Resolve to protect the Rotary brand in the new year

Amanda Wendt

Amanda Wendt

By Amanda Wendt, vice chair of the RI Communications Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I recently saw a story on television about a West Papuan woman who received life-changing facial surgery to fix a a deformity which had caused her a lifetime of struggling to eat, drink and speak. Members of the Rotary Club of Liverpool West and Bendigo Strathdale flew the woman to Australia for the surgery. I was instinctively moved to share the story immediately with my network, congratulating the team involved and expressing how truly proud I was at that moment to be a Rotarian.

I’m sure many of my fellow Rotary members can relate to this feeling. We’ve all experienced pride when our Rotarian friends locally or abroad have helped change the world. But this instance made me realize that we have something else that communicates that sense of pride and it is valuable to preserve and promote.

Since Rotary’s inception 115 years ago, our Master Brand signature, the Rotary wheel, has generated an untold amount of goodwill from people who have seen it displayed in connection with Rotary projects that have brought clean drinking water to a village, prevented diseases, improved local economies, or otherwise changed communities for the better.

The wheel is the purest, simplest visual representation of all that we have achieved and all that we are yet to accomplish. The opportunity to represent my club and its efforts under the same icon is my way of honouring my fellow Rotarians for their amazing achievements.

How do we preserve and promote the Rotary wheel?

In today’s world, individuals are constantly bombarded by thousands of advertising messages. It’s vital that we have a consistent, high-quality visual representation of our brand to cut through all that noise.

As a Rotary club or district, when you apply our brand correctly and consistently across all channels you ensure:

  • your projects are recognised as Rotary at a glance
  • you are able to instantly tap into the hard-won goodwill and credibility of an international 115-year-old movement
  • you look professional and worthy of the time and resources of supporters

How can your club benefit from the Rotary brand?

We all have an important role to play in being custodians of the Rotary brand. The great news is it’s very easy to ensure your club or district is using the correct logo. Through the Rotary Brand Center you can create a free, professional and on-brand logo within minutes!

You can then update all of your existing collateral with your new logo. To assist you, here is a checklist of some of the places where you can resolve in the new year to place your new logo:

  • Online platforms such as websites and social media
  • Email signatures
  • Slideshow presentations
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • Advertising and editorial
  • Banners
  • Signs
  • Merchandise

Digital platforms are always a great place to start and if you need budget for new banners or merchandise, as an example, make a plan with your club’s leadership to assign budget for these items as soon as you practically can.

As diverse as we are, collectively, we are all connected. With all of us displaying the same wheel, we can ensure every Rotary project benefit from the achievements of every other. Rotarians not only serving the community but helping other Rotarians serve the community as well! By taking pride in the way we display our brand, we know there are other Rotarians taking pride in what we have delivered, as we look forward to our next 115 years of service.

19 thoughts on “Resolve to protect the Rotary brand in the new year

  1. The question: “Please tell me again why the powers-that.-be changed a tried and true logo?” – was never answered or at least I could not find the answer. I have looked and looked for a statement that answers the question Why?


  2. Pingback: You would never use this logo, so why do so many Rotarians continue to use this one? | Rotary International District 5370 News

  3. Dear Amanda, I am Chico Schlabitz, living in Brasilia, Brazil, the CPIR for the Region 28, and I have a blog used to promote Rotary and to power Rotary. It’s name is STRENGTHENING THE ROTARY.
    Usually, I have read Rotary Voices in English and in Portuguese and sometimes some articles are posted on both blog.
    As your post wasn´t translated into Portuguese, I have translated it and published on my blog.
    If there is any reason to remove it from STRENGTHENING THE ROTARY Blog, tell me please, and I will remove it immediately.


  4. Having read the comments above, I am eft with the distinct impression the Rotary, or the powers that be in Rotary are not listening to Rotarians saying lease keep the original Rotary Wheel in all its glory. We love it!

    Could our leaders please concentrate their minds and efforts on changing the organisation and the modus operandi of Rotary to better suit the requirements of modern day family life and the demands of the increasingly busy workplace,
    In essence, to find new ways to attract busy, community minded, men and women to meet together in fellowship and friendship and use their joint endeavours, talents and expertise to support those in need in our communities, both at home and abroad.


  5. I find the discussion of the Rotary “brand” to be disappointing. How was it ever determined that Rotary should be packaged and sold with a snazzy corporate logo, like any other product or service? That is so cynical – it makes me question the ultimate future of the organization. I have found Rotary’s so called masterbrand to be nothing more than another soulless, lifeless attempt at corporate imaging. Rotary needs to aspire to be more than a brand – which will create one.


  6. Initially, I did not like the new branding, but as I took on the PI lead for the District, the more I use it the better and cleaner, more modern it looks.
    As for ‘yellow’ tabards, change the colour of the tabard – try purple (for Polio) with reflective bands around them and the new brand in yellow; looks great.
    Let’s all crack on with the correct branding wherever we can; but officials please ensure all licensed suppliers of materials are also up to date!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am staggered as to the reasoning behind the idea & change to the Rorary Wheel, in that, RI took the blue out of the Rotary Wheel. It was an instantly recognised brand that I feel has lost of it’s impact, as it does not stand out, being all one gold colour! Bring back the “blue” in the very successful old Rotary Wheel.. I think anyway, along with numerous other Rotarians..


  8. One day over 25 years ago I was introduced to the importance of wearing “The Wheel” by Past Rotary International President Cliff Dochterman. As he explained it, “The Wheel” identifies us to our Rotary sisters and brothers—that wherever we go, we will always have a friend. Secondly, it gives us an opportunity to explain Rotary to people who do not know what “The Wheel” signifies. Since then, I have NEVER missed a day wearing “The Wheel.” Be it doing gardening, construction, on vacation, speaking before thousands of people, or meeting with presidents, prime ministers, and government leaders, I am never without my “Wheel.” I usually carry several extras in my pocket for when I meet a Rotarian who is not wearing “The Wheel.” I have come to realize that wearing the Rotary pin does not make one a Rotarian; however, not wearing one indicates the lack of pride of being a member of the number one service club in the world. I have been gifted “Wheels” over 75 years old and for me, when I line them up, their changes are obvious; however, no matter which one I wear, the meaning remains the same.


    • I would respectfully suggest Donald that the new branding is to make us recognisable to the rest of the world, not just to our Rotary brothers and sisters. Rotarians need to open their minds and instead of trying to resist change, embrace it as the route to modernisation and, my goodness, we need it.


  9. Excellent guide to help us . I hope I can add a small but not insignificant point. The Rotary brand helps Rotarians to serve our communities,but also attracts non-Rotarians to serve with us as well. Truly Rotary Connects the World through Service.


  10. Am so proud to be a Rotarian
    We connect the world through our selfless service. Great one Bendigo of rotary club liver pool. what can we say a big God bless you
    And we love you. Thank you


  11. For at least 25 years, the Rotary Wheel was blue and gold, highly recognizable around the world. Now it is black, and in my opinion, dull and uninspiring, as per the front covers of the December and January issues of the Rotarian . Yet on the back cover of the same issues, we see the highly visible gold wheel and blue lettering… Please tell me again why the powers-that.-be changed a tried and true logo?


  12. It is sad to hear how many Rotarians refuse to acknowledge the current Rotary International brand. The autonomy of club’s is both a help and a hindrance. Please recognise the tremendous work which went into developing a brand for today and the future which builds on and cements our worldwide reputation.


  13. I’m still doubtful. A goodly number of professional people I meet have never heard of Rotary at all, branding or no branding. The wheel, whatever colour it us, is unrecognised. Our yellow jackets are confused with local authority hi-vis. The best I’ve heard is “don’t you do good by having lunch?” The worst is being considered middle class minority. Those who do know us, know us already. Many do not understand the International nature of the organisation. All these matters need addressing.

    Liked by 1 person

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