In the fall of 2017, BSA made a landmark decision when it announced it would welcome girls to join the Cub Scouts. For the first time in the organization's 108-year history, girls would be welcomed the join the iconic character-building program for kids Kindergarten through 5th grade.
This decision was met with controversy. Stories of inclusion are powerful, but they tend to bring out the most vocal supporters and skeptics. BSA's announcement was no exception. BSA members, volunteers and non-Scouting families nationwide welcomed this inclusive move, but detractors fomented confusion about the decision, pointing to declining membership and general skepticism about the motivation behind the change. It was in this polarized climate that BSA partnered with Golin to launch Family Scouting in 2018. Our job was twofold.
After the initial announcement, Scouters and non-Scouters alike understood the "what" but they were missing the "why" and the "how." Our strategy was to do less talking and more showing: BE, SHOW, TELL.
BE – Leading up to official registration, it was important to equip BSA's 960,000 volunteers and 2.2 million youth members with details about why this is happening. BSA developed an Early Adopter program to welcome girls before broader enrollment to tangibly show leaders/volunteers how the program would work.
SHOW – BSA created positive momentum by telling stories about the first girls in the Cub Scouts with national and local media stories across the country, helping shift perception to positivity and excitement.
TELL – When it came time to open enrollment, we wanted to ensure families see the full story of this decision and be excited to join this new adventure. We needed to do all of this in the authentic voice of the Cub Scouts by focusing on the perspective of actual kids.
The cornerstone of this launch was a social first video featuring real-life Cub Scouts welcoming girls and highlighting their favorite things about Cub Scouts, which we embodied in our campaign, "Welcome to the Cub." This approach turned polarization on its head since kids, in their own words, showed that Cub Scouts is great for all kids.
BSA shared the video on social to rally existing Scouting families, Early Adopters and alums to maximize the reach and impact. Since launching, the video has become one of the most successful pieces of content on BSA's channels with millions of views, likes and engagements.
The "Welcome to the Cub" video was used to not only to drive awareness around the news, but also to helped drive new sign ups of Cub Scouts and get potential scouts and parents excited about the announcement.
To help reach that new audience and push the BSA message past its current base, we partnered with Upworthy to introduce a co-branded video and two articles showcasing the campaign to create buzz around the launch, disseminate any negative news about the announcement and spread positivity surrounding the announcement.
Tactically, we needed to share critical information with parents about how they could get involved and where they could go to seek additional information or sign up for Cub Scouting in their local communities. Historically, this has been a pen to paper process with no digital sign up forms. In an effort to nurture the community aspect of BSA and 'Join Nights' while reaching families where they already are, we included a national paid search buy, lead generation ads targeting top 20 councils with the greatest growth potential, and promoting 2,500 custom Facebook events highlighting local events where parents could register their kids.
This approach helped us to not replace the communal aspect of BSA 'Join Nights' - but strengthen them even more and drive more parents and kids to the 'Join Nights' than ever.
We surpassed all established goals and 2017 results by a landslide.
We generated new leads and drove awareness to local recruiting events through a massive targeted paid social/digital effort. This included a national paid search buy, lead gen ads targeting top 20 councils with the greatest growth potential, and promoting thousands of custom Facebook events highlighting local events where people could register.
Our lead campaign was so strong we increased our 2018 recruitment goal three times, surpassing it by 24% and more than tripling 2017's total - 62,134 in 2018 vs. 20,080 in 2017 – and increasing recruitment by 15%.
Beyond leads, we saw similarly impressive results for content reach, engagement, video views, and sentiment. We also drove important local engagement and attendance of thousands of Cub Scouts Join Nights where parents could take their kids to learn more about BSA or register, driving more than 6,000 RSVPs to more than 2,500 hyper-local Facebook Events, targeted to a 5-mile radius within the venue location.
This effort allowed BSA to share critical logistical information with on-the-go parents detailing how they could get involved and where they could go to seek additional information or sign up for Cub Scouting in their individual communities, on channels that they were already in.
To date, there are more than 77,000 girls registered in the Cub Scouts.
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