A critical issue that has been engaging the minds of our leadership across the globe has centred on determining the appropriate strategy to market our association in the current scenario.
We have inherent strengths in the philosophy and credible results to demonstrate our contribution to serving our communities. Primarily labelled as the largest service club organization with add-on benefits of leadership development and global outreach to be able to impact international understanding in a diverse world, we have experimented with various strategies, sometimes even aimed at specific market segments like baby boomers. Yet, this is an ongoing issue as we must always continue to sustain the existing ones and develop new markets.
Any single approach may not have global appeal. Our variety of service programs may be our strength but generation Z intends to focus on making a global impact.
We need to create an environment that is acceptable with baby boomers or the generation preceding them, right up to the generation that is thoroughly immersed in the sea of connectivity.
For the first time, all nations are having young adults who have never lived without internet connectivity never used a rotary phone, never heard music on tape recorders or cassette players. Marketing to individuals with such diverse backgrounds is challenging and interesting.
I had been pondering over these parameters, but only to be confronted with paradoxical answers. Then I came across this interesting story:
A press reporter happened to question the CEO of Rolex about the status of the watch industry. He was taken aback when the CEO replied that he was really not aware as his company was not a part of that industry. Probing further, the reporter found that the CEO was convinced that Rolex products were not just watches (although they also showed time)- they were a lifestyle. The company promoted a signature brand that spelt class and positioned its patrons in a lifestyle bracket separated from the rest.
This was the answer, perhaps, that I had been waiting to discover. Lionism is a lifestyle.
There is so much to choose from the lifestyle offerings (products) of our association. Not only can a person prefer a particular product, but he or she may also prefer different products at the same time or may vary one’s choice over a span of time. Let me explain: at some point, an individual may be concerned about local community issues, but then at another moment he might like to explore what ordinary people could do to help in dealing with global challenges.
Starting from contributing to local causes, an individual may like to share in the agony of fellow humans thousands of miles away struck by natural disasters. Some may like volunteering in missions overseas and others may like teaching and working with children at risk in their own countries. Which other association in the world can offer opportunities for each of these? Very proudly, Lions Clubs can and does.
We may get different answers from a member or a club if we pose the same question to them: What is a Lions club? Or, why join a Lions club? All that I am suggesting is that we may or may not have a common answer to what we do and who we are. After all, each club is unique, and rightly so. We, as an association, offer menu options that make life more purposeful and fulfilling. Just as you choose between a T-shirt and a tuxedo, depending upon where you are and what you are doing, one may also choose between a cruise and a visit to the Vatican, between spending time with the local community or be a part of the cyber community to fight Down syndrome with friends from Kirghizstan and Cambodia. These are personal choices, and we could cater to all.
So here are my catch lines:
“Membership in a Lions Club is about healthy lifestyle”
“Membership in a Lions Club is like joining a mental and spiritual gym”