Bear Grylls, what a guy. He takes Barack Obama on minibreaks in the wilds of Alaska, holds dinner parties 25,000 feet up a mountain and parachutes here there and everywhere. He’s also Chief Scout, heading up an organisation with 400,000 young people as its members.
And counting. Because Scouts is popular. In fact, Scouting is so popular, they need more volunteers so they can run more groups.
They came to us with this challenge, a long-term strategy (‘skills for life’ – the things young people learn at Scouts that they can call on as they grow up) and a sparky new design by NotonSunday. But they needed the tone to tie it all together.
Because when they put pen to paper, they were writing ‘skills for life’ everywhere, and relying on words like ‘motivation’ and ‘determination’ to put their pitch across. They’d started to sound like a CV and the tone jarred with the bright pops of colour in their rebrand.
Simply swapping lofty words like ‘resilience’ for more everyday phrases like ‘try, try again’, writing about down-to-earth things (‘jump in… get muddy’) and real places (‘a patch of tarmac’) makes a big difference. And paired with more surprising photos – in cities, for example, rather than up mountains – shows a different side to Scouts.
We put all this together in a guideline for volunteers (nearly everyone who runs Scouts is one). A lot of which was about making volunteering less daunting to newcomers: you don’t have to know how to use a compass, or give up lots of time, to get involved. You don’t even have to be Bear Grylls (he’s got that covered). Putting out chairs once a month is just as useful as putting up tents.
And Scouts have been quicker to put the tone into action than most big organisations. Local groups have taken it on, and the organisation ran a national wordy campaign with Clear Channel to attract volunteers.
Better than that, more volunteer leaders are already signing up. We’ve been helping them behind the scenes too, explaining their plans to recruit more volunteers: a presentation about the future of volunteering, given by volunteers, to volunteers, to get more volunteers. That’s Scouts.
+ Worked out their tone of voice.
+ Showed Scouts how to write about ‘skills for life’.
+ Wrote a tone of voice guide that was easy for volunteers to pick up and use.
+ Helped them set out and explain their volunteering strategy (to 100,000 volunteers).
WHAT WE DIDN’T DO
+ The ‘skills for life’ strategy. Scouts had already written that.
+ The design. NotOnSunday did that.
"CHAMPIONS ALL. WE SET OUT AT THE START OF THIS PROJECT WITH
HIGH HOPES AND YOU'VE SMASHED IT."
SCOUTS HEAD OF CREATIVE