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FireStone

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Agree it’s very frustrating the positive YPT message and procedures don’t get out as often as we would like.  They are referenced sometimes in pretty complete form, depending on the news source.  I think the BSA probably puts out the positive message and is very complete in it’s answers, but it’s likely the news outlet chooses not to print it.  Hearing about how effective the BSA is- often way in front of other youth serving organizations, churches, etc. is not the scandalous news they are looking for.  Not terribly fair and balanced.  

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Nobody wins law suits by admitting that things are better now.

Worse, statistically the guy's kid is at greater risk at home -- even before factoring in that the kid is living with an abuse victim with trust issues.

What's next? Vetting parents and relatives?

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2 hours ago, Setonfan said:

Not terribly fair and balanced.  

I thought it was fair.  The article clearly identified the abuse as having occurred many years ago.  Not a recent case. 

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11 hours ago, FireStone said:

More to the point, I'm again absolutely frustrated with the notion that the BSA is still operating in the same way it was years ago. We've come so far and done so much when it comes to YPT. Our YPT program is far ahead of what many other youth organizations, sports programs, etc., have in place. And yet the public perception is that we're a haven for pedophiles. 

The BSA may have to face these lawsuits and possibly settle them or pay out when they lose. But the thing that baffles me is why they are also losing the PR battle in this when it comes to the modern day BSA and current YP. Why is it not even mentioned in these articles? Where are the BSA representatives to respond to comments when asked for these articles, the people who can and should point to this extensive training program and vetting process that is exactly what victims like the gentleman quoted above are asking for? 

If the BSA goes under, it's not because the BSA loses a lawsuit, it's because they lost the PR battle of public perception and failed to inform the public about what we're doing now to protect scouts. 

Fully concur.  There are countless examples of more proactive marketing than the BSA does.  It's like we're not even trying.

If I were the BSA leadership, I'd be looking for every opportunity to get  our message out there.  We need to be making the case that for youth protection, there's no better champion than the BSA.

I'd even consider taking 75% of the money we spend on executive salaries and hiring one really good PR person.  Pay that person 2 million dollars a year if you have to - but we've got to change the conversation here.

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

I thought it was fair.  The article clearly identified the abuse as having occurred many years ago.  Not a recent case. 

They identify that it's not a recent case, but coupled with the quote I referenced in the original post from an abuse victim implying that kids today aren't safe in the BSA, the take-away for the uninformed public is going to be that today's BSA is the same as yesterday's, where abuse runs rampant.

If the BSA can't get ahead of this and drive the message that what we're doing today is miles ahead of what we were doing decades ago and that instances abuse have been drastically reduced, that we're a safer organization focused extensively on youth protection, then the lawsuits almost don't even matter. The future of the BSA is bleak (and short) if today's parents are only getting the message that the BSA is dangerous and chock-full of pedophiles.

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11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Fully concur.  There are countless examples of more proactive marketing than the BSA does.  It's like we're not even trying.

If I were the BSA leadership, I'd be looking for every opportunity to get  our message out there.  We need to be making the case that for youth protection, there's no better champion than the BSA.

This is something that boggles myself and my colleagues minds. I had the opportunity to ask one of the ACSE something similar to this. The answer I got was that National likes to rely on the local councils to do their own marketing and PR.  

Personally, I think that's a huge mistake. GSUSA kicks our butts in terms of national marking. They have TV commercials and a sweet deal with Dunkin Donuts. The best local councils can do is maybe a few paid Facebook posts. Some larger councils are rich enough to have a marketing staff, but that's the exception, not the rule. 

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8 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

This is something that boggles myself and my colleagues minds. I had the opportunity to ask one of the ACSE something similar to this. The answer I got was that National likes to rely on the local councils to do their own marketing and PR.  

Personally, I think that's a huge mistake. GSUSA kicks our butts in terms of national marking. They have TV commercials and a sweet deal with Dunkin Donuts. The best local councils can do is maybe a few paid Facebook posts. Some larger councils are rich enough to have a marketing staff, but that's the exception, not the rule. 

When it comes to marketing for recruitment, I'm not all that opposed to leaving a lot of it in the hands of local councils and units. It would be nice to see the occasional regional or national TV spot, but I think a big part of recruitment is local appeal and local messaging.

But in terms of the abuse cases, the lawsuits, and that we're front-page national news on a somewhat regular basis now, and abuse victims are making these suggestions that today's BSA is the same as yesterday's, ignoring all of the YPT training we go through, that's PR nightmare that the BSA absolutely should be fighting back on. It's massively damaging, and their lack of a loud and clear response to it is going to doom the organization.

With all of that in mind, maybe they should be investing in the development of a national marketing message around YPT and how much safer the BSA is now. They can't just ignore this, obviously it's getting out of hand based on what the public is reading in these articles.

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4 hours ago, qwazse said:

Nobody wins law suits by admitting that things are better now.

I don't think anyone expects them to win these lawsuits. Getting the message out that things are better now allows the BSA the opportunity to see future recovery/growth after the lawsuits. We need membership, and if the public perception is that the BSA is enabling continued abuse, no one will put their kids into the program.

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Posted (edited)

Here is the link to the "Official Newsroom of the BSA"

https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/

A summary of their activity for 2019:

Articles/News releases:  7 (one addressed bullying and one discussed child abuse prevention)

Blog posts:  0 (the last was from July 2018, about STEM)

Frankly, a very weak effort.

True, the BSA publishes human interest stuff on social media, but it's mostly for internal consumption (merit badges, the best kind of flashlight, etc.)

Two possibilities:

1.  The BSA is sinking faster than we think, and folks at National are so focused on getting a seat in the lifeboat they are neglecting their duty. ("It's quiet, too quiet....")

2.  National is profoundly detached from reality.

Edited by desertrat77
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Their social media accounts aren't much better. They're on Twitter maybe 2 times per month lately. It's definitely too quiet.

Almost seems like they're not responding to all of this bad PR because they don't have anyone to respond to it. The overall picture of BSA marketing and social media seems to be that no one is at the controls.

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

implying that kids today aren't safe in the BSA

It's true.  Kids today are not as safe as many parents expect.  The parent in the article says that he would not even allow his kid to sleep over at a friends house.  A scout unit could never achieve the level of safety that he wants.  

 

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A marketing campaign right now could have unexpected backlash.  Just a few random thoughts from a regular guy:

- If the BSA spent a bunch of money on TV or radio advertising, people might question why that money wasn't put away to compensate victims.  People might include a bankruptcy judge?

- If the BSA took on a big marketing campaign, lawyers might suggest the BSA is trying to cover up past issues to reduce the impact of judgments.

- If the BSA took on a big social media campaign, the people who'd like to see the BSA disappear will start shouting at them to shut up and heap more abuse on the organization.

- If the BSA starts touting its current YPT program as justification for continued existence, the organization's enemies only need to find one person to claim they were abused in 2018 or 2019 to blow the claims out of the water.

I know it's not, or don't think it is, a criminal case, at least not yet, but "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law" might be sound advice to heed. Certainly anything the BSA says right now can be twisted.

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

When it comes to marketing for recruitment, I'm not all that opposed to leaving a lot of it in the hands of local councils and units. It would be nice to see the occasional regional or national TV spot, but I think a big part of recruitment is local appeal and local messaging.

While I agree in part, the effectiveness of marketing is multi-layered 1) Brand Awareness in general 2) Regional general brand awareness 3) Locally focused brand awareness and acceptance.  It would take a concerted effort to layer this and being about a good brand awareness for the BSA

Take for example our good friends at say Mercedes Benz.

  1. For the Brand awareness in general there are the commercials for the cars, what you can get, nice looking people enjoying the car, etc
  2. For the regional for example they sponsor sports stadiums, golf tournaments, get their name mentioned not specifically in a car commercial
  3. For local the area dealership will have an ad that tells you where you can get the MB and how that will change your life, and maybe Karen who lives in local community will do a testimonial 

Now could BSA do something similar

  1. National develops ads that develop the brand; Fun, Outdoors, Leadership, Adventure etc etc (Scout out doing things)
  2. At the regional level you talk about specific camps and adventure opportunities in the area
  3. Locally you highlight councils and even specific units in areas and what they are doing

Honestly see all the marketing folks at councils and national, I assume they are marketing to get donations so they can keep their jobs, not sure what else they may doing.

Question for the professionals and volunteers is - Do we raise money to have Scouting - OR - Do we have Scouting so we can raise money??  It's all about perspective

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