Why telling Rotary’s story is so important

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary's brand.

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary’s brand. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

More than a year ago, Rotary leaders launched the Strengthening Rotary initiative to enhance and simplify the organization’s story, visual identity, and digital experience. While Rotary’s recognition on the global scale is strong, our image can still use strengthening in local communities.

Speakers at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in San Diego, California, USA, this week challenged incoming district governors to champion Rotary’s brand in their districts and make sure that their clubs support the effort to tell Rotary’s story in a clear and compelling way. Here’s what a few incoming governors had to say about the initiative:

Rene Reynold Villanueva, Rotary Club of Belize (District 4250): “Rotary’s brand is about thousands of stories being told in one voice. This assembly is about giving us the gifts to do that. I will be listening to many stories when I visit my clubs. Our branding will give me the tools, so that when I conduct my district conference, I can be sure to tell these stories in a way that represents exactly what Rotary is about, no matter how many different ways I hear it.”

Rose A. Bowman, Rotary Club of Chehalis, Washington, USA (District 5020): “I don’t think my clubs know that telling our story in the right way increases our brand. I learned in Jennifer Jones’s speech about how important that is. I get a lot of questions about our new branding. I’m glad I’ll be able to answer some of those when I get back.”

David Maurice Stack, Rotary Club of Taree On Manning, New South Wales, Australia (District 9650): “Rotary is more than 100 years old. Many clubs are about that old. But there are new clubs popping up all the time. We need to be able to use the brand to communicate better, in a simplier way, so that no matter how old your club is, you will have the same identity as all the others.”

Ijeoma Pearl Okoro, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria (District 9140): “Our brand should stand out without a name. When you see our wheel stamped somewhere, you should know what we stand for. I come from Nigeria, where polio is still endemic. But we are close to eradicating it. It’s important our brand is strong when that happens. That will be my message to my clubs to excite them to use our new logo in everything they do.”

Margaret Taylor, Rotary Club of Skegness, England (District 1270): “Ours is a modern brand now. I think it’s the right approach. When the public starts to recognize it, I think it will have a great impact. But we certainly have to work to get it out there. The message [I’ve heard] this week will be my message to my clubs.”

Doug Cook, Rotary Club of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA (District 7430): “The first thing you notice about our new brand is that the imaging is really clear and clean. A lot of the colors are very thought out. . . . A lot of my clubs have used the new brand. My role will be to get the rest of them on board. Some of them may not have noticed our new brand, and some may be sitting back and wondering when is it going to change next. I will have to make sure they know this is the direction we’re headed.”

9 thoughts on “Why telling Rotary’s story is so important

  1. RI and Rotary clubs in more than 538 Districts of the world are ready materials for empirical stories other than folk stories of yonder.Ri s global fellowship in itself is an annual memorable story worth coveting or sharing beyond tha family….
    Gbemisoye Tijani
    RC oLUYOLE eSTATE cEDAR rESORTS gra Ibadan D9125

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  2. Folklores are so vitally effective for cultural communications as symbols of something new from the past…Again todays flux of news new something graphically teachable than verbosity

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  3. I agree, we must talk-up our “brand” (a word that is now being used in place of Rotary. Why can’t there be a clear and concise statement, like, We need to talk-up Rotary?

    DGE Ijeoma Pearl Okoro, gets it. The Wheel should be instantly recognizable. Our tired and true, clear as a bell, gold and blue wheel.

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  4. Rotary’s new brand is a welcome development. Our in-coming District Governor for RD9140 has emailed us to ensure that we use the new brand to project Rotary to our communities as we unleash our passion to light up rotary. It is an important way to tell Rotary’s story.

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  5. Rotarians have to realize that telling Rotary’s story is important so the the world will constantly see and hear who we are. Incidentally, the new logo is meant to be a clearer representation of Rotary and as such is for the general public, not Rotarians. Rotarians don’t need an update brand, but Rotary itself needed a fresh look to combat the negative perceptions that surveys revealed that the public has about Rotary. I would suggest that Rotarians ask people on the street who aren’t involved with Rotary “What is Rotary” I am certain that it will be an eye opener. Unless you come from a small town, it is shocking how a hundred year plus old organization is little known. “By the way, the wheel on the sign at the entrance to your town doesn’t say anything. If quickly becomes “invisible”.

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  6. Pingback: Why telling Rotary’s story is so important | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

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