Public Image Webinar: On branding, social media, and telling the Rotary story

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SDG MC Casio

In her article entitled “Why you should care about Rotary branding”, Rotary Brand Specialist, Liz Thiam, emphasized the significance of branding and why it is important to be careful and consistent when using the Rotary brand. 

She mentioned that when a club logo isn’t used properly, it can create confusion and mistrust. It can make the public frustrated and may affect the organization’s ability to attract new members, earn the trust of donors, and encourage volunteers. She highlights that when a club alters the Rotary logo, it weakens the global brand because inconsistent branding sends mixed messages of who Rotary is. 

As part of the District’s efforts to instill understanding and proper use of Rotary’s branding, the Public Relations Team for Rotary Year 2021-2022 organized and launched its first ever webinar on Public Image and Rotary branding last August 7 via Zoom. 

The webinar was divided into four sessions surrounding branding: 

The first session was entitled, The Four-Way Test: The Ingredient for an Awesome Rotary Brand Ambassador by Rotary Public Image Coordinator (Zones 10B and 10C) and Past District Governor Andre Suharto wherein he discussed the qualities of an effective brand ambassador.

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A new topic on Rotary Public Image where the 4-Way Test was related to becoming an awesome Rotary Brand Ambassador. With Rotary’s guiding principles, “Is it the Truth – What we say & do must convey the correct & consistent message about who we are”; Is it Fair to all concerned? – Conveying accurate brand messaging will help elevate the image of Rotary and the 35,000 clubs where 1.2Million Rotarians are members of; “Will it Build Goodwill and better friendships? – Being Rotary Brand Compliant will help us to be good Rotary Brand Ambassador who can help build and nurture goodwill & Friendships with people that we unite”; “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” – Being a good Rotary Brand Ambassador will help to promote Rotary with consistent messaging that will bring benefits to our audiences in knowing how we do good in the world”. 

As the webinar tagline goes “Branding is more than just visuals. Branding is you.” The session focused on Brand Fidelity: #TellingYourStory by Senior Deputy Governor for Public Relations Michelle “MC” Casio. Here she highlighted the importance of messaging in communicating service projects.

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How do you want people to feel when watching your video? Branding was emphasized relating to big brand unified branding architecture example. How branding can be confusing when not communicated properly. She ended with references of where the district can go for help – from website to a Public Image Facebook Page. The team also aligned with the district operations by putting up Viber groups for the PR leads/chairs of the clubs from Manila, Pasay, Cavite & Mindoro.

The next session, District Public Relations Chair Immediate Past President Larry Collin talked about Brand Unity where he discussed actual examples from the district, emphasizing the importance of unified communication. Various examples were illustrated to show how confusing it can be when clubs use different logos. 

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To summarize the seminar, the last session was about People of Action by Assistant Public Image Coordinator Past President Ramon Dacayo. “Sharing your passion to your community, effectively” is the main message which wrapped up the days event perfectly. He discussed the essence of Rotarys Public Image, People of Action Campaign examples, and examples of how to develop your club story ending with powerful people of Action images. In closing, he ended with “It isn’t’ what we think or say that defines us, but what we do”. 

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The webinar ended strong with an announcement for a PR Campaign for Best Video & Photo categories for the district. The campaign is open to all Rotary Clubs of D3810 that can showcase their service projects in both video and photo around the Areas of Focus preferably their flagship projects. The competition duration is open from August 8 to December 2021 and winners will be announced during the Midyear Review. Cash Prizes await the winners. A Best Video campaign category was also extended to the Rotaract Clubs of the district. 

More than 370 Rotarians and Rotaractors registered and almost 300 partook in the webinar, with some of the guests being friends from neighboring districts and international Rotary Clubs, members of the Council of Governors; Life-Changing District Governor Robert Koa who gave his message of support; members of the Executive Committee headed by District Secretary Edwin Seymour Chiu; Life-Changing Presidents; and club directors for Public Relations and Public Image. 

With everything almost virtual these days, Rotary has learned to adapt and keep up with the changes of the modern world, more importantly to technological and digital ones. Adjusting to these changes can be challenging especially that most Rotarians are not well-versed with technology, but as they say, everything can be learned. With teamwork and strong organizational support, not only can we teach each other our way through the internet and the digital world, but also build an agile and adaptive organization. 

With regards to branding, learning about the how’s of public image is an effective way to build a strong Rotary. When we build a strong brand — one that can be recognized, trusted, and united — we open a greater chance of attracting members, volunteers, and partners. By doing so, we establish credibility which eventually translates to inspiration and encouragement for more people to join our cause of changing lives and making the world a better place. 

So the next time you see and use the Rotary brand, keep in mind that it is not just something we put on our posters and shirts, rather it is our message. It is our story.