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Strategic partnerships and rebranding

Strategic partnerships and rebranding

Re-branding can potentially be a difficult period for any organisation, with a real need to understand what the values and aims of the organisation are, what the purpose of the re-brand is, and how best to articulate this in a way that communicates those brand values to your target audience.

When the organisation you are talking about is member-based, rather than corporate-driven, these problems are multiplied many times over… The number of different opinions is often as many as the number of members, each feeling passionately about what each believes is ‘their’ organisation.

The recent re-branding of the BMC (the British Mountaineering Council) to Climb Britain is an example of this – a long established brand, name and organising body for the climbing community, which decided to re-brand for the 21st century.

Climb Britain logo before BEFORE
Climb Britain logo after AFTER

The reaction amongst many members has been lukewarm at best, and downright vitriolic at worst, prompting calls for action such as changes of leadership, convening an Emergency General Meeting and withdrawal of subscriptions from current members. The reasons for this apparent fall-out are varied and complex, from the (dis)approval of the final design of the logo and name to the process by which the re-branding had been presented to the membership.

"Hmmm not particularly impressed. What was wrong with BMC in the first place and why do all the members only hear about it after it's been re-branded?"
"Big applause to @Team_BMC for the 21st century rebrand #ClimbBritain it’s the future!"

Clearly, such significant changes to organisations provoke passion and interest amongst its membership. Any strategic marketing partnership needs to ensure that the implementation of such changes is handled delicately – combining a market led, commercial view with appreciation of the historical value and sensitivities of those already closely aligned to the brand.

"The brand would be fine for a new-startup operator of climbing activities or artificial climbing walls. Not for a historic and respected organisation like the BMC."
"As I said, it's not just a name change, it's the reasoning behind the change and the refocusing to things that mean very little to a great majority of their membership."

In this type of situation, careful market research is needed to get underneath both the wider market that an organisation might be appealing to and its core membership, such that when a final brand image is decided upon it is widely accepted and understood among both.

We have the experience and know-how to take you through the necessary steps on this delicate journey so you can be confident that your brand and your members are aligned as you express yourselves to your wider market.