Rebranding consultation: update and decision

Posted by Tony Ryan on 23/09/2016

Following a strong reaction to our rebranding announcement in July, and after a period of consultation with members, the BMC has now made the decision not to rebrand as Climb Britain.

During the first three weeks of September the BMC held twelve consultation meetings across England and Wales to explain the thinking behind Climb Britain and listen to members’ views and concerns. Each meeting was attended by at least one senior BMC official or staff member (president, director, CEO or Deputy CEO), and our National Council met on 17 September to review the feedback; written comments from individuals and clubs were also taken into account in this process.

A strong consensus emerged in the meetings and as a result we can now confirm that National Council has formally decided that the BMC will not be rebranding as Climb Britain. During the consultation process there was also general support for the idea of Climb Britain being put to some other use within the BMC, e.g. as a promotional campaign or marketing initiative; over the next two months we will be assessing the options before reporting back to National Council in December. 

We have learnt some very important lessons from this experience – not least that members feel a strong sense of ownership in the BMC and want to be actively involved with major organisational decisions. The BMC is an unusually diverse organisation with a rich heritage and a dedicated workforce of staff and volunteers. We remain strong and healthy and will continue to do our utmost to represent the wide range of activities within our overall ‘mountaineering’ remit – be it hill walking, bouldering, competition climbing, ski mountaineering, indoor climbing, traditional or sport climbing and all aspects of winter mountaineering and ice climbing.

With special thanks to all those who have contributed their thoughts and opinions over the past two months.

Best regards

Rehan Siddiqui
President

 

Dave Turnbull
CEO


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54
23/09/2016
While I was unable to attend my local BMC meeting (caring for ill grandparents) I'm really pleased to hear this (in my view correct) decision has been reached and the views of the members heard. Well done BMC. I really hope this can actually increase our effectiveness together and makes me proud to be part of the BMC. Thanks for listening.
2) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
I quite liked Climb Britain - aint much real mountaineering in Britain anyhow
3) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
That's a real shame. I work with young people in climbing and none of them know, care or relate to what British Mountainneering Council means. I'm sure all the over 30's with hexes and red socks bumbling around on Severes love the name BMC. But, sorry guys, there are more and more young people coming into climbing every day. They will take over....and they'll probably change the name when they can too.
4) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
I work as a marketing and communications officer and I love the potential of Climb Britain. Creatively it opens so many doors and has the potential to engage a huge disaffected audience. I hope to see this evolve in the future.
5) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
It's very sad that the 3rd post should be so ageist in 2016 and totally miss the point.
IT'S NOT ABOUT AGE!
At 70 I'm still leading HVS , many more of a similar age do so above that grade.

Basically, the membership should have been consulted first. A 'Climb Britain' satellite may work
for those interested in competitions. I agree with the 4th post.
6) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
a sound mountaineering decision, know when to turn back!
23/09/2016
Victory for common sense.
Thanks to all who took up the challenge.
Maybe Climb Britain could be used for the Olympic Team
23/09/2016
Victory for common sense.
Thanks to all who took up the challenge.
Maybe Climb Britain could be used for the Olympic Team
9) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Best news of the day - keep the heritage of the British mountaineering council as the name.

And "Mountaineering" as a name covers walking, climbing, skiing, bouldering etc, while "climbing" only really covers climbing and bouldering.
10) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
I saw Climb Britain as a really positive development and think it a great shame that this now won't be happening.

To connect with new walkers and climbers in the future then I don't think a three letter acronym is gonna work long term.

Fine if you're a global brand like the BBC, but not for a small representative body.
11) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Great news! I'm 23 and much prefer the name BMC, as did many of my friends around the same age. Keeping the BMC isn't backwards looking or caving in to older members, young people appreciate heritage a lot too!
12) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
I was unable to attend a meeting as I was away in Greenland climbing. I was dismayed when I accessed social media in Reykjavik, during our sail home, and heard the dreadful proposal but now I am delighted and amazed. Thank you for taking the trouble to consult and acting on the heartfelt responses that everyone else conveyed.
13) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
A fantastic decision! Proud to be a member and membership will be renewed!
14) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Delighted to see that the BMC identity is being retained!! Absolutely the right decision. Why change a winning formula!
15) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
I would like to congratulate the executive in their sensible response to the memberships concern. It takes courage and a public spirited attitude to put things right with all the implied acceptance of errors made. Well done. It makes me feel proud to be a member.
16) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Great News...BMC could have saved a lot of BMC money if they had actually asked their BMC members before the 12 consultations...
17) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Good U turn, or should I say horseshoe!, from an old skooler.

Lessons learnt hopefully, engage members opinion before consultants.

However I do agree with other comments ' Climb Britain' would be a good campaign for 2020.

No better shop window for inspiring new comers., especially with the current crop of British Climbing Talent and medal contenders.
18) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Good move, guys. I work in branding / advertising / comms, and it felt like a car crash when the original announcement came out. Well done for listening.
23/09/2016
Thank you for listening to the views of your membership, faith is restored.
20) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Very relieved!
I'm really proud of the name BMC.
Climb Britain just doesn't have the same kudos.
The word Mountaineering has to be in the title (although the 'C' could go).
21) Anonymous User
23/09/2016
Does this mean I can renew my membership now ?
Just in time for the Bernina trip.
23/09/2016
I'm glad that common sense prevailed, and that a name (BMC) inclusive of all aspects of mountaineering was retained.
23/09/2016
Many thanks to Rehan and to Dave for their message above. It was really useful to be able to attend the area meeting to hear more about the rationale for the change and the views of other members. Whilst by no means unanimous, the meeting I attended was strongly in favour of ‘no change’. Personally, I’m very glad the decision has been made to retain the BMC name. This said, there is clear potential for the use of Climb Britain as a campaign title or some sort of sub-brand. Like poster no. 5, I’m also saddened at the comments made by poster no. 3. It’s the way of the world that the young will take over (although, funnily enough, by the time they do they seem no longer to be quite so young…) and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they do so with respect, both for the organisation and for other members. My hope is that the BMC will come out of this whole affair stronger.
24) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Thanks for listening and knowing when to turn back. Sorry it's been so traumatic!
25) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
The BMC has had a bit of an epic tho.' thankfully a tragedy has been averted.
26) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
As the New "BMC" represents all of the UK for many issues including competition climbing, why were none of the meetings in Scotland, or MS members asked to make representations?
27) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Good decision guys!

Compare and contrast with the venerable Cycle Touring Club (CTC), who recently rebranded as Cycling UK and looks in danger of losing any kind of distinctive presence.
28) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Thats great news we love BMC
29) Eddie
24/09/2016
Should have been Climb Britannia, perhaps with sponsorship from the Foreign Office.
24/09/2016
Well done. The right decision. Keeps a brand with stature and distinctiveness. Climb Britain sounded tacky, promotional and generic, and excluded non-climbers.
31) Ava
24/09/2016
One salutary lesson in the power of consultation over consultancy, consulting with those affected rather than presumed experts. Not that expert consultants don't know what they're talking about but they can have rather limited perspectives, however broad they might see them to be.
24/09/2016
I quite liked Climb Britain, maybe for a single format TV show.
A new vehicle for Mel & Sue & maybe now Mary Berry too ?
33) Joe
24/09/2016
A great shot in the arm for area meetings. Could hardly have done better had it been designed that way.
If a name doesn't seem a little strange when first encountered where's the mystique ?

34) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Well done BMC Top Brass, right decision. You deserve respect for reversing the rebrand and respecting members wishes.
35) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
MCoS's genuflection to democratic process saved them this indignity in Scotland, as it could have in England too had they been a little more canny.
36) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Climb Britain may not have worked for the BMC, like Canoe & Cycle haven't quite made it for the BCU & CTC but it's been OK for Camp America. Still going strong after 30+ years.
https://www.campamerica.co.uk
37) Anonymous User
24/09/2016
Thank gawd for that. I've seen this insidious rebranding through what are now Surfing GB and most recently, the Grand National Archery Society who are now Archery GB, which has led to an over concentration on competition and in particular identifying potentials for the UK team. It has also resulted in hideous corpoate branded 'uniforms' in whatever tacky modern style is seen as catchy.

The BMC has long stood as an umbrella for clubs an individuals who often do things their own way. Although you can see fashion conscious climbers, you can still see those who wear what works for them, not some godawful red, white and blue swoopy logo'd kit.

The other thing that has happened, particularly at the GNAS, where it has to be said, old boys and rules have always played a part is that it seems to be so much more important to them now.

I am truly heartened by a strong enough reaction to result in this terrible idea being abandoned, it has been abandoned hasn't it, not hidden away to be snuck in when no ones looking. There do seem to be more official on the payroll post rebrand, although I stand to be correctyed there.

Archery GB was sold on providing more Sport for England money being tied to the rebranding, it wasn't worth it as a lot goes to specialist coaching. Some goes to getting new blood into archery but that's not really an issue for climbing and, tbh, a lot of the newer ones have a very different attitude to the 'sport'.

Well done climbers, give yourself a pat on the back and long live this bastion for the individual who just likes to get out on rock. Competitions are ok if you're into that but they're not representative and really aren't that important.

Nick
38) Anonymous
24/09/2016
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
39) Anonymous User
25/09/2016
Good news on the drop of the rebranding. I welcome an even wider remit including mountain biking etc. Those of us that love the mountains get out on them in many ways.
40) Anonymous User
25/09/2016
Rebranding stopped. A good and sensible decision
41) Anonymous User
25/09/2016
I am not a BMC member but I have read the BMC news for some years.

The proposal to rebrand struck me as pointless and unnecessary so the decision to scrap the idea is commendable
js access officer Ramblers Devon
42) Anonymous User
25/09/2016
Great Decision! Pleased to hear that you have reconsidered changing the organisation's name.
26/09/2016
The BMC executive reacted quickly to adverse reaction to the announced 'Climb Britain' re-branding in July. It can't have been easy going to a series of vocal and largely negative area meetings, so thank you to Dave Turnbull and others who made the effort to go out and meet with the members and listen to our views. Maybe 'Climb Britain' could be put to some use, perhaps as the name of the Olympic Team in 2020, but it is not really very important. The sports team is a very tiny part of the wider British mountain activities scene with its climbing, bouldering, walking, scrambling, running and other activities. Some positive things have come out of this process: we have affirmed that the members really care about their representative body, and think it matters. BMC is a perfectly usable acronym. Does anyone really have a problem with ASDA, M&S, B&Q, DHL, TNT and so on? These are very successful organisations and no-one really cares or is interested in what the letters stand for. Another positive thing is that the BMC exective should consult with the members before making major organisational decisions in future, and should probably not pay too much attention to smug consultants who think they know best. They don't. We do.
44) Anonymous User
26/09/2016
I really liked the name Climb Britain, but I suppose, as with most things, those that object will be the ones making noise. I just believe that Climb Britain sounds less stuffy than the British Mountaineering Council. At the end of it it's just a name - Climbers Club has a nice name but when they write elitist comments in their guides then that's what people judge. The BMC do a great job so ultimately I don't care what they are called.
45) Anonymous User
26/09/2016
Well done for listening to the opinions of members.
46) Anonymous User
26/09/2016
Happy to see common sense prevail. I did not get involved in the feedback to the rebrand but my heart sank when I read about it. I thought it a mistake to ditch the globally known brand of the BMC and all that heritage (an inevitable consequence of a reimaging). Similarly, as a walker, I felt a twinge of alienation when I saw the proposal. So thanks for acknowledging and acting on the response.
26/09/2016
Fantastic news that you have listened to the membership, tbh Climb Britain wasn't the worst that you could have chosen and there is much scope for it's continued use. I'm just sorry I couldn't make any of the recent meets.

We are a passionate bunch and I think by simply consulting the membership there may have been more traction for it. As usual, the loudest voices win out and maybe with a level consulting field, exciting things may (or not) have happened :-)
48) Anonymous User
26/09/2016
This is a good decision. I trust that the slogan "Climb Britain" will be confined to the dustbin of history. It doesn't resonate with the young or the old, contrary to what some people are saying. It doesn't even suit an elite climbing team. Do people think the slogans "Football Britain", "Tennis Britain", etc... sound good, or even English? The British Mountaineering Council uses a similar naming convention to it's counterparts abroad; Austrian Alpine Association, Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs (France), Alpine Association of Slovenia, the list goes on... Just focus on the good stuff you do and don't waste a second/penny more on branding, strategy, or any other low value/high cost initiatives! Ultimately, this is what will attract the next generation of members.
49) Anonymous User
26/09/2016
Very pleased on the decision to keep the brand as BMC. Says what it is on the tin.
Though I wonder how much of members money has been spent on a pointless exercise ?
50) Anonymous User
27/09/2016
I note post 4 is a "marketing officer" who loves rebranding things and their "potential" to do so much better if you change the name everyone knows to something they dont. Well you would wouldn't you? that's justifying your job.
And post 3? working with young people in mountaineering and not educating them about the BMC? it's a shame when our teachers dumb down UK education in any aspect and I hate to see that happening. Educate them properly and don't include your built in narrow minded opinions as being the truth, that way they can decide for themselves based on sound knowledge of all aspects.
28/09/2016
Delighted with this change of mind. Someone at the BMC is actually listening to the membership. I think this decision actually makes us all stronger and increases the feeling of belonging. We don't have a national club as such unlike much of the continent, and the BMC is as close as we get to approaching one.
52) Anonymous User
30/09/2016
A great decision. I am a member of a Mountain club in the south of England with a majoraty of members who enjoy walking in the great outdoors, whether it is coastal, hills or mountains. Changing it to Climb Britain gives the impression, particularly to those who may be interested in joining, that it is a club that just focusses on climbing. How about British Mountaineering club?
30/09/2016
The BMC is stronger for these last few weeks. Who ever writes the "BMC the next 50 years" should get a couple of chapters out of it.

54) Anonymous User
04/10/2016
I've been a member of several organisations that have changed names. It's not always a mistake.
But the loss of 'mountaineering' and the choice of 'climb britain' suggests a particular focus on competition climbing now or in the future, whatever explanation is being offered. I would not choose to be a member
of such a group.
'Climb Britain' as one of the areas under the BMC umbrella seems perfectly sensible.

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