The Meetings and Events activity that has helped London’s Royal College of Physicians to achieve international recognition as a conference venue has undergone an extensive re-branding, covering all major aspects of its marketing communications. Formally launched at this year’s EIBTM show in Barcelona (27-29 November), the process will help the venue to build on the major international recognition that it has achieved recently.
The rebranding sees the activity being marketed under its own new logo, rather than the Royal College’s original crest that symbolises the organisation’s medical heritage. The new logo represents one of the RCP key selling points as a venue, its distinctive modernist architecture. Using the new logo, the dedicated Meetings and Events website is also undergoing extensive changes to its look and functionality and will launch in early December.
A new brochure, which also incorporates subtle graphical cues from the venue’s distinctive architecture, is the most apparent evidence of the brighter colour palette which underpins the rebranding. The brochure encompasses the RCP’s unique heritage, its facilities and services and the distinctive event opportunities offered by individual locations such as its historic, wood-panelled Censors’ Room, the remarkable Dorchester Library, and the dramatic Council Chamber.
In considering its rebranding strategy, the RCP - located at 11, St Andrews Place overlooking Regent’s Park - considered adopting the approach used by a number of academic venues in London, which have dropped their institutional title in favour of their address. However, it was decided that such a change would undo the vital work already achieved by the RCP to establish its current identity. “Our research, both systematic and anecdotal, shows that our name is well recognised and valued across all the sectors to which we sell our services,” explained Clive Ostler, RCP’s General Manager, Marketing and Facilities: “By continuing to use it, we are also reinforcing a part of our proposition that is very important for many of our clients – that the revenue generated when they use our facilities helps to fund vital College activities and improvement in patient care around the world.”
The rebranding will also be reinforced by continuing enhancements to RCP’s facilities and services. Recent investments include enhancing the technical capability of both its 140 seat Seligman Theatre and its 300 seat Wolfson Theatre to accommodate HD video conferencing. Two of the RCP’s smaller adjoining spaces, the Linacre and Sloane Rooms , offering a joint capacity for 120 delegates, have also recently been refurbished to a high standard.
With its technical facilities reaching new heights, another significant development this year has been the appointment of the RCP’s first Technical & AV Manager, with the primary role of helping customers to optimise the technical aspects of their events.
The marketing of the iconic, award-winning RCP headquarters building as a conference venue began in the 1990’s and was designed initially to sell spare capacity to help fund the College’s medical activities. However, the initiative rapidly developed so successfully that the venue quickly became a significant player in the venues sector. It is now established as one of the UK’s most highly regarded venues, on both the national and international stages.
In July, it won the title of ‘World’s Best Convention Centre’ at the annual conference of AIPC, the International Association of Congress Centres. It was an unprecedented achievement for an academic venue, won in the face of competition from leading conference and convention venues throughout the world. The sixteen finalists included major venues in Adelaide, Istanbul, Toronto, Kyoto, Belfast, Orlando and Orange County in California. The AIPC award was the second major accolade for the RCP within weeks. In June, it secured the ‘Best UK venue for up to 250 people’ title in the UK’s annual Conference Awards.