‘Something for the girls’ – How the Girlguiding Brand Stays Fresh

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Published on

June 14, 2017
Time to read: 3 minutes

At Hook Research, we’re always on the lookout for brands that inspire us. From engaging with audiences in new and exciting ways, to promoting positive, ethical messages – we think these brands are worth taking a look at! This week, we’re looking at Girlguiding – particularly exploring how an older brand continues to reinvent itself for a modern audience.

Girlguiding were once known as a Christian organisation, with stiff uniforms and strict guidelines. Yet the charity – now dubbed the ‘ultimate feminist organisation’ – has had its roots firmly in activism and empowerment from its inception in 1909, “with a small handful of girls who gate crashed the first ever Scout rally, demanding ‘something for the girls’”.

At Hook, we’re constantly using our unique 4D Methodology to explore how children’s media is responding to the need for greater equality between genders and empowerment for girls. As an organisation that has continually kept up with the changing roles of women, we’re fascinated by Girlguiding’s constant brand evolution.

Instead of staying stuck in previous decades, Girlguiding are committed to growing and changing with the girls and young women they support. This evolution of the Guides’ brand is a brilliant example of how to stay fresh and relevant in the youth landscape – putting its members at the heart of its brand.

How Girlguiding are Making Change and Staying Relevant

Girlguiding makes clear in their guides for volunteers that, as an organisation, they aspire to “Be open to all girls”. Part of this evolution has meant moving away from their historically Christian image, to a model accepting of all faiths.

To this extent, Girlguiding caused controversy back in 2013 when they decided to drop ‘love my God’ – replacing the line with ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’ – as the result of a nationwide consultation on what their Promise means to modern members.

Beyong this secular movement, Girlguiding has also embraced positive change in other aspects of girls’ lives. In 2008, they began conducting the annual Girls Attitude Survey to gain a broader understanding of the issues affecting girls each year. The group uses these findings to raise awareness amongst the public and government and ensure the organisation stays up to date with the needs of girls in the UK.

Additionally, in 2015 Girlguiding launched their Girls Matter campaign during the general election, with a view to “change and improve girls’ and young women’s lives” – which they’ve been doing ever since. Some of their landmark achievements include putting the spotlight on sexual harassment in schools, resulting in a government plan to eradicate the issue, and securing compulsory Sex and Relationship Education.

Girlguiding - Hook

Why #BadgeGoals are shaping the future of Girlguiding

This forward-looking approach has even influenced the most iconic aspect of Girlguiding: their badges. The group have a history of changing their badges to reflect the developing goals, roles and interests of girls and women in society.

To that extent, the charity is currently asking for members and the public to share their views on current badges, and they are seeking suggestions for new badges and activities that reflect a 21st century attitude to Girlguiding.

Using the hashtag #badgegoals, girls and women can submit their ideas through social media. So far, some suggestions include vlogging, recyclable fashion, protesting, survival skills, self-care and app design.

The results of this campaign will be announced in summer 2018, when the new programme will be rolled out and girls can embark on new activities based on these suggestions.

It’s important that today’s big brands keep up with the evolving needs of their members (or consumers). Girlguiding has come a long way since the days of the ‘needlewoman’, but then again, so have the girls that make up its membership!

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