Q+A about the Rotary brand strengthening
by Siegel Gale
Today, after two years of partnership with Siegel+Gale, Rotary announced the launch of its simplified brand strategy, refreshed visual identity and amplified digital experience.
We thought we’d take this opportunity to ask a few members of the Siegel+Gale team some questions about the extensive work that was done.
Rotary is a global organization with more than 1.2 million members. Why did it need to strengthen its brand?
Rotary is a global organization that includes Rotary, Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, and more than 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members worldwide. Despite the tremendous global impact Rotary has achieved over the past 100 years—including its decades-long charge to eradicate polio—much of the organization’s collective contributions were not being fully recognized by the greater world. Given the increased competition for share of heart, mind and funds, Rotary needed the tools and support to communicate its breadth and depth of impact in relevant terms. In 2011, Rotary approached us to help simplify and amplify its brand expression and experience for greater understanding, relevance and impact.
– David Srere, Co-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer
What were the most important learnings from the research findings, and how did they influence the new brand strategy?
Given the scale and complexity of Rotary, we used extensive global research to uncover universal themes and understand local nuances. With inputs representing audiences in 167 countries, we discovered that Rotary has all of the strengths necessary for greatness. It was just not effectively communicating its approach and impact in terms relevant to external audiences.
Based on this global research, three key insights emerged:
- Rotarians are responsible leaders—both socially and ethically
- Connecting has and always will be the driving force behind Rotary
- It’s not just about global impact—we create community impact on a global scale
These insights underpin the new brand strategy, bringing into focus who Rotary is (responsible leaders), its approach (connecting for the common good) and its impact (community impact, scaled globally).
– Rolf Wulfsberg, Global Director of Quantitative Research
How did you navigate the complexities of the organization to socialize and roll out the new brand strategy globally?
To move an organization with a longstanding heritage and more than a million members worldwide, we knew that the change would need to start from within. To ensure success, we collaborated closely with a global steering committee, the Board of Directors of Rotary International, the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation, as well a cross-functional core team of staff. Working together, we crystalized Rotary’s essence, amplified its voice, activated its values and refreshed its visual identity.
To successfully roll out Rotary’s strengthened brand, we developed an interactive training program, simple guidelines and a thoughtful plan to engage influencers at all levels of the organization. This wasn’t about enforcing rigid rules around how to communicate the brand. Instead, we designed tools to inform, empower and inspire members and staff to bring the brand to life across all points of interaction and, most importantly, make it their own.
– Emily Dimiero, Senior Strategist
Rotary has been around for over a century—since 1905. How did you approach the refresh of visual identity for such a venerable organization?
Rotary is a highly respected organization with an identity that’s recognized around the world. We didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel (logo). On the contrary, we wanted to celebrate the wheel’s heritage and build upon an identity that has unified and inspired Rotarians for over a century. Together, the new Rotary wordmark, refreshed color palette, bolder use of typography and re-inspired approach to using photography and information graphics enable the organization to move forward with a stronger, more consistent visual expression. While the design system better aligns Rotary communications, it also provides enough flexibility that each club can have its own creative voice within the framework.
– Justin Peters, Global Executive Creative Director
This was a very comprehensive project. How do the new brand strategy, visual identity and digital experience work together to create a cohesive, revitalized brand?
Working through the lens of simplicity, we were able to help Rotary communicate its global impact in a manner that is relevant and meaningful to its various audiences across all points of interaction. Rotary is an organization defined by greatness, and together all of the components of its new brand bring that greatness to the forefront for the world to see.
– David Srere, Co-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer
To learn about Rotary’s new digital experience, check back tomorrow for a blog post by Siegel+Gale’s Thomas Mueller, chief experience officer.