CTC “Rebranding” – letter from David Cox, Chair of Council

The following is the contents of a letter received by our Secretary:

Dear Julian

It has been brought to my attention that CTC member and former Councillor Philip Benstead has approached local group Secretaries and other members asking for support for a poll of the whole membership about the decision to rebrand.   It is up to members whether they wish to seek a poll – the charity’s articles of association provide for a poll where 200 members wish to challenge a resolution of Council.  However, the last time we conducted a poll of the whole club, the cost of the process was approximately £14,000. In terms of what this means to our charity, that is enough to employ a staff member for over 5 months to offer full time support to Member Groups. Before you commit the charity to that expense, I would like to ensure you have a bit more background information.

What is proposed?

The document I have seen refers to the proposed re-branding in rather confused terms.  As set out in our earlier statement here, from our Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy, “Our charity will still legally be registered as the Cyclists’ Touring Club with its charity and company registrations unchanged. The Cyclists’ Touring Club is not being disbanded. In fact, part of the need for this change is because we hope the new brand will enhance our touring offering. The new name (as I’m sure many of you will now have seen) is ‘Cycling UK’ and the brand ‘we are Cycling UK’ will be adopted as a ‘trading name’ of the charity.  We are very proud of our heritage and history, and we know that a new name and brand will really help to make our charity even more attractive to many more people.”

By the nature of this information being leaked, our full rebranding has not yet been presented (only the new name and a new logo). While these both form an integral part of our new brand, they will both be used in conjunction with images and editorial in a way that conveys much more than any logo might in isolation. In fact the success of any brand is about how an organisation ‘lives and breathes’ its values through the work that it does.

What does this mean for Member Groups?

CTC Member Groups will not need to change their names, their jerseys or other aspects of their branding unless they want to.  Most Member Groups have a clear identity and touring orientation that is well recognised by local club cyclists and they will be free to maintain that identity.  It will continue to be possible to obtain classic kit and winged wheel badges – and we plan to develop further items drawing on the charity’s rich heritage.

Was the decision endorsed by Council?

Yes.  The Council meeting on 23 January resolved to accept the new name and design proposed by the professional team working to reflect the ‘brand essence’ approved by Council at an earlier meeting.

The decision came at the end of an impressively thorough process.  While some Council members were initially cautious of the jargon that can surround exercises like this, there was a near-unanimous acknowledgement that the team working with us understood CTC with all its complex heritage and exciting future – and had captured our collective desire to share the joy of cycling.

Only one Council member voted against the proposed rebrand, with 15 voting in favour.

Have steps been taken to protect the new brand?

Yes. We have conducted a robust risk-assessment, protected the new logo as a registered trade mark and taken other steps on the advice of our legal and other advisers.

What does this mean for the winged wheel?

There will be many charities who will be jealous of our rich history and such iconic assets like our winged wheel, and rightly so. We will continue to promote our heritage as a very important part of our wider brand, which will include continuing to use the winged wheel.

Who is Philip Benstead?

Philip Benstead is a long-standing CTC member, volunteer and former Council member.  He left Council with effect from 1 January this year, after a contested election in the South East region.

We are particularly disappointed that Philip has chosen to take this action because:

  1.             At the CTC Council meeting in January 2014 Philip seconded the motion to go ahead with the work on the rebranding, specifically to: ‘Agree in principle to a trading name change … ‘;
  2.           As a former member of CTC Council Philip should understand that members of Council are obliged to accept collective responsibility, and that responsibility continues to apply in relation to decisions made while he was a trustee;
  3.          Despite the fact that he was until the end of last year a Council member, Philip chose not to raise his concerns about the decision with Council or with the National Office team.

What next?

We will be officially launching our new name and brand in April, through Cycle magazine, our online communications channels and via the media. We will also be back in touch with you before then to provide you with new resources and guidance so that you can maximise this opportunity to raise the profile of [the charity and] your group locally, to help to attract new members and to gain local media interest.

If you have any questions, please contact the communications team on 01483 238 315.

David Cox

Chair, CTC

 

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