Boy Scout of America Brand Analysis
Company branding is extremely important whether it is a private or nonprofit entity. For a company to stand out from its competitors, they must carefully craft a solid brand and marketing campaign to reach their intended audience. For a nonprofit company, it is not only imperative, but vital to its survival that their brand stand out. Relying on donations, fundraising, and grants, a company must stand out as a leader to gain the attention and funds necessary for survival. If the brand fails to gain an audience, the nonprofit company is at risk of closure. A successful brand and marketing plan can be illustrated by the Boy Scouts of America. Their organization was founded in the United States over one hundred years ago. As an example of success, this paper will analyze their purpose, their brand and marketing plan, marketing guidelines, how they communicate their brand, rules regarding their brand identity, benefits of the plan, disadvantages of the plan, and any changes that could be made for improvement.
Boy Scouts of America and Purpose
Boy Scouts of America (BSA hereafter) was founded in 1910 as a youth organization for boys. Today they have 2.4 million registered participants and over one million volunteers (About Us, n.d.). There are a wide range of age divisions within the BSA based on age. They range from Cub Scouts for the youngest boys, Scouts BSA for young teenagers, and Sea Scouting and Venturing crew for teenagers through young adults (About Us, n.d.).
Each division, though separate, are all connected by the same set mission statement, “prepared for life,” (About Us, n.d.). The goals within the organization, and for their members, all focus on demonstrating the mission statement. The numerous activities members participate in support of the mission statement center on character development, outdoor skills, education programs, self-reliance, and for the older members, career education.
BSA Brand and Marketing Plan
The BSA brand has been carefully constructed over the years. The tan shirt and neckerchief have long been considered a badge of honor and can be considered the most recognizable uniform due to a well-planned marketing strategy. BSA is cognizant of the recognition the uniform receives and is diligent in their marketing to ensure not only their members, but also the public, know what the BSA mission statement is (BSA Brand Identity; Telling the Scouting Story, n.d.).
Through a specific brand campaign, the BSA has been able to reach millions of people in the United States. The persuasive marketing campaign they employ positively effects recruitment and retention (Marketing, n.d.). A very specific time table is used to guide troops and councils through the recruitment process (Marketing, n.d.). The marketing campaign material that is distributed to the councils and troop leaders guides them through how to successfully plan their marketing strategy. The BSA marketing guide addresses the numerous ways to reach their targeted audience through various forms of media (Marketing n.d.). It also addresses how to specifically use persuasive marketing methods to market for the various divisions of the BSA.
As part of the persuasive marketing campaign focuses on their brand position, personality, and communication elements. This, in effect, creates a marketing theme for the BSA to follow as recruitment and retention tools. “The beauty of the theme is its simplicity and directness,” (Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide, n.d.). The focus for the brand position emphasizes, “single mindedness, endurance, timelessness, differentiation [how the BSA stands out from others], and staking out territory,” (Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide, n.d.). The brand personality focuses on, “trustworthiness, adventurousness, patriotism, and faith,” (Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide, n.d.). Communication elements focuses on, “adventure, leadership, learning, and service,” (Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide, n.d.). By defining the above listed characteristics that the brand represents, it is easy to use those characteristics to teach members the BSA expectations and then have them reciprocate the characteristics to members of the public. By doing this, the public has an acute awareness of what the BSA brand is and how it is defined.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) brand ideals to support generations of youths can be demonstrated through this statement, “Prepared. For Life. ® is the culmination of the effort that goes into delivering on the brand promise, vision, and mission” (Corporate Brand, n.d., para. 8). This overall message is then enforced to better propagate or deliver their brand through guidelines. According to the authors Laidler-Kylande and Stenzel (2013), “A strong brand image often combines an instantly recognizable visual image with a clear understanding of what the organization is, does, and stands for.” (p. 72). These visual images and understanding of the brand are found within their advertising in general in a variety of places through the scout uniform, social media, and photography. Each of these mediums have guidelines to better promote their brand and put it to the forefront visually.
Boy Scouts of America has their image and reputation of familiarity and trust with their scout uniform. Amongst the different badges on the uniform the common factor is the “visual language” to follow the guidelines of trust through the various colors (Overview, n.d., para. 3). This visual language is shared by the digital guidelines with the color palette used for creating fliers and photography. The photography guidelines are put in place to create and inspire an active visual representation of Scouting to gravitate potential scouts to the brand and the BSA itself. This visual language does not stop there but continues with other advertisement brand strategies for online use.
Social media guidelines were created to aid others in advertising and more specifically for the protection of youths while communicating on social media. These social media guidelines for youth safety is listed to create a positive, safe, and productive environment. More to the point the guidelines mention to treat others with kindness, for private information to be kept as such by knowing what is put on the internet remains, and by those in leadership to recognize they are part of the BSA brand therefore they should conduct themselves as a representation of the organization (BSA Social Media Guidelines, n.d.).
Boy Scouts of America in its entirety is trying to convey a fun atmosphere through opportunities for growth and to have tools to better navigate their life. For BSA to create a fun interactive environment for youths they must be doing the following, “Promoting the use of brand guidelines and principles rather than enforcing strict brand controls... When the brand is aligned with the mission, values, and strategy, it creates clear parameters for how to talk about and use the brand” (Laidler-Kylande & Stenzel, 2013, p. 91). Once the brand has guidelines that are set in place a strong foundation in both internal and external factors should be considered for better understanding and communication.
For any organization to understand their brand identity and to communicate that message to others, actors, or stakeholders there are certain foundations and fundamental understandings that need to be considered internally before any external factors are considered. Similar to other organizations Boy Scouts of America know the two concepts that lay the foundation to better communicate their brand and these are; “concepts of differentiation and positioning are key tenets of strategic marketing and essential precursors to effective brand management… Positioning is how you communicate that differentiation to create the desired perception, or brand image, relative to other players, in the minds of the target audiences” (Laidler-Kylande & Stenzel, 2013, p. 37). Nonprofits need to know their advantages and disadvantages that separates them from other organizations. This is a differentiation that makes them unique and positions them above their competitors (Laidler-Kylande & Stenzel, 2013, p. 38). This provides potential participants like scouts or their parents to view their services as the most beneficial for them or their loved ones.
In this modern age it is a truth that technology advances every day, to reach these potential participants communication via social media is on the rise. “External audiences are increasingly relying on information that comes from their own experience or from other individuals via social networks rather than from the organization directly” (p. 73). Boy Scouts of America understands this as a reality in today’s time and offers recruitment for scouts through local schools for current scout members to communicate the brand, share their experience, and to present them to the program. Within social media BSA has used the #sharescouting hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to start and continue a dialogue about their services, organization, and to recruit by uniting the world from computer to real-life (Recruitment Archives, n.d.).
Brand Identity Rules
The corporation that is the Boy Scouts of America has very clear and concise rules about how their brand is to be presented. On the website page, BSA Brand Identity, a full overview of these rules is available with pictures of all materials that are trademarked, copyrighted, or registered with the U.S. patent office. These include the brand’s logo, corporate signature, activity graphic, and tagline. On the website, specific examples are shown as to how you may present these and how they may be altered and not altered.
By having these regulations in place and readily available, the Boy Scouts of America have a brand that is instantly recognizable and consistent across the country. In 2016 there was a reported 2.3 million members in the Boy Scouts of America (Thoet, 2017). A corporation this size benefits from having strict regulations or guidelines on identity usage simply for the fact that with so many members spread across such a large geographic area it is important to have consistency and easy brand recognition.
Brand Plan Benefits
The Boy Scouts of America have done an excellent job in protecting their identity/brand so that throughout the country anyone involved or associated with them will be instantly recognizable. They also provide this information on how to properly use their identity so that it’s members can properly display the logos, graphics, taglines, etc. By allowing all their members this information they make sure that their brand is protected from copying or duplication attempts while also creating uniformity across a very large group that spreads across the country.
As stated above, the biggest asset to the Boy Scouts of America is their brand recognition. In states and cities across the country these groups can instantly be recognized while in uniform. By having this uniformity throughout its advertising, uniforms, operating procedures, etc. it allows the small groups to be equal and to come together with the same training and experiences.
Brand Plan Disadvantages
Suggested Brand Plan Changes
About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.scouting.org/about/
Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from
BSA Brand Identity; Telling the Scouting Story. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://scoutingwire.org/bsa- brand-center/brand-identity/brand-identity/overview/
BSA Social Media Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Corporate Brand. (n.d.) Retrieved from
Laidler-Kylande, N., & Stenzel, J. S. (2013). The Brand IDEA : Managing Nonprofit Brands
with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Marketing. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Recruitment Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.scouting.org/tag/recruitment/
Thoet, A. (2017, October 11). The Boy Scouts say they will now admit girls. Here's what that
means. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/boy-scouts-say-will-now-admit-girls-heres-means