Council and National “Off the Shelf” Materials and Media and DIY Recruiting/Social Media (Be Brand Aware)

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about materials available from the National BSA websites, from the Atlanta Area Council, and from your own unit resources – because there are many ways to recruit.

The mother lode of BSA marketing materials is at Scoutingwire.org, in the Marketing and Membership (https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-membership/).scoutingwire

That includes not only resources for planning and producing an effective recruiting campaign, but also, in the BSA Brand Center (https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/), plenty of materials like fliers, logos, pictures, posters, social media images, videos, that you can use and share, including more items at https://scouting.webdamdb.com/bp/#/folder/4599099/.  Items like the fliers allow you to insert information about your troop that you want to promote as a “hook”.sign-up-now wire

The Atlanta Area Council has bulk ordered some of those resources (like some fliers), and to save you the printing, contact your District Professional, provide any content to fill the flier, and they can arrange the printing for you.

Some units use their own photos for fliers, because if people recognize the Scouts in action, they might be more attracted to the recruiting piece (compared to a generic photo) … of course, don’t use last names of youth on any pieces, and make sure that you have a release (which you do if you have a BSA health form signed).  A resource page on creating your own media for recruiting and other practical social media use for recruiting is at this District Website page.  That page is mostly Cub Scout recruiting, but the same concepts apply to troops.

social-media-playbookPlus, for social media, know that your Scouts can (and do) use their own social media, and can (and will) use it to reflect on Scouting – that can be a good thing, if what they share is consistent with the Scout Laws and is exciting and appealing to others who might want to join your troop.  And follow guidelines that apply at https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/social-media/social-media-guidelines/

The BSA also wants us to be aware of issues in using images, so see the Brand Identity page at https://scoutingwire.org/bsa-brand-center/brand-identity/ for more on that.

bsa-gsusa-infographic-sw-versionNow, for full disclosure, a recent addition to the BSA National Family Scouting site at https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/ as of December, 2018 is a PowerPoint called “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training”.  It is in part building on earlier advice about clarity in discussing our program, like a “Branding Dos and Don’ts” piece from November 2018 which confirmed ideas like:

  • never use the word “girl” before “Scouts.”  This includes fliers, in conversation, social media, etc.
  • Do say:
    • Join Troop 123 for girls.
    • Our church has a boy troop and is forming a girl troop.
    • Join the BSA.  Find a troop for girls near you at BeAScout.org.”
    • “… Don’t … use names, programs, marks, logos, or images of the GSUSA or combine them with those of the BSA.”

This is super good advice – and essential.  Those pieces are also in reaction to litigation with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).  The December PowerPoint slides show where some had messed up and used the word “girl” before “Scouts” in certain contexts.  So the December PowerPoint slides amplify and echo the advice about how we should never use the word “girl” before “Scouts” (did we mention that?  Don’t do that!).

flierAlso, the December PowerPoint slides on “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training” also says “Only use marketing materials located on the BSA Brand Center”, which appears to be intended as one way to solve that problem of using words in the wrong order.  Taken literally, the advice appears to prohibit using your own photos in recruiting materials, so … keep that in mind (even though there is no prior approval of photos for social media use) and toss your own attractive photos, or else (and this is the better advice for most) use thoughtful photos and videos per BSA social media guidelines.  After all, you will probably have photos and videos out there on social media too that effectively communicate who you are and what you do – and prospects will see people they know, and be more interested in your flier as a result – and those will be excellent recruiting tools, whether or on a flier or web banner format or on social media, often better than stock BSA pix or film clips from Follow Me Boys (which is not in the BSA Brand Center, by the way).  If you’re concerned about using your own pictures, run your flier or communication by your District Professional for review or approval.

flyerNote that the December PowerPoint slides on “Scouts BSA Brand Guidance Training” shows examples of materials with problems, and the problems were always with the words that would get added to those sorts of marketing materials.  That problem can happen on a flier or a yard sign or a text or an email or conversation, and you’ll certainly be using text, email and conversation, even if you don’t use BSA or DIY fliers or yard signs.  So, since a lot of BSA Brand Center invites you to add your own local information, using a BSA Brand Center flier doesn’t keep you from adding words in the wrong order – so using a BSA flier doesn’t solve that problem.  What does solve the problem?  Never use the word “girl” before “Scouts”.  Say “Scouts BSA troop for girls” or “troop of girls” or “hey girls” or “Scouts!”  Whether on a marketing flier, or an announcement at church, or in passing with a potential new family, or a text or an email or conversation.  Never use the word “girl” before “Scouts”.

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