The Royal Automobile Club
Restoring an iconic club for a new generation of members
- Brand Strategy
- Brand Identity
- Tone of Voice
In recent years, the Royal Automobile Club had become more like a boutique hotel or a dated old car association, rather than a world-leading private members’ club. This was evident both in the way it behaved and in an increasingly generic brand identity. They were stuck in the past and failing to connect with a new generation of members who didn’t necessarily share their automotive passions.
Our job: restoring the character of this iconic Club in a way that connects its heritage with modern members. Taking it back to its founding story – as a home for adventurer pioneers seeking challenge — opened up new horizons. The Club has transformed into a welcoming refuge for business pioneers, sports lovers and car enthusiasts. It’s a confident and sensitive identity that’s put the ‘A’ back into RAC and boosted retail sales by 198%.
THE SPIRIT BEHIND THE BRAND
Like brands, great Clubs endure because they create a shared ethos and sense of belonging, remaining relevant to their members and the society in which they exist. Rather than a dated club relying on an established date to cue heritage, the line ‘1897 onwards’ now suggests an organisation that doesn’t stand still.
ODA took some considerable time to research and understand the culture of the Club and ensure that the rich heritage was sustained in a creative way.Miles Wade Club Secretary The Royal Automobile Club
REINSTATING THE WHEEL
Our first stop was a loving restoration of the original car badge logomark. The previous logotype had lost the shape of the wheel, and with it, its meaning. Additionally, elements within the logo were unrecognisable at large scale, and filled in when reproduced down small.
We also created a unique holding device, based on the position of where the original car badge would have sat, on the Clubs Rolls Royce bonnet
NEW VISION AND VALUES
We defined the values of the club by digging into the Club’s past and re-writing stories. The aim was to bring the values to life via personal stories and facts. We then produced handsome pocket handbooks to help staff feel part of the legacy and pass on titbits to members.
DRIVING COHESION THROUGH ICONIC PATTERNS
The concept of motion and movement inspired a suite of iconic tyre tread patterns that bring unity to Club communications. Each tread was carefully chosen to represent and celebrate a key moment in British motoring and Club history, and to showcase the beauty in engineering. We carefully imbued every element of the new brand with motoring vernacular, including a colour palette and graphic devices drawn from the automotive world along with aspirational photography that captures the spirit of progress.
Demonstrating uncommon intellect and shrewd perception, ODA created a revised brand identity system which has been well received by the Club members. The spark of ingenuity was capturing the tyre brands as the repeated background pattern, to underpin the strong visual identity.Miles Wade Club Secretary The Royal Automobile Club
AUTHENTICITY AND REAL MEANING
We imbued every element of the brand identity with a role and meaning, drawing from the automotive world and Club stories to build connection and authenticity. To embed the new identity into the day-to-day, we created clear guidelines and ran workshops for RAC staff and stakeholders.
PEOPLE MAKE THE PLACE
Photography created aspiration and spoke of occasion and vibe, rather than place. We created a Club people wanted to be part of. Additionally, our new tone of voice is characterful, witty and welcoming to make everyone feel at home.
NEW, WARMER AND MORE CHARACTERFUL TONE OF VOICE
Our new tone of voice was characterful, witty and welcoming to make everyone feel at home. We created a messaging framework to cover informative to inspiring.
A REASON TO STAY AND USE MORE OF THE FACILITIES
Events calendars were reworked to build on the unique value offered by an RAC membership and drive ‘Club’ occasions. Events are now the definitive experience beyond comparison via a confident naming structure ‘Golf at The Royal Automobile Club’
STORIES INSPIRED NEW BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
We carefully curated new retail gifting experiences geared towards the new brand to drive engagement. For instance, Seagrave Tweed is now exclusive to the Royal Automobile Club and made by Saville Rows founding tailor Henry Poole for the ultimate adventurer.
increase in retail sales where new identity is applied
An increase in aspirational brand collaborations (Saville Row)