The Royal Automobile Club

Restoring an iconic club for a new generation of members

  • Rebrand
  • Brand Strategy
  • Brand Identity
  • Design
  • Messaging
  • Tone of Voice
  • Photography

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.

198%

increase in retail sales where new iden­ti­ty is applied

+

An increase in aspi­ra­tional brand col­lab­o­ra­tions (Sav­ille Row)