Chairman's Report

August 2013

-- Two Ways to Share the AKC Story this September --  

New York, NY – The omnipresent effort of the AKC communication team, led by Chris Walker, continues to generate positive stories about the American Kennel Club and purebred dogs in the news media and in social media. Due to the engaging content the team has been posting on Facebook, we reached 3,056,116 people, generated enormous buzz with 111,133 people talking about AKC last week, and gained 28,355 new likes for a total of 650,691.

Considering the efforts started in March with just 100,000 likes and only 4000 people talking about AKC, our circle of friends and supporters are expanding at an amazingly rapid pace. Perhaps the most interesting sign of positive change comes from the support we are receiving from news sources either not customarily friendly to us, or those that just traditionally ignored us. While we have recently generated positive news stories in media that usually support us (like the Wall Street Journal), we have recently enjoyed positive stories from new venues, like BuzzFeed (the news source for 18-34 year olds, which has 7 million unique viewers monthly) and the seminal feminist publication Ms. Magazine.

Next month I will share our communications plan for expanding the public understanding and appreciation for our dogs, our breeders, and our sports.

September brings two content-rich opportunities to tell those stories. The first is Responsible Dog Ownership Days (RDOD), throughout September. We are expecting some 650 AKC clubs to hold their own RDOD community event that publicly promotes responsible dog ownership. These events will include a Meet the Breeds to help people determine the right breed for them; health clinics and dog First Aid training; Canine Good Citizen program information; Obedience/Rally/Agility/Performance demonstrations; breed rescue information; and kid-friendly dog-related activities.

The AKC will be hosting its own RDOD event in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. This flagship event will highlight the AKC programs and services that support responsible dog ownership. It will also publicize to news media and the dog loving community that events are being held across the country by organizations such as yours.

The second event is the AKC Meet the Breeds - the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats - in New York City on September 28-29. The event offers the public the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with over 200 breeds of dogs and cats; to talk with responsible breeders and owners about these amazing animals; and determine the right breed for their lifestyle.

Throughout September, AKC Communications will continue telling our story using RDOD events throughout the country and the AKC Meet the Breeds event in New York. I am confident that their efforts will continue to win new friends for the AKC, purebred dogs, responsible breeders, and our sports.

But we can do more. And that “we” is you and I, and our club members. I encourage everyone to join our communication team in September to help spread the word about responsible ownership of the dogs we all love. Beyond club RDOD events, we have the opportunity this September to tell our story one-on-one, both in-person and in social media. Consider the list of topics for an RDOD event I mentioned earlier, choose what you are comfortable discussing, and unleash the conversation this way:

SPEAK OUT
Speak to your friends, your associates, your professional organizations, or people you meet while walking your dog. Although you might not ever know if your words made a specific difference, you should know this is how public opinion is shaped – one conversation at a time.

POST ON FACEBOOK
If you are on Facebook, take a page from brand marketers and use it as the communication tool it really is. Post something on one of the topics every day. You can also share the AKC’s RDO Facebook posts with your friends as a way to magnify the message. 

TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, AND VINE
If those names have meaning to you, then you have additional social media tools to share our incredible story with the rest of the dog-loving world. If they don’t, this is the perfect time to try one out.

CONNECT TO AKC
You can extend your reach by connecting your Facebook page to AKC, following our Twitter feed, and by receiving and sharing our blog – AKC Dog Lovers.

What can you achieve by doing this?

We have 50,000 club members today. If just half of them are on Facebook with an average of 100 friends, that’s 2.5 million people learning about dogs, training, sports, health, and the AKC every day for 30 days. Now add in all the other touch points and our potential to influence public opinion becomes a reality.

Margaret Mead must have been thinking of all of you and everyone else involved in dogs when she wrote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I look forward to reading your contributions to changing the world starting this September. As always, your comments are most welcome at atk@akc.org.

Sincerely,


Alan Kalter
Chairman