Matthew Taylor has a post up discussing an update on the internal conversations at the RSA around the organization’s branding.
According to the RSA website:
For over 250 years the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action.
And, as he explains,
Back to the RSA. Yesterday, we had an all staff session on branding. Over the last year we have been trying increasingly to align the RSA’s activities around a core mission. We have not yet found the pithiest way to express this mission but in essence it is ‘developing citizens for tomorrow’, in other words the RSA is about understanding and advancing human capability so that people can thrive in the future.
Matthew then shares additional branding ideas and opens the floor for discussion. Quite a few comments concentrate on the process of creating the new branding, stressing the involvement of the RSA Fellows.
I am not a member of the RSA. I tried to add to the conversation on Matthew’s blog but the post never appeared, whether it didn’t get through the submission queue or moderation or what have you. So, I’m writing this post instead!
I was invited to become an RSA Fellow and was very honored at the invitation, especially after such a short time here and hopefully only the very start of the impact I’d like to make and change I’d like to support. I have also been incredibly pleased and honored at the invitation and subsequent participation at a few RSA events. I am not, however, at least for the time being, planning to accept the RSA Fellowship invitation, and this is why:
The RSA, like many other organizations, suffers because of a lack of the most powerful aspect of its branding. I do not plan to accept the Fellowship invitation because I have not, whether online or in person, from the invtation materials or conversations I’ve had with others, gained a clear understanding of what being a Fellow even means. Furthermore, and most importantly to me, I have not been shown how a Fellowship will help me in my work at changing my community and the world.
Yes, slogans and colors, font and everything else are all important parts of the branding. It’s true. But the RSA is missing the most important part, at least in bringing me on board: proving to me that being a Fellow will help ME and not just that my membership will help THEM.
As folks mention in the comments on Matthew’s piece, I don’t need to build my resume (for better or worse, I’m fine with it as it is). But I am completely open to any and all, whether organization or individual, ready to help me make our local communities and the global community as great as possible.
So, RSA, “do you get it?”
(Just for clarification, I am hoping to get those answers and hoping the branding advances to answer them not just to me but to everyone, so that we can all start really collaborating for change! I mean it, RSA, I’m with you when you’re ready.)