As the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their 100th anniversary this year, they serve as an interesting case study for brand's adapting, or trying to adapt, to meet the changing needs of their audience. Facing a continuous drop in membership (only 2.8 million members as of 2009), the Boy Scouts of America are making small strides in embracing their consumer target ' digitally connected boys ' with the introduction of a new Video Game badge.
Before you start a campfire of concern, I should caveat that the achievement itself isn't technically a badge ' it is awarded as a 'belt loop'? or 'pin'? ' and it isn't for defeating Radec to conquer Killzone 2. To get the Video Games Belt Loop, Cub Scouts must explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games, create (and follow) a schedule that balances playing games with homework and chores, and learn to play any new video game that is approved by a parent, guardian, or teacher. To earn the Video Games Academics Pin (for boys up to fifth grade), Scouts must complete five of the following requirements:
- With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
- Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
- Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
- Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
- List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
- Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
- Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
- Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer's warranty.
- With an adult's supervision, install a gaming system.
So while core principles of the organization - think camping, tying knots or soap box derbys ' remain core to the Boy Scouts missions, the organization is trying to stay relevant with their audience. Relevancy is paramount to a brand's success. We're all aware that brands must adapt over time in order to stay relevant with their audience and to ultimately remain successful. Recently, we've seen Gatorade introduce their new 3-part G Series of products and Starbucks extend their brand into the instant, at-home marketplace. With 100 years of brand history at stake, is this latest effort by the Scouts enough to 'power-up'? their membership numbers and help make the Boy Scouts relevant again?