Marketing “across the pond”

Marketing “across the pond”

I was recently given the opportunity to go to London with some friends and Scouting colleagues to visit Gilwell Park, the location of the original training ground of Scouting leaders by Scouting founder Lieutenant-General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell.

“The Wood Badge is a Scouting program and award for adults in the Scout associations around the world. The Wood Badge course is designed so that adult Scouters can learn; in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting,” according to the Scout Association, the founding organization of the Scouting movement.

Gilwell Park has special significance for those of us who are Wood Badge trained. In his Boy Scouts of America Scouting Magazine blog, senior editor Bryan Wendell commented, “This is a Scouting landmark, as significant to Wood Badge history as Independence Hall is to the history of the United States.”

This Gilwell Reunion was also the annual meeting of The Scout Association. So, it was a very busy weekend for the U.K. Scouters. They were very gracious hosts, and many of the staff took time out of their schedules to meet with us. I was especially impressed that with as much going on – including the Scout Association’s annual meeting – that CEO Matt Hyde and national Commissioner Tim Kidd spent at least an hour with us to discuss the Scout Association and would check in on us from time to time. We also heard topics about community impact, U.K. Scouting today, heritage service, the Pears project, plans for the Gilwell Centenary (100th anniversary), international Scouting, and program delivery.

The Scout Association has recently undergone rebranding. Even though this was a vacation for me, as someone in the marketing business, I found this interesting. Other than the businesses with whom I work or through the Agency Management Institute, it’s unusual that I get a look into the inner workings of the rebranding of others.

The plan for the Scouting Association to prepare for a better future has been named “Skills for Life” which is similar to their American cousin’s “Prepared for Life.” We were afforded a glimpse into a five-year plan they’ve developed that includes a mission statement, a values statement, a vision for 2023, and the plan that includes goals for growth, inclusivity, how the plan will be youth shaped, and community impact. They’ve developed three pillars of work to support their movement: program, people, and perception. I was given a 20-page brochure of their plan and its goals. They’re using their plan to make sure that all the work they do fits within the vision they’ve developed.

The Scout Association has also rebranded. Focus groups were used in planning and changing the brand. They worked on a new brand positioning, a new logo, and a new visual identity. They were very open about the reaction and comments about the changes. As we all know that change is difficult, it was nice to hear both the good and the bad comments.

They’ve created a branding guide for their members to explain the changes. The last logo that was created in the early 2000s and was not optimized for social media use. Their new logo is identifiable at any size whereas the old logo was impossible to read if used for a social media profile.

The rollout of the new plan and branding started in May of this year. They’re taking it one step at the time to make sure it goes smoothly and according to plan.

This was a great vacation for me. I was able to see where Scouting started, and I was able to get an inside glimpse of marketing into an organization in which I have great interest. I can’t wait for the 100th anniversary of Gilwell Park next year!

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