Thank you for inviting me to share a brief look at the initiative that Rotary has undertaken…an initiative that Rotary’s Board of Directors, our Foundation Trustees and our General Secretary all believe will… STRENGTHEN ROTARY’S BRAND…and increase Rotary’s impact locally and globally. Before I get into the program itself I’d like to confirm something important…something everyone in this room already knows about Rotary…
That’s right…Rotarians are awesome already. Your passion for Rotary…and for the amazing good works you do in your local communities provides a model for the world. When a Rotarian extends a hand…more than a million of you are well within reach. You are innovators and problem solvers…entrepreneurs and leaders. And you are united by a shared sense of responsibility to improve the communities in which you live. So the aim of our work to Strengthen Rotary’s Brand is not to reinvent Rotary. The aim is to get back to Rotary’s roots…to what makes Rotary great…to clarify and focus our messages. And to inspire you…your club…and our entire organization. We do this through a very powerful idea…the idea of brand.
WHAT is a brand? Brand is an enduring concept that answers the most fundamental questions at the heart of an organization: Who are we? What do we do? And why should anyone care? It provides a discipline for how an organization THINKS, ACTS and COMMUNICATES. There is a powerful emotional component to it as well. Our brand work centers on aligning the EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE of Rotary…what you see in this heartwarming image…and the PROMISE we deliver…everywhere a person comes into contact with us, our people, and the good works Rotarians do.
Great as Rotary is, we face a challenge. More than a year ago our Directors and Trustees recognized that Rotary is NOT EARNING FULL CREDIT for who we are and for the good works Rotarians are doing. This is important…not because we want credit. In fact, it’s not about the credit at all. It’s important because it makes it harder for us as an organization…and harder for our clubs…to attract volunteers, acquire new members and strengthen our impact. Overall, this makes it harder for us to reach our full potential. Our combined boards saw that we need to ASSOCIATE our STRENGTHS and the good works you do WITH ROTARY. And they launched an initiative to Strengthen the Rotary Brand.
Last September, after a rigorous months-long evaluation process, our Boards hired a global strategic brand consultancy to help us. Siegel+Gale has extensive experience and a strong track-record of success with global nonprofits. Some clients include: Pfizer Hewlett Packard Kaust University in Saudi Arabia Project Hope in China And The YMCA in the U.S.
The process we’ve undertaken with Siegel+Gale is thorough. It will take us two years and more from start to the time when we can begin to fully implement. Since September we’ve made good progress. Phase 1: Research is complete. Findings were presented during a joint meeting of the Rotary International Board of Directors and the Foundation Trustees at the International Assembly in San Diego last January. Today, the initiative is in Phase 2 where we are developing a clear brand strategy and laying out the plan that will refresh our messaging. In phases 3 through 6 we’ll create tools and support to bring this strategy to life. How do we know this works? Because Siegel+Gale has used this approach with hundreds of multi-nationals and nonprofit clients…and their results speak volumes.
BRAND DRIVES MEMBERSHIP. AARP strengthened their brand in 2007 and added a million new members…their biggest growth ever.
BRAND DRIVES INTERNATIONAL GIVING. Unicef went through the process and gained a 28% increase in online donations.
BRAND ATTRACTS STRATEGIC PARTNERS. King Abdulla University in Saudi Arabia launched their brand in 2008 and added six corporate partners and over 40 university affiliations.
Strengthening our brand will create a cycle where success builds on success. By STRENGTHENING the Rotary brand we drive MEMBERSHIP which will increase CONTRIBUTIONS and lead to more and bigger PROJECTS that will strengthen our public image and understanding and heighten our IMPACT which will add additional STRENGTH to the Rotary brand and so on…
Earlier I mentioned that Siegel+Gale completed their research. This Research was unprecedented, gaining responses from… 10,000 Rotarians, 700+ Rotaractors, 400 Staff, 167 countries on 6 continents Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, No. & So. America It included a review of macro trends in social and business sectors And our first-ever research to explore underlying motivators of giving time and/money— globally Conducted 150+ interviews, club visits and visits to Zone Institutes Siegel+Gale’s research report is over 200 pages… In fact we are working on a detailed—but shorter!—version that we will share with you in the next several weeks. Today I’d like to share the three most important findings…
Rotary has the strengths necessary for greatness…and those strengths help set Rotary apart from any who would be our competition.
Our multidisciplinary perspective, ability to apply best-in-class thinking to social issues…our passion and perseverance…and the collective impact of our global community allow us to: See differently… Think differently… Act tenaciously… and Impact globally .
Audiences want what we offer, but they’re not associating us with our strengths.
For donors, it’s not about the assets we have…b ut how we make our key audiences understand…feel and believe. Our research found 19 shared global motivators in three categories… Approach: Things like transparency, attracting people of the highest ethical standards, and uniting different skills and perspectives to solve issues Personal connection/participation: Things like feeling part of something meaningful, setting a positive example, and an organization with which you can be proud to be associated. Measurable impact: Things like having a long track record of success, producing measurable results, and having global reach and impact
This is the size of the typical perceptual gap between what an internal audience knows about an organization and what an external audience knows…and there is always a gap. The perceptual gap between when Rotarians know and what the general public knows is TWO…and…THREE times larger. This is not a good position. We’ ve been talking to ourselves for too long. Our messages have not been consistent. By the way, do you know the number one response from Rotarians…including some of our senior leaders…when asked during the research, “What is Rotary?” Ummm? There ’s a pause…a hesitancy…and that just shouldn't be…not for an organization as powerful as Rotary. This underscores the importance of clarity and focus as critical components of Rotary’s future success.
Siegel+Gale’s review of the macro trends among nonprofits shows that the world is moving in our favor. What do I mean by that? On the one end you have traditional nonprofits like Unicef, Red Cross|Red Crescent and Lions Clubs. On the other end you have FOR-profit corporations who have found that philanthropy is good for their bottom line…companies as diverse as Starbucks and Pepsi and IBM. What truly makes Rotary special is something that we have ALWAYS been. Rotary is a combination of business, professional and community leaders…coupled with the ideal of service. These two components differentiate us from others in the nonprofit world and make us strong. Try to peal either of these apart and what you have left is not as strong. And it’s not Rotary. Siegel+Gale’s research shows Rotary is well positioned to succeed because of what Rotary has always been…this powerful combination.
Stand-out nonprofits are now also blending SOCIAL MISSION with BUSINESS PRACTICE. Pioneering FOR-PROFIT corporations are also taking on causes that can drive brand engagement—and profits. According to Starbucks… “While our business contributes to the communities we serve, we recognize that in this time of crisis, we can and must do more—especially when the small business community, where Starbucks has its roots , is so challenged. That ’s why Starbucks has teamed up with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to create and sustain jobs . We… will provide financing to underserved community businesses which include small business loans, community center financing, housing project financing and microfinance.” Rotary’s Boards will determine your exact position on this chart. From Siegel+Gale’s experience you are well positioned to succeed because of what Rotary has always been: a powerful combination of 1) Business, professional and community leaders who are 2) dedicated to the ideal of service. Try to peal either of these apart and what you have left is not as strong. And it’s not Rotary.
Siegel+Gale’s research—and the responses from 10,000 Rotarians across 167 countries tells us that there is a desire for change. In fact 38 percent...4 in 10!...Rotarians say the pace of change in our organization is too slow. Only 3.4 percent say it’s too fast. We have a window of opportunity to strengthen our brand…and earn more credit for the good work Rotarians are doing in their local communities and all around the world.
At the International Convention in Bangkok Siegel+Gale presented the building blocks of brand strategy to a joint session of our Boards. While I can’t reveal all the detail. I can take you behind the scenes to share what those building blocks are.
In the strategy phase we’re really building a language…the way we’ll speak with the world at large…how we’ll communicate. And there are three main building blocks… Our voice: What we say. How we say it. How we look. Our values: Our beliefs. What we do. How we act. …actually, our values will not change. They’re deeply embedded in Rotary. But we’ll put those values into our new voice and bring them to life. Our essence: Our reason for being. What we stand for. How we’re different. Why it matters. In July and August we’ll take these building blocks into research and validate it…to see what resonates best among Rotarians…and the general public…people who may be prospects for membership. Following the validation research Siegel+Gale will report back to our Boards for approval in October/November. Early next year we’ll be sharing more with you.
Often, when I give this presentation I am asked, “What can I do to help starting today?” We know that one Rotarian can change a community. Connect more than a million, and we can change the world. So when you get back home…get out there and share your passion for Rotary. You probably know someone who would be a great addition to your team on your service project…or someone who has the qualities that would make them a great new Rotarian. Tap them on the shoulder and tell them the feeling you get from your Rotary work. About how you and your fellow Rotarians are changing the world. Be a Rotary champion. Thank you.
FINDING 1 We have the strengths necessary for greatness12
Core strengths afford us unique ability1. Multidisciplinary perspective allows us to see challenges in See differently ways others can’t2. Ability to apply best-in- business thinking to social Think differently issues3. Passion and perseverance necessary for lasting change Act tenaciously4. Collective impact of our Impact globally global community13
FINDING 2 Audiences want what we offer— we just need to help them understand14
It’s not about assets we have…but how we make people understand, feel and believe Shared global motivators Approach Personal connection/ participation Measurable impact15
Rotary excels in many of these areas, yet we’re not getting credit we deserve Typical gap EXTERNALINTERNAL Rotary’s gap (globally) 16