More Than Cookie Sellers: The Girl Scouts Buff Their Image

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The Girl Scouts are buffing their image, and they want you to know there’s more to them than just cookies.

As the respected organization is about to celebrate its 105th anniversary, membership numbers are slipping, especially among middle-school girls. To counter any perception that scouting is out of date, the Girl Scouts are introducing a new marketing campaign that highlights their GIRL initiative — it stands for go-getters, innovators, risk takers and leaders — to better define what it has to offer.

“We are trying to galvanize our conversation with girls and let them know we are the premier leadership organization for them,” says Sylvia Acevedo, the interim chief executive of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

The new approach includes a peppy contemporary Girl Scout anthem, a public service announcement highlighting the kinds of roles that girls might take on, a digital fund-raising effort targeting small donors and a national gathering to expose more people to the organization.

As part of their new marketing campaign, the Girl Scouts issued the “I’m Prepared… to Lead Like a Girl Scout” PSA that is now airing nationwide. The 30-second spot, in which girls — none of whom are in scouting uniforms — try a variety of activities including playing the guitar and skateboarding, is also on the Girl Scout YouTube channel, its website and its social media accounts.

While Girl Scouts promote the idea that girls should enroll from kindergarten through high school, some in the organization promote flexibility. Janet Frasier, chief executive of the Girl Scouts of Utah, said the branding overhaul emphasized the scouts’ “brand essence, which helps us connect more with girls.”


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