Improving Perception - Some Tips
A great photo is worth a thousand words...
Photographs are a fantastic tool for creating and supporting media stories, however it is really important that they convey the right messages and show the adventure enjoyed by young people!
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The best photos show young people having fun, are action shots and if possible contain both boys and girls. We should avoid taking photographs which exclusive feature adults or focus on the old fashioned side of the Movement‟s activities (such as marching, flag waving, church services etc.) "Grip and grin" photos of presentations are also poor at showing the fun, challenge and friendship on offer!
If you would like additional support please contact the Marketing and Communications team who will be happy to provide photography for most events.
Websites don't need to be hard work!
A website can be a really useful method for communicating with young people and parents, promoting your Group and reaching a wider audience with your media stories. Some things to remember:
- Berkshire offers a free and easy to use website hosting, domain registration and content management package – for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- As an external facing resource, it is important the websites use the most recent branding materials and guidelines. For more information, see www.berkshirescouts.org.uk/brand
- An easy way to reduce the amount of work required in running a website is to limit content to key information utilising modern language and promoting an up-to-date, positive image of Scouting.
- Use photos showing young people having a great time, but try to avoid being time-specific. You can use a photo in context without saying when it was taken!
Shouting from the rooftops!
It is important to use the media to communicate positive messages about the adventures on offer to young people and adults. Being clear about why you want publicity is essential; are you recruiting young people, are you recruiting adults, are you encouraging the wider community to engage with you? The purpose for the publicity will influence the content.
All positive coverage needs one or more photographs to accompany it; these should clearly show some close up action shots of the activity to be eye-catching. This will then frame the rest of the article in an upbeat and positive tone. On the flip side, choosing a „grip and grin‟ awards presentation or line up at the end of a camp will not support your overall message. Having a selection of good images to support the story will give the media opportunity to choose between them, or even to include a range of them!
Potential adult volunteers are attracted to joining successful teams; we all enjoy being part of something valuable – so mentioning that a section will close down unless they join definitely isn‟t the right message! The same story can be phrased as: Group with many years of outstanding successes is looking for new volunteers to join an experienced and supportive team.
We should use young people to be the lead voice for Scouting. We are unique in our empowerment of young people and we should be proud of this. Using young people to communicate their own stories is essential and the media are usually very supportive in helping them to make the best of their time and messages.
Most communities have a number of public events, ranging from village fetes to town carnivals and these can be instrumental in promoting a positive and modern image of Scouting.
Changing outdated stereotypes to build a positive perception of Scouting is a vital activity for us all. Some of those include making our communities aware:
- that we still exist;
- that we are coeducational;
- that we are growing
- and that we are comfortable in challenging outdated stereotypes.
As well as portraying a positive image, you may want a local focus such as recruiting young people, expanding your volunteer team or engaging with other local organisations.
These slightly different approaches will shift what you want to show during your event; whether it‟s activities for young people, a drop in session for adults or a more proactive engagement for other audiences.
At any event and with any audience there are benefits to young people and adults appearing in casual activity wear rather than formal uniform. Whilst maintaining our identity, this encourages more people to approach and engage with us as a friendly and modern organisation within the community.