As might be expected given the fact that I was in favour of changing the BMC’s brand to Climb Britain, I am disappointed by this decision being revoked.
As a representative body its name is antiquated and almost meaningless to the newbie. I know a few people who are getting into hillwalking and they talk about “climbing” the likes of Scafell and Snowdon as much as 'walking' along their local footpaths. Ok, they probably wouldn't refer to themselves as 'climbers' but they hardly know what mountaineering is. I am sure they don't understand what the “council” has to do with their enjoyment of the outdoors.
It seems like such a retrograde step to me but hey, this year of all years has proved that referenda are a great thing, right?
Whilst I was not present at the local BMC meetings I have noticed a lot of the subsequent recrimination of the failed rebranding is based on membership money being wasted on the rebrand. A futile argument as the money did not come from the dutiful and paying members of the BMC.
I have also read on forums many negative comments about the font. Really? Is that what this is about? If I ask my father's advice on which fonts to use for some marketing campaign or a new brand he would doubtless choose something like this...
...because it is more in line with his interest in antiquarian books.
And herein lies the problem. The leitmotif for Britain in 2016 seems to have been one of acting on the emotionally informed wishes of people who are looking backwards not forwards. I make absolutely no apologies for this opinion. The British Mountaineering Council is a wonderful organisation, but its name is antiquated and irrelevant to the kind of newbies or amateurs I speak to in my daily life about the joys and life enrichment that can be had from climbing hills, mountains or rocks.
It doesn’t speak of inclusivity (yes, I also get irritated by that word but it is something that has to be worked at whether we like it or not) and I think many of those opposed to the change do not want it to be inclusive.
Like most people in my private and professional life I have, at one time for another, encountered a lack of welcoming in many “worlds” - and I am a white middle-class man!
The world the BMC represents (or to precise a substantial section of individuals within it) have, in the past, been utterly snobbish and condescending towards me and others who have not reached the upper echelons of the sport or who have been fair weather outdoorsmen and women, dipping in and out when time allowed and restricting ourselves to the less extreme. I felt this as much when I was a student, in a Climbing/Mountaineering Club, as I did later in life when talking to more experienced people in a remote mountain hut.
In business this sort of insularity is fatal. Now, I must concede we should not always look to business for guidance but a service provider should be looking outwards at what its current and prospective members require, not just what the most vocal members want. The BMC's mission is to promote "the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers". There are many who don't know what the BMC is. There are many who would probably like to be associated with such a body in some way - they do after all benefit from the work it does and would perhaps also therefore contribute to it. Surely it would make sense to go down a route that brings wider attention to an organisation that can do so much good and would benefit from being more well known.
I don’t always know what is best for me. I engaged a designer to make the logo of this site, to show me the way, because that’s his/her job; to stay on top of trends and have creative ideas which resonate with the wider world. I could have just picked part of a charming old engraving from a dusty leather tome on my shelf and photographed it. But I didn’t, because part of moving forward is putting trust in those that I have chosen to lead me.
And if it’s really disastrous I can always choose another person to lead me. But I have to give them the chance to lead, if I am to get the standard and longevity of service I want. But, then again, you have every right to think everything I say is nonsense, especially if you don't like The Armchair Mountaineer logo.