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1 hour ago, vol_scouter said:

Someone above noted that national coverage is on abuse, lawsuits, trademark issues, etc. while local Scouting events garner much more positive press

My council has been pushing to local media Scouting through COVID and the female Eagles. All well and good. But there is 0 on social media. Instead they are touting a short article at the bottom of the local paper and a 1 minute clip on local nightly news.

Those demographics skew insanely old.

Local nightly news audience is shrinking other than boomers (55+) who are watching more than ever.  Young people (you know, the people with scout-age kids) are just not tuning in.

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The shrinking local TV news audience is less a function of fewer 18 to 34-year-old viewers than it is a loss of 35 to 54-year-old viewers.

Ditto local newspapers.

So when I heard a district executive brag about the thing they got in the local paper I think to myself "Great! Grandpa will be so proud!"

But you want to get parents onboard? Or scouts? They are NOT reading page 1 7 of the local paper.

And as for online and social media, my council's website hasn't be refreshed/rebuilt in 10 years. No one knows how to use it and the "Solution" is for one of the board member's recent college grad son to work on it at night after his day job on a volunteer basis.

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What is legally right is not always morally right.

I would encourage everyone to not ask @ThenNow to rehash particular circumstances. They can be found by patiently browsing his posts. From what I read, they were far from legal. His claim would have b

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5 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

And as for online and social media, my council's website hasn't be refreshed/rebuilt in 10 years. No one knows how to use it and the "Solution" is for one of the board member's recent college grad son to work on it at night after his day job on a volunteer basis.

You're an excellent, insightful and compelling writer. Perhaps you can spearhead the effort. Just a thought. Not many groups have someone with your capabilities. 

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42 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

suspect that these sorts of issues are why the BSA has always had a very weak PR presence

Sorta.

While there are a host of reasons why BSA National had a weak PR presence prior to January 2020 I can tell you the big reason since has likely been the lawyers telling National leadership to keep quiet.

Why they did a lousy job prior is anyone's guess.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

PR strategy that takes historic bad acts and lawsuits and turns them into a positive message.  

You're dreaming.  There is no way to turn the child sexual abuse scandal into a positive message.  

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13 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Sorta.

While there are a host of reasons why BSA National had a weak PR presence prior to January 2020 I can tell you the big reason since has likely been the lawyers telling National leadership to keep quiet.

Why they did a lousy job prior is anyone's guess.

The reason is the enormous cost and the difficulty to get national outlets to publish positive stories about the BSA.  Even on the new girl Eagles, often the story includes some sort of aside to it taking too long or damaging the GSUSA.  Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, there were many stories about Scouting that national outlets did not pick up.  

Paid PR has been too expensive with many other forces acting on the BSA.  So the result has been less PR and fewer positive stories getting to the public.

I agree with you, that the local boards and national boards want to use media and stories that would appeal to them rather than Scout age youth and their parents.  Most councils have a social media presence but it is often underused.

 

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2 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Our Council has a Facebook (updated semi-regular), Youtube (dormant for 9 years) and Twitter (dormant for 2+).

So your council is present :) !  It is human nature to put things into a context appealing to ourselves but we must all be cognizant of our desired audience and appeal to them where it is most likely to be seen.

Our council will have a council wide flag retirement event this year that will appeal to our longstanding volunteers and donors.  We will also have some nature trail/greenway events that will appeal to Scout age youth and their parents.  We anticipate good local exposure for both.  It is all about targeting the group that you want and delivering the message to that group.

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

Sorta.

While there are a host of reasons why BSA National had a weak PR presence prior to January 2020 I can tell you the big reason since has likely been the lawyers telling National leadership to keep quiet.

Why they did a lousy job prior is anyone's guess.

 

1 hour ago, David CO said:

You're dreaming.  There is no way to turn the child sexual abuse scandal into a positive message.  

Uncle - I give up.  

To me, this is a big part of the reason the BSA is in decline.  It's always easier to take the safe road.  It takes some vision for the BSA to define itself for 2021 and beyond.  This is probably why the BSA doesn't have a stronger PR organization because we lack that willingness to have a vision and lead here.

  

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2 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

 

To me, this is a big part of the reason the BSA is in decline.  It takes some vision for the BSA to define itself for 2021 and beyond.  This is probably why the BSA doesn't have a stronger PR organization because we lack that willingness to have a vision and lead here.

  

What will it define itself as?  Every time BSA has tried to redefine the scouting program, it has suffered a membership loss.  

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14 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

It's always easier to take the safe road

Here's a good indicator:

1) If your "road" includes disregarding the advice of your legal counsel in the middle of a major bankruptcy involving the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. (second only perhaps to the Catholic abuse scandal with an estimated 100,000 victims) and putting out a major PR campaign, it is a bad road.

2) If your "road" involves as @David CO put it trying to "turn the child sexual abuse scandal into a positive message." it is a bad road

There is nothing wrong with "vision" and "leadership". But right this exact moment, now, February 25, 2021 is NOT THE TIME to be trying as you advocated for to start a "war" against plaintiffs counsel, to get BSA "ally" with 95,000 who have active, pending claims against BSA, or to do ANYTHING publicly other than focus on getting through a bankruptcy process before BSA runs out of cash in July or August.

There is a time and a place for everything.

What I have been told + rumors is that BSA WILL do a PR blitz and WILL do rebranding and WILL do a "Re-emergence" effort ONCE THE BANKRUPTCY IS FINAL.

The hope is the May Annual Meeting will be announcement. But for right now, this is NOT the time.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, David CO said:

What will it define itself as?  Every time BSA has tried to redefine the scouting program, it has suffered a membership loss.  

This is chicken and egg:

1) BSA is losing members, therefore rebrands.

2) The rebranding doesn't work, so they try another.

The fact is that ALL such and similar youth programs are suffering for years. If this was JUST a BSA thing, then why is GSUSA membership in decline as well? Youth sports have been in freefall for years.

Read Bowling Alone.

Some of this is just simply outside BSA's control. It is society that is changing. Kids are slack and dormant.

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Legal and PR teams are almost always in conflict. Good leadership knows how to weigh the advice of both because it has a bigger job than staying out of court. It has to also ensure the long term success of the organization and that generally includes retaining as much public good will and trust as it can, especially in the face of a crisis. You can't always do that by listening to lawyers because sometimes good legal advice is bad business advice. The ongoing damage to BSA's reputation is almost fatal and needs to countered. The abuse scandal has paralyzed the organization in a way that it can't see any path forward, but there are some.

To clarify a point, you do not wage war on victims. You also do not wage war on the attorneys, because that is same as waging war on the victims. You wage war in the court of public opinion to protect your reputation. Program aspects are the positive narrative we can control and promote, but we don't. A blue ribbon million dollar PR consultant would be great -- BSA has been in need of one for decades -- but the most effective PR is just based on common sense communications and coordinated information sharing. It is a natural by product of good leadership.

Someone mentioned that surrogates would be useful but then correctly noted we don't have any, at least not in the traditional sense. We're too fractured and too radioactive to recruit any. As someone else noted, though, we do have surrogates at the Council and local levels who have been trying on their own to counter the tidal waves of negative news. This is where BSA has failed to provide any real leadership, direction, or resources. None of that is overly expensive, it is again just basic communication and common sense and most of it would fall well outside of any legal concerns. Another way to look at surrogates is to partner with other organizations doing positive things relative to what you do. There are proactive messages that could be sent that would if not repair at least stem some of this damage but almost nothing is being done. The Girl Eagle Scouts event was good but far too anemic and a one off. 

My last criticism of BSA leadership, and specifically Mosby, is the lack of internal communication to the troops throughout this crisis. He took the helm of an embattled organization, yet it took weeks if not months for the rank and file scouter to hear one word of reassurance or inspiration from the new leader. There is an important internal component to good public relations that starts with an organization's own employees or volunteers. These people, if treated well, are usually sympathetic to your cause and are your first army on the ground. In order for them to act as grass roots surrogates, however, they need to be kept informed and motivated. There's no legal excuse to hide behind here. It's pretty simple for a leader to at least issue motivational statements to his team and only once or twice over this long year has he done so.

 

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24 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Here's a good indicator:

1) If your "road" includes disregarding the advice of your legal counsel in the middle of a major bankruptcy involving the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. (second only perhaps to the Catholic abuse scandal with an estimated 100,000 victims) and putting out a major PR campaign, it is a bad road.

2) If your "road" involves as @David CO put it trying to "turn the child sexual abuse scandal into a positive message." it is a bad road

There is nothing wrong with "vision" and "leadership". But right this exact moment, now, February 25, 2021 is NOT THE TIME to be trying as you advocated for to start a "war" against plaintiffs counsel, to get BSA "ally" with 95,000 who have active, pending claims against BSA, or to do ANYTHING publicly other than focus on getting through a bankruptcy process before BSA runs out of cash in July or August.

There is a time and a place for everything.

What I have been told + rumors is that BSA WILL do a PR blitz and WILL do rebranding and WILL do a "Re-emergence" effort ONCE THE BANKRUPTCY IS FINAL.

The hope is the May Annual Meeting will be announcement. But for right now, this is NOT the time.

 

 

I don't think ParkMan advocated "war" , that was me. And my use of the word "war" was not aimed at attorneys or victims but as staking out a battlefield in the realm of public opinion. We have ceded too much ground to negative coverage. The program aspect of scouting is a deep mine of positive stories, yet we do almost nothing in a coordinated or institutional way to promote any of it. That's where the war needs to be waged. If we wait until the bankruptcy is final, we will be too late. We will be swamped by another wave of negative publicity -- because there is no good publicity that is going to come out of that -- that we may never recover from.  We've got to rethink the way we present the organization. 

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6 minutes ago, yknot said:

it has a bigger job than staying out of court.

Yep. And since BSA is already IN COURT, the answer is to not make your case involving 95,000 claims of sexual abuse any worse.

But sure, let's have Mosby as you said go to "War". That will just solve EVERYTHING.

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Just now, CynicalScouter said:

Yep. And since BSA is already IN COURT, the answer is to not make your case involving 95,000 claims of sexual abuse any worse.

But sure, let's have Mosby as you said go to "War". That will just solve EVERYTHING.

Embattled organizations that survive crises fight for their lives in the court of public opinion. The fear of making things worse is what is paralyzing the leadership. It's going to paralyze itself into nonexistence. If BSA does not start laying some groundwork to counter all the negative publicity, it won't matter what the bankruptcy judge leaves it with. 

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