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Branding Bell Ringing 2014: The Results

Two groups of talented students from the University of Reading presented to us their brands and products for a new image of bell ringing

Having had the earlier briefing, both groups had done a huge amount of research and achieved a very accurate insight into the attractions of ringing – and the problems and misconceptions faced.

The groups produced two very different brand names, logos and applications to products as varied as beer mats (complete with beer!) and bracelets. Both were very impressive and clearly demonstrate the value of getting external and expert services into ringing.

John Harrison of the Central Council Public Relations Committee has taken the brand documents to develop a integrated offering to the Exercise – with documents and templates to use along with advice and best practice.

For now, I’d like to share the ‘brand manuals’ from both groups below.

I think this has been an incredibly valuable project to undertake, which has resulted in some fresh and effective ideas for practical application. I look forward to seeing it develop soon!

If you’d like to feed into the future development, please contact John Harrison or the other members of the CC PR Committee.

Branding Bell Ringing 2014: The Briefing

Last Tuesday, the bell ringing branding brief was presented by Rob Parker and John Harrison (CCCBR PR Committee) to eight final-year undergraduate students of Typography & Graphic Communication

Kicking off the Branding Bell Ringing 2014 project, John and myself discussed the background of our situation within ringing, the issues faced and our hopes for this branding project.

I highlighted a key theme of ‘Public Perception and Participation

A brand for ringing should aim to improve the public perception of ringing, presenting a fresh image that puts ringing on a comparative footing to other group performing arts such as being part of an orchestra. We discussed the physical and mental aspects of ringing, and ideas that can be learnt from competing activities in both the music and sports worlds. It was stressed that branding bell ringing is creating an image for an activity rather than an organisation.

It followed naturally that the purpose of improved perception was to increase the number of participants. We try to exhaustively list the benefits of ringing and our insights into why people ring and enjoy their hobby. The students have been given access to view a belfry, attend a practice night, have a go themselves and also talk to other existing and new ringers.

We discussed how the brand could be applied, with use alongside the current logos etc of the many organisations in the world of ringing. Application on posters and leaflets was suggested as the currently used strategy, but the group where encouraged to think more widely about what other applications could be considered. John showed the Central Council’s PR leaflet, and we discussed the image this presented and the students ideas ahead of a reprint later this year.

The students have 4 weeks from the kick-off sessions to research their projects, present ideas to their tutors as quasi-clients and refine their proposals. John and I will return to Reading in a few weeks to receive their ideas.

We’re very much looking forward to it!

Branding Bell Ringing 2014: Introduction

In 2014, we are beginning an exciting new project in association with the University of Reading to create a new brand for bell ringing

It is exactly a year since my last post on this blog, again discussing the issues of bell ringing branding online. Since then, we have been presented with the opportunity to partner with the University of Reading’s Typography and Graphic Communication Department.

Each year, the Department invite a number of non-profit organisations to become a ‘client’ for their annual student branding project. The work is undertaken by their talented Undergraduate students and could be for new start-ups looking for a brand, or established organisations wanting a brand refresh.

In consultation with the Central Council, the Ringing Foundation and the Association of Ringing Teachers we have prepared a brief for the students which will be presented to them on 14 January.

In the spirit of openness – you can download the brief here (PDF).

I will be maintaining regular updates on the process as we go along, but I very eagerly welcome input and thoughts from everyone via the comments below. I will read each one and respond to your questions.

 

Bell Ringing on the Web 2012

There has been a great deal of opportunity, change and successes for bell ringing during 2012

I have written reviews at the end of the year for each year I have been running the bellringing.org set of websites. I feel it is a useful tool for me to evaluate the progress made over the last year and to show others the great stuff we’ve been doing. This year I have decided to take a wider view of the websites I look after, both here on bellringing.org (including the Bell Ringing Web site this post gets it’s name from) and the Association of Ringing Teachers and the Ringing Foundation.

Overall, this year has seen my personal circumstances change significantly, and whilst I have a new commitment providing the website for the Association of Ringing Teachers, I have less time available and have intended, wherever possible, to streamline the websites and processes I handle.

In the non-ringing world there have been a series of high-profile events where ringing has featured prominently. The Diamond Julibee and the Olympic Games in London were by far the most significant, and both had major projects connected with bell ringing – namely, the Jubilee bells barge and the All the Bells and Olympic Bell for the Games. Later in the year, we have also had the Ring for Fitness campaign launched by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).

Whilst bell ringing featured highly through these events, it was the events where professional PR representation was used that the greatest benefit was felt. All the Bells and Ring for Fitness produced very much greater spikes in interest, and in requests to learn to ring locally, than the other general ‘awareness’ of ringing. With BellRinging.org and ART’s Moodle leading the way, we are just beginning to see the benefits of using data in our recruitment analysis and I hope that this grows and continues.

Ringing needs better promotion, indeed that was the initial purpose of this website. It is clear that there needs to be a professional approach in order to get results. I very much hope that the groups and organisations responsible for promotion realise this and can act together to both make the most of external events and see opportunities, like the CCT did, for creating a ‘buzz’. I think we, as an Exercise, largely failed to capitalise on the opportunities 2012 offered.

Much has been said this year concerning the adoption of a new ‘brand’ for ringing. I have disagree with suggestions of the need for a new logo, I feel we have the bell icon as our strongest asset. We do need a positive perception of ringing to be disseminated, and every ringer should act as a proud ambassador for bell ringing. PR should be everyone’s responsibility in order for us to actively go out and attract others to join our hobby.

I believe a key part of our lack of a strong brand lies in the disparity and range of brands used by both the (ever growing) number of national organisations as well as local associations. Whilst many have a proud heritage, and I aim this suggestion not at local associations, I would like to see the national brands unified. As part of this a common website similar to that provide by swimming.org would be a great asset.

Now it would be easy to suggest that this year I have helped to do the opposite, creating another new website – for the Association of Ringing Teachers. But the integration process is not going to be imminent and this site acts as a valuable new information portal about ringing training, with some features already planned to integrate with the bellringing.org recruitment website.

The ART website been very successful, with frequently updated news items, reports on ITTS Courses and the publication of Learning the Ropes data. It was also our first move into integrating location services and mapping.

The Ringing Foundation website saw a re-vamp at the end of 2012, with a reduction in the number of pages to update the content that it is now relevant for the Foundation to provide. Major improvements to this website have included an online members register for Foundation members where they can update all their information securely online. Also, a comprehensive donations page and system is now set-up and is generating a small but stable income for the Foundation.

On BellRinging.org I took the decision earlier in the year to close the ‘Recruiter Hub’ site. This content was unnecessarily provided on a separate site, and it seemed logical to incorporate it into Resource Finder, helping to minimise the time requirements to maintain the site. Across all other sites, I have also acted to delete all excess pages, to streamline and to clear the clutter from the entire range of sites. Our main addition is the development of our Contact system for prospective recruits. Thanks to the efforts of Roger Booth from the Ringing Foundation, we have a database of 260 branches/districts – including officer contact details and website addresses. This powers the new Contact website and provides the easiest method yet for prospective ringers to contact local ringers and get started. In the next year more improvements will come to the recruitment facing part of the website, including further improvements to the Contact service – keep your eyes peeled!

Finally, thank you for visiting and using the services from BellRinging.org. I put in a lot of work to keep this all working and we’re always developing something new.

Happy New Year!

Favourites For Everyone

The Favourite feature from Resource Finder is now free for everyone to use

Its a great feature we’ve had for some years, but its always be to restricted users. We want everyone to get the benefit of being able to find and ‘favourite’ resources they want the system to remember. You can then easily find them again, from the front page of Resource Finder, each time you need to go back and check that useful resource.

Its very easy to use, just find a resource, open it, and click the heart in the purple area at the top of the screen. This will then be added to your favourites, ready for any future visits.

Try it today on Resource Finder…

Working with ART

Our recruitment site bellringing.org will soon point to Members of the Association of Ringing Teachers

The website has been extremely successful at delivering online requests for learning to ring. Currently, however, all requests are manually processed and forwarded to Officers within the local Guild or Association.

With the development of the Association of Ringing Teachers, we will now be integrating the easy Learn to ring contact forms available for all ART Accredited Ringing Teachers into the ‘Find local ringers’ feature of bellringing.org

This is intended not only to ease the administrative process of placing an interested member of the public with a teacher, but will also assure those making requests that their Ringing Teacher will be suitable trained.

The system is still under development, as the online Directory of ART Members is not yet fully operational. We will of course post again here when the change is made.

Celebrating Olympic Bell Ringing

The past few days have seen bell ringing brought to the attention of the media and the public

With both the All The Bells event created by Martin Creed and the prominence of the Olympic Bell in the Opening Ceremony, the fact that bells are an ancient and unique English tradition has been strongly apparent.

This has also meant a revitalised interest in bell ringing. Our recruitment pages at bellringing.org have seen a large increase in interest. For example, our page views this month are +90.48% above the long-term average, with July 2012 being the second busiest month ever and having the highest average views per day. All impressive statistics, and largely due to the interest generated through the All The Bells event.

As a further indication, Google provides data on the number of searches it records. The graph below shows that we in the UK are currently experiencing the highest number of searches for ‘bell ringing’ since their records began.

BellRinging.org has been very happy to be an Event Partner for All The Bells and is proud to have been able to forward requests for learn to ring lessons from dozens of people across the country.

However, despite the Olympic Games being the largest sporting event on Earth, we should be aware of the fact that an event organised by a non-ringing artist has generated more interest in bell ringing than years of our recruitment efforts. The fact that so many ringers have opposed the All The Bells event only further underlines how successful the promotion of the event has been.

I think what we can learn from this is that if we want to engage the public and the media, national events of this scale are the way forward. It has been embraced by the British public and warmly welcomed. Equally, it has been promoted very aggressively, backed by a professional events company with the experience and resources to deliver. If we are to be a professional, forward-thinking and developing activity, we need to be operating at this level.

EU Cookies Legislation

The recent enactment of EU legislation regarding the use of cookies has now been incorporated into this website.

We have updated our Cookies Policy and link to it from the top of every page. Users are advised to read the Cookies Policy and to regularly review it.

We aim to provide detailed information about the cookies in use on our sites in the near future.

Recruiter Hub ends, but a new start

Since we launched Recruiter Hub at the start of 2011 it has continued to grow a steady stream of interest and our resources are frequently downloaded.

However, the time has now come to close down this particular area of the site. For loyal fans, or casual users, do not fear! All the resources are being transferred to our Resource Finder which is better suited to their content.

It was originally intended to be a place for people to share and submit advice and inspiration for recruitment projects, however this never came to fruition. Sadly it did not have the depth of content in this area that required a separate site maintaining.

Therefore the site mainly consisted of a series of downloadable files. Well, we’ve already got a website dedicated to that! Resource Finder provides much more capabilities to submit, rate and download content.

We are pleased then to open the new Recruitment section on Resource Finder. Please go over and have a look. All the resources will be familiar, but in our standard format that we know so many of you find easy to use on Resource Finder.

And, as the tagline of Resource Finder says, make sure you ‘Share, Find & Rate‘!

Help Us With Ringing History

The recruitment site at bellringing.org continues to be very popular, and we continue to want to improve it

One of the weakest pages is the ‘History of bell ringing‘ page. I would like to create a timeline style page with dates down the left and further information, images and (ideally) videos to go along with them.

However, my history of bell ringing is very limited, and I’m looking for someone who knows better than me!

I’m aiming for around 10 dates/periods that we could list, along with some information about how ringing has progressed through the ages. The aim is to make it interesting and accessible to non-ringers, so the dates/periods should be useful for those who are not informed about ringing – this makes it all the more difficult to find information when you’re ringing history knowledge is poor!

If you think you can help out, even by just submitting one date/period to add that would be really useful and help to boost the usefulness of this page.

Please either contact us or comment below.

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