A cut above
A cut above
Ascot is a brand that needs no introduction. A cultural icon and household name, it has for centuries been associated with royal heritage, world-class racing and a famously recognisable dress code.
As one of the world’s leading racecourses and leisure destinations, Ascot has long attracted the world’s finest horses and jockeys. But faced with increasing competition, the brand was struggling to make further inroads into the consumer leisure market.
The problem stemmed from the overall brand architecture. Royal Ascot, the racecourse’s flagship summer occasion, was overshadowing its regular race meetings. This gave many attendees little awareness of the full events programme; while for Ascot it meant limited crossover of racegoers and a struggle to reach capacity on many racedays.
We had to redefine the Ascot brand to make sense of the relationship between Ascot, the destination, and Royal Ascot, the event. Done well, this would attract new commercial partners, encourage greater and more frequent visitation, and create a truly iconic leisure destination.
We defined a new brand positioning and identity for the overall Ascot brand. At its heart lies a new promise: Raise the standard.
Designed to reflect Ascot’s unique position as the UK’s royal racecourse, the promise serves as a directive for the whole organisation. It’s a rallying cry that calls staff to honour their sense of duty and leadership: to preserve tradition while translating it meaningfully into new, exciting occasions.
The new identity system creates one cohesive destination brand – Ascot – that can flex to deliver a luxury social and sporting event, Royal Ascot. The visual identity is a contemporary take on traditional racing and heritage cues, juxtaposing a classic colour palette with a graphic pattern inspired by racing silks. The new tone of voice uses storytelling to convey the history and heritage of the racecourse, to show how a day at Ascot is unlike any other.
To bring the brand to life for employees and racegoers alike, we worked with staff to define ‘The Ascot Way’. A set of actionable values and behaviours, it unites the organisation behind the brand to help create a valuably different experience for customers.
The new identity has successfully reinforced Royal Ascot’s position as the jewel in the crown of the UK racing calendar, while simultaneously raising the profile of other Ascot Racedays. The brand promise has proved invaluable for internal engagement – ensuring the racecourse raises the standard in everything it does.
Commercial success was matched by customer satisfaction and an increase in social media engagement, with record numbers of first-time bookers to racedays and events at Ascot.
“The Clearing worked with our unique group of stakeholders, including our guests, to help us define a new brand hierarchy. One where our lead brand, Ascot, and flagship event, Royal Ascot, share aspirational values and elegant design assets. We now have a strong foundation on which to build an elegant and exciting year-round customer experience.”