In a recent letter addressed to every club president about creating a uniform brand for our organization, Toastmasters International President Lark Doley asks that we “Wow [our] current and prospective members with the best club experience possible.” She then explains that, “The goal of [The Wow! Factor Project] is to increase the quality and performance of each club around the world." She goes on to write, “When you visit a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, do you expect a consistent experience? Toastmasters members and guests have a right to expect a consistent, quality club experience anywhere around the world, too.”
To this challenge, I say, “Yes! We do owe it to each and every member — current and prospective — that they have a rock-solid educational and welcoming experience. Then I ask, why should we focus exclusively on the club experience? Shouldn’t we represent a consistent, quality brand as Toastmasters everywhere we go, everywhere we speak? We represent the Toastmasters brand, after all, between our gatherings and not just at club meetings and district conferences.
Let me explain. Let’s say you're speaking to a friend, colleague, or stranger while waiting for the elevator or while standing at a bus stop or while visiting your local McDonald's. Somehow you mention that, later today, you’re attending a Toastmasters meeting. They ask, "What's Toastmasters?" How do you answer this uninformed individual? Are you ready with your 15-to-30 second elevator speech or member recruitment pitch? Are you ready to tell this individual your story about how Toastmasters has helped you in your life?
Brand management is critically important. How do you represent our brand? When someone sees or hears you, do they immediately think, "There goes a Toastmaster"?
What might you do today to enhance our brand? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.