A Lifestyle called Lionsim
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
A critical issue that has been agitating the minds of our leadership across the globe has centered 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 in serving our communities. Primarily labeled as the largest service club organization with add on benefits of leadership development and global reach to be able to impact international understanding in a diverse world, we have tried and tested various strategies, sometimes even aimed at specific market segments like baby boomers. Yet, there are challenges to any strategy that we bring forth.
Any single approach may not have global appeal. Again, considering the way we have grown, we may be constrained to define our role in a particular direction only (although the world prefers to read focused bottom-lines). Our variety of service programs may be our strength but could also dilute the “piercing energy” of the association as resources are not concentrated towards just one or few defined goals. With the shifting trends of modern life and emerging seamless cyber communities where local issues alone are sometimes not the only concerns of the new generation global netizens, the problem gets even more magnified. The demographics of our membership further remind us that though we may need to be in sync with the young population preferences, we cannot really ignore the seniors as they constitute a large percentage of our members.
I had been thinking and almost breaking my head over these parameters, but only to be confronted with paradoxical answers that take care of only part of the multi-dimensional challenge. 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 life-style. The company promoted a signature brand that spelt class and positioned its patrons in a life-style bracket separated from the rest.
This was the answer, perhaps, that I had been waiting to discover. Lionism is just not about service, and neither is it about leadership development alone or for that matter about only promoting a common platform among people of the world. It is much more. It is a life-style.
And there is so much to choose from the life-style products that our association has to offer. Not only can a person prefer a particular product, he or she may 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 problems, but then at another moment he might like to explore what ordinary people could do to help in arresting global warming. 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. Which other association in the world can offer opportunities for each of these? Very proudly, Lions Clubs can, and do.
But, 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. We, as an association, offer menu options that make life itself 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 and the Golden Temple, between spending time with the local community of be a part of the cyber community to fight the down syndrome with friends from Kirghizstan and Cambodia; to celebrate the victory of the human race when Md Yunus declares that if we have the political will, we could erase poverty from the face of this planet; dance to the tune of the Beach boys or to the soothing oriental notes.
So, at last, I have my catch line: Lions clubs are about a life-style that makes life worth living. New member enrollment could center on marketing “A lifestyle called lionism”.
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