Understanding ringing from the external perspective

In the previous article, we talked about the process we had been through to help our branding partners Yellowyoyo understand ringing and the challenges of marketing it. This resulted in a proposal from them to move the project forward which is now published on the Ringing 2030 section of the Council website here https://cccbr.org.uk/ringing-2030/  

It is a long document which goes into a lot of detail in terms of the types of marketing campaigns that might be undertaken in the future, but the key thing for now is that we think Yellowyoyo have all they need to start creating marketing materials that will help us attract new ringers. Our aim is for those recruits to know a little bit more about what they are letting themselves in for, or who are better placed to judge whether ringing is the thing for them.  

It’s worth a recap of what we are trying to market, and who this project is meant to be helping. This is not the Central Council rebranding itself (however desirable that may be), or about imposing a new brand on associations. This is about branding bellringing to people whose perception of bellringing may be wrong, and to attract people to bellringing who might be good at it but who would not currently learn about it because they have no connection with a church or an existing ringer.  

Barbara Le Gallez contacted the team to ask whether her tower’s recruitment project might be an early user of new materials produced by Yellowyoyo: “Perhaps this is not the sort of project you’re looking for?” In fact, her project is exactly the sort of project this work is aimed at. A tower wanting to boost its numbers by drawing young and middle-aged adults from the local community is probably a situation replicated in a couple of thousand places. Bryan from Yellowyoyo said at the start of the process that “we have 6,000 customers here”, meaning every tower should be able to use what we are creating to meet their own needs.  

There has been much comment on whether this project is only aimed at young ringers. As you will see in the Yellowyoyo brief it is not – it is more about rebuilding the demographic profile which needs to have more young ringers coming in at the bottom, but also needs more young to middle aged people, the missing generation, coming in the middle. We have rather neglected that as bands have got older, but it is a rich source of recruitment for many towers.  

The detailed next stage proposal that the Council Executive has signed off has the following description of work to be done: 

As we said in the Future Vision Document the brand identity and collateral must, 

  1. Develop a unique and memorable brand identity for bell ringing, including a logo, colour scheme, typography, and brand collateral that reflect the adventurous, welcoming, dynamic, and logical nature of the activity.
  2. Craft a compelling brand story that highlights the heritage, inclusive community, health benefits, and intellectual aspects of bell ringing, appealing to both younger and older generations. This would form part of the positioning framework outlined in the Vision Document. 
  3. Apply the clear, concise, and engaging messaging developed in the Vision Document that communicates the brand story and key aspects of bell ringing across all marketing materials, such as brochures, posters, websites, and social media content. 

The values and perception words agreed during the Discovery Workshop will also influence the brand identity creative development.

Let’s just pick that apart a bit and translate it out of ‘corporate marketing speak’! 

“Brand identity” is really asking how we want ringing to be viewed, perceived, and described. A brand identity that makes ringing appear dull, boring, or staid, will not attract new ringers, whereas a brand identity that shows adventurous, welcoming, dynamic, and logical, is likely to be more successful. Expect pictures of happy people not stained glass windows. Collateral is a term that encompasses any marketing materials, printed or online.  

Car companies for instance a very good at brand identities and carrying the same across all their media. BMW has a strong perception of quality, while Mini is usually pitched as being fun and adventurous. Skoda’s marketeers have done a remarkable job! 

Four of the ‘value’ words are quoted there. Adventurous (it was an adventure for all of us once), dynamic, welcoming; but logical? This aspect of ringing might not get mixed in with the others but those in the Discovery Workshop thought it was important not to forget that many ringers are attracted and retained by the logical, mathematical, side of ringing. Of course, for others that is of no concern, but for those interested in making sure that change ringing, and method ringing in particular, continues to develop, targeting people attracted to this aspect of ringing will help that. Young people with STEM interests would be key targets here.  

What on earth is a brand story?! Brand storytelling is just a way marketeers build an emotional connection between the brand, bellringing in this case, and the target audience, taking the potential recruit on a journey that helps them understand what bellringing is all about, why they might want to do it and be good at it. The recently produced and critically acclaimed ringing videos create a brand story, and in the final edit the team made sure they were consistent with the sorts of message being discussed with Yellowyoyo.  

And so, in the final paragraph 3, Yellowyoyo conclude with the production of the marketing materials towers might want to use. This focus on providing materials that can be used at local level is further emphasised by this comment: 

Given that we ideally want the new identity to be used by all the towers perhaps we should give some thought as to how local towers can have their name added to the new identity so that there is a degree of local customisation to the national identity. That way we encourage adoption across the tower estate and make the identity as much local as national.

In terms of the things that we think would be most useful we went for the following:  

Applying the new identity should concentrated in particular on new ringer recruitment marketing material templates for the towers to use. The list we discussed was, 

  1. PowerPoint deck template 
  2. A poster 
  3. A banner (pull-up) – probably to be created as part of the concept / development phase 
  4. A leaflet 
  5. An email footer


We have also commissioned the initial design of an overall ringing marketing website. 

The Council Executive signed off this phase of work in October and Yellowyoyo have made a start. We expect to have the first results of the work available for our review by in early December.  

If you are interested in running marketing campaigns in the first half of 2024 and would be interested in piloting and even influencing the marketing materials, please email Simon Linford, who is leading the work with Yellowyoyo on behalf of the Executive, at  

Tina Stoecklin 

Vicki Chapman 



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