for staff…and for the public…so that we can gain the greatest value from our investment. The implementation plan has begun, and you have started to see some changes. You’ll continue to see more over the next 2-3 years. RI has taken a thoughtful approach to incorporate the new voice and visual identity into Rotary’s communications, training, and publications. Resources are limited so we’ll update publications and communications on the regular revision cycle, with some expedited materials, like Rotary Leader and This Is Rotary.Please be patient as this is rolled out to the Rotary world.
So what are some of the immediate steps being taken (or have been taken if in the past):A Rotarian guide to help Tell Rotary's Story using the new voice and visual identity will be published on rotary.org along with the distribution of key materials to specific audiences for consideration at the institutes in 2013. The detailed implementation plan has been put into action by the Secretariat with regular updates to the Presidents, board, trustees, and advisorsWe will continue to assess the readiness and acceptance of Rotarians and others about the new messaging, look and feel through feedback mechanisms like surveys, focus groups, and other approachesThe core rebranded materials will be rolled out in a phased approach. Rotarians will start seeing visual identity changes over time, and it will take 2-3 years to change everything.Rotary is looking to have the initial piece of an online system in place starting in January 2014, where Rotarians and others will be able to take the rebranded digital assets (i.e. emblems, logos, pictures, videos, etc) and create materials via tools and templates which are consistent with the guidelines.
So, what is the end result? The long-term success of “strengthening Rotary” through this initiative will be measured by the increased awareness and understanding of Rotary in our membership base and the general public. We have baseline data from 2006 and 2010 and the significant amount of research undertaken for this initiative. We can gauge progress through future surveys and focus groups.We all must speak and live Rotary’s voice. We all need to be using the same language, voice, and stories when we talk about the Rotary experience.The increased awareness and understanding of Rotary will have significant results to help us: Increase membership and retention of like-minded individualsIncrease impact in the communities served by RotaryIncrease donor support to clubs, districts, and The Rotary FoundationIncrease partnerships at the local and global levels to provide more funding, more relationships, and more expertise to the Rotary cause
The board is encouraging as many Rotarians, clubs, districts, and other members of the family of Rotary to use this approach and the tools to strengthen Rotary’s messages.But we do realize clubs are autonomous and will continue to do what fits their needs.We just ask that we all be champions of Rotary.The clarification of message and strong visual identity are inroads to helping us define, within our own parameters, what Rotary means to communities on a global scale. Thank you.
STRENGTHENING ROTARY | 3
STRENGTHENING ROTARY | 4
Not earning full credit for our
IT’S HARDER TO REACH
OUR FULL POTENTIAL
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Analyzed 20,162 surveys
and attended the
Obtained comprehensive feedback from
Rotarians & prospects in 167 countries
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• Capture our most relevant points of
• Ensure our actions support our words
• Reflect our distinct character
• Help people understand what we do and how
• Energize our look and feel while celebrating
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Why did you initially join Rotary?
RESEARCH: WHY WE JOIN, WHY WE STAY
Why do you stay with Rotary?
• Friendship & Fellowship
• To positively impact my community
• To positively impact my community
• Friendship & Fellowship
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• Responsible leaders
• Community impact on
a global scale
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STRATEGY: OUR CORE
What is Rotary?
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IMPLEMENTATION – NEXT STEPS
Inform Rotarians and staff why strengthening
Rotary is vital
Inspire Rotarians and staff to embrace and
live the essence, values and voice
Empower Rotarians and staff with tools
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IMPLEMENTATION – IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS
Aug 2013 • Distribute guidelines, key messages, FAQ’s, and PPT templates
• Distribute presentation (EN) for institutes
• Launch www.rotary.org in new voice and visual
Sep 2013 • Distribute language versions of institute presentation
Oct 2013 • Assess interim feedback from about institute messages
• Core rebranded templates prepared for distribution with online system
Jan 2014 • Phase 1 of online system in production for Rotarians
• Messaging / training at 2014 International Assembly
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THE END RESULTS—WHAT ARE WE ACHIEVING?
– Increased understanding of Rotary
– Increased membership
– Increased impact in communities
– Increased donor support
– Increased partnerships