The Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia discovered a problem - too many girls wanted to be Girl Scouts. However, not enough women wanted to be troop leaders. In the world of today’s Girl Scouts, cookies and camping didn’t cut it anymore — they wanted cool. But the lack of troop leaders was leaving thousands of wanna-be scouts out of the in-crowd. How do you bring together hip adult women and the girls who need mentors within an organization considered old-fashioned and old school? DeeleyTrimble/MS&L developed a non-traditional campaign designed to recruit today’s ideal troop leaders. The efforts enabled the Girls Scouts to attain targeted exposure, resulting in a flood of calls from qualified candidates and the creation of many new troops.
The Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia had a 40% turnover rate of new/replaced leaders equaling approximately 2,500 leaders annually. The demand for leaders was far greater than the supply, therefore, many troops were being disbanded or never initiated. The shortage of leaders was attributed to lifestyle conflicts with lack of time being the #1 reason for resigning rates. Typically, the choice for leaders had been mothers of existing Girl Scouts leaving the resource of single professional women virtually untapped.
Research identified an opportunity to exploit this group of professional women as a new source for leaders. Focus groups held with 18-34-year-old, single, career-oriented women showed this group was ideal because typically they had the time, their jobs were not yet as demanding and they would perceive the opportunity to lead as a way to grow their organizational skills in addition to parenting skills. The women questioned were career minded, socially conscious, independent, original and diverse. Interviews with former and existing leaders and Girl Scout staff supported the decision to target this new group of women.
DeeleyTrimble/MS&L partnered with WestWayne Inc. to organize a multi-disciplined group, which included creative, researchers, strategists, media planners, production experts and others to develop a comprehensive communications plan. While planning the campaign, DeeleyTrimble/MS&L maintained a focus on the traditional leader group and expanded their focus to attract this newly identified group of “non-traditional” woman. To achieve the goal of attracting new leaders, the following strategies were incorporated:
- Continue existing marketing communications programs to attract traditional leaders
- Augment existing programs with new, innovative programs
- Target “non-traditional” leaders with a multi-media campaign
- Develop funding to sustain the program for three years
- Leverage the national Girl Scout tagline campaign
To make the campaign a success, the media utilized guerrilla advertising with cost-efficient media over a six-week time period providing frequency and hitting the target audiences in relevant environments and mindsets. To target the “non-traditional” women, the campaign began invading coffee shops, book shops, pet stores, restaurants, church bulletin boards, retail outlets, crafts stores, salons and office lobbies with attention-grabbing posters (originally 20”x30” and 18”x 24”- 5 versions).
The posters, provided in unexpected environments, were visual reinforcement for the non-traditional radio ads running on popular stations. The radio spots were most effective in reaching the younger end of the target and allowed for value-added opportunities, such as radio remotes, public service announcements and on-air interviews (radio spot not included). Both the posters and radio ads encouraged young women to call a 1-800 number, or visit a Girl Scout Web site.
New recruitment materials were produced to support the campaign including 5½”x 8½” brochure. Onsite troop appearances were enhanced using 4’ x 6’ banners and 2’ x 3’ easel signs (not included) as well as revamped traditional handout/leave behind materials (includes a 4” x 6” card, 5½ “ x 7” fold-out brochure, 4” x 8½” brochure and 8½” x 12½” newsletter).
The Girl Scout Rebranding Initiative was kicked off 7/24/00. As of 11/2/00:
56% of total calls/applications (811) attributed radio, TV, or newspaper ads as reason for applying
43% of these calls resulted in leadership commitments
This resulted in: 200 troops saved (1 leader needed) — OR — 100 new troops organized (2 leaders needed) impacting: 2,000 girls (established troops) — OR — 1,000 girls (new troops)
The Girl Scout Rebranding Initiative was picked up and covered by the local and national media including the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Business Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, (the cover of Marketplace), Advertising Age, PRWeek, “Good Day Atlanta” — WAGA Fox 5, CNN, and Paul Harvey — News and Comments, all touting the campaign’s positive impact and success. Online coverage includes two media hits on the Internet (AOL’s Family News Page and MSNBC’s e-mail site).
In November The Today Show contacted the Girl Scouts for the purpose of developing a segment about this campaign. Bob Dodson was the correspondent interviewing Karlenne Trimble for two days in Atlanta for the segment that aired on December 26, 2000.