A new brand and new website to get more people cycling safely
Bikeability is Cycling Proficiency for the 21st Century: a nationwide scheme to get more people cycling, more often, more safely. Last year alone Bikeability schemes trained over 250,000 children to cycle safely on the roads.
The course is delivered throughout Leeds by a team of 24 instructors. Back in 2009 I worked with them to create their first website, and that year they trained 1,700 school children across Leeds. This year they’re on track for over 6,000. But it almost wasn’t so…
In 2010 it was announced that School Sports Partnerships, who funded Bikeability training in Leeds, would be closed. The new UK government, in the run up to the Olympics, decided to cut £162m from schools’ sports budgets. There was public outcry and eventually the government U-turned. But during the funding shake-up Bikeability’s future in Leeds looked uncertain. Thankfully they found a new source of funding, becoming part of the prestigious Carnegie sports association.
With the training team busy teaching children to ride safely on the roads of Leeds, I was approached to oversee their rebrand to Carnegie Bikeability and to update their website accordingly.
After some consultation it became clear that Carnegie Bikeability’s new incarnation was actually very different, and a quick logo adjustment and website update wouldn’t cut it.
Hey, not only kids want to ride!
In its previous incarnation the team only taught school children. All their efforts were focused entirely on getting schools to sign up for training courses, and the original website reflected this.
With the change to Carnegie Bikeability, the team now aimed to teach everyone how to cycle. Adults who’d never learned to ride and were nervous, commuters who wanted help planning a new route to work, children whose schools didn’t offer the course - everyone.
After more discussions with the client and various stakeholders we agreed on a new clear set of goals.
We want Leeds residents to understand the benefits of cycle training, to realise that it’s available to them now, and to take full advantage of that.
- Inform a wider audience that cycle training is available to to them, not just school pupils.
- Rebrand to reflect partnership with the prestigious Leeds Carnegie sports organisation.
- Increase engagement with public through new social channels.
- Continue to meet old site’s goals: encourage schools to book training and provide information to pupils’ parents.
Have we set the right goals? Do they need tweaking? How are we going to achieve them? How are we going to measure our success? These are the questions we set out to answer. I’d worked with Carnegie Bikeability since 2009 so had a good grasp of their challenges but research was still important to gave us a solid grounding for all our decisions.
We investigated the current site’s analytics to see how the site was being used and identify areas for improvement.
We evaluated similar organisations’ online presences to learn from their successes and failures.
We spoke to a range of stakeholders, including Carnegie Bikeability’s funding body, school teachers, parents, pupils and the general public.
A New Brand
Carnegie Bikeabilty needed a new brand. A tight budget meant this was limited to a logo, colour palette and new collateral. Building on the overall project aims, the logo had to:
- Align with the Leeds Carnegie and Leeds Met brands
- Appeal to a broader audience than the standard Bikeability brand. Avoid childish cliches.
- Include a succinct strap line which portrays our new wider reach
Cycle Training for Everyone
I worked with Carnegie Bikeability on the strap line, deciding on the inclusive “Cycle training for everyone.” This theme would repeat throughout their new website.
I then brought graphic designer Kris Howes who created some fantastic logo concepts. The client still wasn’t 100% sure on their new name: Leeds Cycle Training Team, or Leeds Carnegie Bikeability. We did more research which confirmed that Carnegie is a strong brand with an excellent reputation, especially within Leeds, so it made sense to build on this. We dropped ‘Leeds’ from the brand as we wanted to keep open the possibility of expanding to new locations. Eventually we arrived at the logo below.
Whilst I started work on the website, Kris applied the new brand across collateral including business cards, training vests, letterheads and more.
A New Website
Initially I was contracted to simply update the existing website. We quickly realised that since the organisation had changed so fundamentally we could do much better by starting fresh (although lots of the school-based content was still pertinent and we could port that across to the new site). Below are some highlights of the new website.
A wider audience: cycle training is for everyone
Carnegie Bikeability’s old website did a great job of appealing to schools and encouraging them to book courses. The new site had to maintain this success whilst speaking to their new wider audience. We ensured ‘cycle training for everyone’ was a prominent theme throughout the site, supported by clear calls to action and a very obvious site structure which broke content into two main sections: training for schools and training for everyone else.
A more visual website
The old website was created just as the organisation set up, meaning we didn’t have access to library of images. This time we did, so we featured them heavily to quickly illustrate what Carnegie Bikeability do and prompt an emotional response.
Conversation with our audience
Throughout the design process the client got more excited about the potential for social media. They now had a brand they were proud of and the motivation to share it with the world. There wasn’t room in the budget for a full social strategy, but the client set up their own social media accounts and has been active on them since launch. Facebook in particular has been a great platform for them to build a relationship with their audience and drive new visitors to their website.
Searchable bookings list
Parents can quickly check if and where their school has booked cycle training. Numerous head teachers have booked courses based on parents seeing so many other schools booked and requesting training for their own school.
Super easy content management
The site is built on the wonderful Statamic content management system. This includes a beautiful control panel which makes updating content a breeze - even from a mobile. It’s also a flat-file CMS which makes the site super-fast, secure and a joy for developers to work with.
Carnegie Bikeability have a library of feedback collected from children and staff after course completion. We showcased this heavily throughout the site, especially to reassure visitors at key screens such as the booking form.
Results: how has this helped Carnegie Bikeability?
Strong new brand which sets Carnegie Bikeability apart from their competitors and gives them a solid platform for future growth.
The new brand is aligned with Crangie and Leeds Met, building on their strong reputations. It positions Crangie Bikeability as the best training organisation in the area. It portrays a professional yet fun image, without being childish, and appeals to a wide audience.
Big increase in private bookings, especially for complete beginners.
So much so that they have now started offering Balanceability aimed at 2-6 year olds. Shortly after launch, Go:Cycling began offering completely free cycle training to adults. Unfortunately Carnegie Bikeabilty’s funding structure doesn’t allow this so they have to refer most adult training enquires to Go:Cycling. That’s a shame for Carnegie Bikeability but it still means more people cycling in Leeds!
Increased engagement with audience.
400+ new Twiiter followers, 120+ new Facebook fans and regular news updates help Carnegie Bikeability interact with their audience. They use these channels to promote their training as well as safe cycling in general.
Gavin helped refine our goals and steer us away from some bad decisions. He really understood our organisation, our aims and our pain points. His research, strategy and creativity has resulted in a cracking website which has boosted our profile and ultimately got more people, of all ages, cycling safely.— Andrew Crossley,
Carnegie Bikeability Training Manager