The importance of Public Image/Brand Identity is critical and often overlooked, especially in Rotary, but why? If you stop to think about the products that you use, why, or even how you first started to use the product, guaranteed branding was involved in the decision. When you walk into a store to find a product, and stare at a whole shelf of the same item, but made by different companies, which do you choose? Why?

One word, branding!

Household names have spent millions on clearly creating and defining their brand identity, so you subconsciously choose their product. Market statistics prove that decisions are made based on brand identity.

The Rotary International logo has evolved over the years to address different eras, which changed again in 2013. Unfortunately, the legacy Rotary Mark of Excellence still is being used.

In a recent letter to Rotary Marketplace Vendors, Tom Thorfinnson, Rotary International Chief Strategy Officer, wrote, “…As most of you are aware, Rotary International Board of Directors took a decision in 2019, setting forth that all Rotary groups must adopt RI’s brand standards over the course of the next few years. As part of that decision, all licensed entities must only provide brand-compliant products and services by June 2020…” he continued to state, “…but in order to continue your relationship with Rotary International, all templates must be on-brand by 31 October 2020…”

How does this affect clubs in District 5020? Mr. Thorfinnson made this statement, “…while we understand that choice is important to clubs, offering clubs the ability to upload any graphic, logo or photo and chose any background color easily leads to, and arguably encourages, off-brand websites. As a result, we want to discuss best ways to encourage clubs to only upload content that is compliant with RI’s Visual Identity Guidelines and stop clubs from uploading off-brand graphics, logos, and photos…”

Many feel that the solid colored logo is boring, so the legacy logo is used, but the new Rotary logo is a part of the brand. It represents every Rotary club, all taking action to make a lasting and positive change in the world. When people see our logos, they should immediately recognize them as Rotary International, and as a symbol of an organization that is taking action to make the world a better place. It is critical that all logos are visually consistent, keeping our visual message clear.

When the new solid color Rotary Logo is used, a commonly overlooked issue, the logo is altered. The Masterbrand Signature is to be kept clear of outlines, special effects, or other graphic elements. A few common mistakes, the Rotary Wheel, to name a few, can not be used to represent the sun, a bike wheel, a flower, the list is endless. The Rotary Wheel stands alone, unedited to increase the impact. Once it is modified, it dilutes the power of the Rotary message.

The writing is on the wall, and it is critical that we start to learn, understand, and deploy the tactics presented in Rotary International’s Visual Identity Guidelines.

Never forget, the visual message that is put forward should follow the MAKE-IT graphic rule.

  • (M)ake it simpler: We’re here for our communities, and we will do everything we can to keep interactions with us as effortless and straightforward as possible.
  • (A)lways deliver delight: We’ll bend over backward to make communities happy and try to surprise them with something truly awesome.
  • (K)eep it human: Tailor the experience to your communities individuals needs – injecting your personalities to make the content memorable and personal.
  • (E)very detail counts: Take care of the tiniest details to make sure that content is precisely what your community needs and when they want it.
  • (I)magine it better: Things don’t always go according to plan, but always remain calm and reassuring – move heaven and earth to put things right.
  • (T)ackle it together: Take great pride in your work, know that your club members support each other, push for the same goals, and have fun!

The Rotary Brand Center can help you create everything you need to update your Visual Identity.

Do you need help? The District Public Image team is here to help!

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