Business Dictionary - Perception: The process by which people translate sensory impressions into a coherent and unified view of the world around them. Though necessarily based on incomplete and unverified (or unreliable) information, perception is equated with reality for most practical purposes and guides human behavior in general.
Peter Drucker, in his book Managing in a Time of Great Change, said, "Today's perceptiveness is more important than analysis. Organizations must be able to recognize patterns to see what is actually there rather that what they would rather see." Rotary's brand perception is not owned by Rotary International (RI), The Rotary Foundation, the Polio Eradication initiative, or the general public. It is owned by those who give RI revenue to operate - dues-paying Rotarians. Rotary's brand is what local Rotarians throughout the world perceive it to be day in and day out. In our information society, it is even more critical that RI senior and staff leaders understand why Rotarians are willing to pay the dues that enable the association to flourish.
Rotarians are normally people of action even before they join a club. To help make their community better, they usually influence local conditions, practice sound leadership strategies, and/or write checks to support various initiatives. RI's People of Action campaign signals that it realizes that the more Rotarians clubs develop, the better communities and the world will be. This is a positive, monumental change in philosophy and direction. By far, its biggest challenge will be to overcome what is commonly called corporate ego; an ego that has been nurtured and passed down, particularly in legacy markets, for nearly three decades. This will be a long process filled with obstacles. RI and its administrative zones and districts, through their deeds, must demonstrate that attracting, developing, and supporting People of Action is its priority. If such deeds do not happen, RI's long-term investment in People of Action videos, print advertisements, online and social media ads, radio and outdoor advertising will be wasted.
RI's zone and district leaders, through their newsletters, assemblies, awards, conferences, seminars, speeches, and other actions, are the prime influencers on the impressions clubs and Rotarians have of RI. The words and deeds of these influencers must deliver the perception that they, too, are People of Action that ". . . exist solely to help clubs advance the Object of Rotary" (RI Code of Policies 17.010). Their deeds will be more influential and lasting than thousands of words. That is why RI must follow through with quality, professional education and support for staff, directors, coordinators, district governors, and clubs on how to manage and deliver the brand perception that Rotary International is THE Association Organized by and for People of Action.