In this Rotatorial, Rotary means Rotary International (R.I.) and The Rotary Foundation (TRF).
Please refer to the Interconnecting Relationship graphic. A larger version is available at this link.
Marketing is not advertising for members or bragging about what Rotary has done. Simply put, Marketing Multiplies Membership by communicating and delivering an organization's differentiating value (its brand promise) to external and internal audiences. But which target audience takes priority?
In the Siegel+Gale research, a Rotary Leadership source said, quote, "Rotarians don't understand who or what we are. We have to educate ourselves and our members first, before we can successfully do so with the general public." (Page 29 of this linked document.)
Internal Marketing (IM) should take priority because its major asset is that it preserves and helps evolve an organization's brand and culture, particularly in cases like Rotary where leadership frequently changes and culture is a source of differentiation. Effective IM encourages transparency about the challenges organizations face and their strategic direction. Perhaps the Gates Foundation would not be recognized for eradicating polio and Rotary would not be in the membership position it is today if, fifteen or twenty years ago, IM had been communicating Rotary's Why Factor (brand) as countries eliminated the disease and how many of Rotary's customers were actually walking out (transparency.)
Changes needed to put Rotary on course for steady customer (member and donor) growth must come through Rotary's senior leaders, not by dictate or Top Down Attitudes but through transformational leadership and actions that communicate priority, consistency, support, understanding, confidence, and trust. Only then will associates believe that a permanent change is taking place and enthusiastically support it. IM must be an on-going process whereby all interconnections consistently align, motivate, support, exemplify, and deliver Rotary's differentiating brand promise for the purpose of attaining Rotary's desired result. Otherwise, associates will be lackadaisical while waiting until next year when new leaders with different emphases take office.
If Rotary is really interested in helping its member clubs develop membership, IM must take priority and be aggressively implemented. Rotary leaders must be able to communicate what Rotary is without hesitating, agree on what business Rotary is in, who its customers are, what its customers value; and what result Rotary would like to achieve. Otherwise it will be impossible to define and consistently deliver brand promises to customers or help Rotary achieve its desired result - sustain steady member and donor growth.
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