1. Does my club have to change its name because it has BMW in it?
NO! Nothing in the new guidelines requires any club to change its name, even if it has the letters BMW in it. That also means that you do not have to change the name on your club bank account or any legal documentation for your club (i.e. articles of incorporation, DBA or assumed name certificates). However, there are guidelines concerning the formatting of your club name, use of the word mark (BMW) and the Roundel in particular circumstances. Please refer to the fourth and fifth FAQ’s for details.
2. What about our website - it has BMW in the URL (website address)?
Again, the answer is no. Whatever your current website address is, it is unaffected by these guidelines. However, there are guidelines concerning the use of the word mark (BMW) and the Roundel as artwork within your website.
3. For years BMW never paid any attention to how we used the Roundel and the letters BMW. Why are they imposing these rules now?
These symbols represent the BMW brand and thereby form the core of the BMW Brand Identity. For several years, BMW has been working to create motorcycles that appeal to a wider demographic. We see this in the emphasis on the GS line, the new K, S and F series bikes, and in features such as lower seats and suspension. The styling of these bikes, as well as the BMW line of clothing, reflect a more contemporary appearance. The brand identity is central to the BMW marketing program, so it was inevitable that they would want the brand identity to reflect the same contemporary appearance. Clubs are also an important part of that brand identity and BMW feels they should reflect that shared identity, while still being recognizable as an individual club.
Furthermore, the world-wide legal environment requires that corporations maintain very tight control of their intellectual property and corporate identity. If they do not, they risk losing the legal ownership of these properties. BMW is doing nothing more than every other international corporation, and has actually worked with the clubs in being as flexible as possible.
4. What exactly must we change for our club to comply with the new guidelines?
The official guidelines apply to “communicative and institutional images”. You will need to use the new CI logo format to identify your club. In plain English, these representations must be consistent with the guidelines any place the public will view the words “BMW”, “BMW Club" or the Roundel. The most common examples would be your club website (but not your URL itself), club logo, club business cards, club letterhead, club banners, hats, patches, pins, shirts or decals.
5. What about my club artwork (logo and/or signet)? Do we need to change that?
Unless you have already reformed your logo to conform to the new guidelines, your logo will require reworking. If your signet contains any of the IP (intellectual property) elements, it will also require reworking. In other words, in some cases you need only change the layout to conform. In other cases, you must modify or redesign the artwork. The examples below show the three different stages.
Here is an example of a compliant club logo. This use of the Roundel and the formatting of the club name conform to the guidelines and the signet (bird over water) does not contain any of the intellectual property elements.
Here is an example of a club logo (old style) that is incorrect and needs must be reformatted to resemble the above logo. However, the signet (flag in Alamo outline) is acceptable because it does not contain any of the IP (intellectual property) elements. There are examples in the Design Guidelines document of how to make this kind of a change.
Here are some non-compliant examples. The layout of the logo itself is non-compliant (even with the old standard) and the signet (center portion) is non-compliant because it uses elements of the Roundel.
6. Does BMW need to approve the new logo designs?
Yes. Because you are chartered with the BMW MOA (a U.S. umbrella club), we are responsible for the use of the Intellectual Property (Roundel and word mark). You will need to submit your new design first to the MOA who will, in turn, submit it to the BMW Clubs International Council for final approval. Assuming you follow the guidelines accurately approval should be prompt.
7. What about all the merchandise (tee shirts, hats, patches, etc.) we may have that is now non-compliant? Do we have to dispose of it now?
No. The agreement with BMW states that clubs have until 1 January 2012 to deplete current inventory. However, you should not restock prior to approval of your new logo design.
8. What is meant by the term "commercial purpose"? Can our sponsors, such as for a Rally, advertise that they are sponsoring the event? Can they on their website publish this? What is meant by "club related activities"?
The clubs are granted a royalty-free use of the word mark and Roundel to benefit you as a club. Any reasonable club activity that benefits your club and your members would be considered a club related activity. If you have an event, you can partner with a commercial organization for the benefit of club members, but club members only. In other words – if a company sponsors your event, they can advertise that fact to your members and you can promote them for being a supporter. For example, they could print banners or ads with your logo with “BMW” and the Roundel if it were aimed primarily at your members. However, they cannot go into the open market of non-members (local newspaper, TV, etc.) and use any of the BMW properties to promote themselves generally IF they use your logo with “BMW” or the Roundel.
9. What do we have to do to not create the impression we are acting for BMW?
The short answer is to continue to act and identify yourselves as a club, so you probably won’t have to do anything differently than you have been doing. That’s why the word “Club” must be in the first line of the new logo. However, some clubs have a short disclaimer they use on their web site, newsletter, or event registrations which reads something like this:
“The XYZ BMW Motorcycle Club is a recognized independent enthusiasts BMW club but in no way represents either BMW AG or BMW North America.”
10. We do not use the word mark or Roundel in our name or logo – do we still need to adopt this new logo format?
To be a Chartered Club with any BMW umbrella club you need to have a new CI logo on file. This provides you with the approved logo to use in those cases where you want to use the word mark BMW or the Roundel (website, newsletter, merchandise, etc.). It is our belief this can be a great marketing tool for your club.
11. Our club isn’t formally organized, isn’t incorporated, and doesn’t even have a logo. How do we adapt to these new requirements?
You do need to have a logo in the new format with your club’s name, but you can use any graphic of your choice as the “signet” (excepting the BMW Roundel). There are many public domain graphics available you can use. These might have a motorcycle theme, or represent something distinctive about your geographic area. Also, the BMW MOA has a new “MOA Chartered Club” logo you are welcome to use at the signet. In some cases you may be able to insert your name in to our template design which based on the Chartered Club logo, or the MOA can do this for you. Just contact our Chartered Club Coordinator for more assistance.
12. Can we use our name or logo outside this new format if they do not use the “BMW” word mark or Roundel?
Yes. The new usage rules require you to have a logo that does identify you as a BMW club and govern the use of BMW’s corporate identity. How you use your club’s name and logo – provided they don’t include BMW’s properties – is up to you. BMW recognizes that each club is an independent organization.
13. We are chartered with the BMW MOA but are based outside the U.S. Do we go through the MOA for this process?
No. Every country has a recognized umbrella club which is the responsible organization. For example, if you are based in Canada you will need to contact BMW Clubs Canada.
14. We are chartered with both the BMW MOA and the BMW RA. Which umbrella club do we work with?
By mutual agreement between the BMW MOA and BMW RA, dual-chartered clubs are asked to work through the MOA. We will provide the RA with a copy of your approved CI logo and keep them informed of the status of your application.
15. Tell me again whom I contact with questions or to submit our new logo?
Your first contact should be with our Chartered Club Coordinator: Paul Mulhern, firstname.lastname@example.org, 210-279-6074. The primary contact in the MOA Office is Beth Cooper, email@example.com, 636-394-7277. However, please work through Paul whenever possible. Note that Paul is a volunteer and will respond in a timely fashion, but may not always be able to do so immediately.
16. What help documents are available and where do we get them?
On the BMW MOA web site (www.bmwmoa.org) is a section with these files:
1. Creating the new Logo (short how-to example).
2. The Design Guidelines (full set of examples of usage).
3. The two official BMW TrueType fonts for your computer for the text in your CI logo.
4. Copies of the correct Roundel artwork for your logo.
5. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher “templates” you can edit to more easily create your new logo.
6. A copy of the new MOA Chartered Club logo (can be used as your signet if you prefer, or anywhere for your club web site or publications).
17. What if in the future we change our name, logo, or want to change our CI logo?
You are free to do that at any time as long as the changes conform to the CI requirements. Just contact our Chartered Club Coordinator who will submit your new CI logo and update our club database.
18. How is the BMW MOA adopting to these changes?
We have removed the “BMW” from our classic logo, leaving the wording “Motorcycle Owners of America” and are using that as the signet in our CI logo. We will use our new CI logo in all appropriate places to identify ourselves as an official BMW club and get the marketing advantage of the BMW brand name. However, we will also refer to ourselves as “The MOA” and/or use our newly modified classic logo independently when they work better for a particular purpose.