RAC looks to the future with a virtual agency

The RAC has launched a radical new public image, created by a “virtual agency” under the direction of strategy and marketing director Jan Smith.

The overhaul includes a new corporate identity developed by London consultancy North, with brand strategy, positioning and account planning by branding consultancy Smith & Jarvis. Other experts were drafted in for media buying, advertising, research and public relations, forming the “virtual agency”.

The RAC is now making a determined move to focus on mobility rather than just motoring. It has introduced a folding commuter bike, priced at over 600, designed by Dr Alex Moulton, and will encourage non-motoring members.

The new identity will retain the traditional silver and blue RAC colour scheme in most applications. But the organisation’s 1400-strong vehicle fleet will appear in bright orange, with the identity picked out in white, to aid visibility and safety.

Smith says that the changes are the result of “huge research” early in 1996. The organisation carefully evaluated which of its values it most wished to keep during the 18-month project.

Smith describes the use of the virtual agency as “exactly the same sort of methodology” she employed in her previous position with First Direct.

She says that the new identity, which drops the Royal crown from the RAC’s logo for the first time, is appropriate.

“If it’s going to last for 25 years it doesn’t have to be of today, but more of tomorrow,” she says.

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