Communications: Spreading the Word About AKC
By Lisa Peterson
Among AKC Communications’ duties is the coordination and promotion of flagship Responsible Dog Ownership Day events.
You may be home watching TV when all of sudden an AKC spokesperson appears on a program, or you may spot a quote in your local newspaper from a reputable breeder, or even hear on the radio a lively debate regarding canine legislation featuring a club legislative liaison.
All these scenarios are either created or influenced in some way by AKC Communications (sometimes called “public relations”). Our department handles both media relations and corporate communications to the public and the fancy.
Media relations involves providing information to journalists, such as offering AKC spokespersons or finding knowledgeable breeders and fanciers for television, radio, and print interviews; pitching reporters and producers story ideas; providing fact sheets and detailed information about AKC programs and services; and promoting the value of purebred dogs and AKC registration.
Corporate communications involves sending out press releases with news, announcements, and national event results, among other topics. Some of our communications are targeted to the mainstream media, and others are geared towards the fancy and the dedicated dog press. We are also responsible for the Press Center at www.akc.org.
What We Do
Here’s a brief overview of how the Communications department promotes the sport of purebred dogs and highlights AKC breeders.
- Writing and distributing press releases, fact sheets, and articles; Developing public service announcements on a variety of topics, such as how to find pick the right breed for your lifestyle; and creating DVD inserts for major motion pictures featuring purebred dogs as a way to promote responsible dog ownership.
- Generating more than 600 million impressions via media coverage in 2007, including much national publicity for our annual AKC registration-statistics announcement, which keeps the benefits and joys of purebred dog ownership and AKC registration at the forefront of people’s mind.
- Publicizing the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, including the prestigious Breeder of the Year award, Bred-by-Exhibitor competition, and AKC Meet the Breeds, as well as the AKC Agility Invitational and the AKC National Obedience Invitational.
- Coordinating AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day with flagship events in New York City and Raleigh, and promoting the more than 360 clubs and organizations nationwide that join us in the annual celebration.
- Overseeing Club Communications with its quarterly AKCommunicates! e-newsletter; working with AKC-member and -licensed clubs to develop club PR strategies; providing resources such as the “PR Tips and Tools” binder; and offering coaching to club members and breeders before they appear on television or are interviewed for a news story.
- Developing informational pamphlets such as “AKC Inspects,” touting the advantages of an AKC-registered dog and the AKC Compliance division, and why consumers should demand AKC papers.
Passion for Purebreds
On a personal note, as one of the AKC spokespersons I can tap into my experiences of the past two decades as a breeder, exhibitor, and club member to promote AKC in the media. I have felt the joy of whelping a litter of purebred puppies, seen the benefits of microchipping the family pet, and experienced the value of AKC programs, such as earning titles and passing the Canine Good Citizen® test. Communicating this passion, whether its promoting responsible dog ownership, responding to anti-dog legislation or highlighting AKC registration of 157 beautiful breeds, is what our department is all about.
Lisa Peterson, AKC director of Club Communications and an owner-breeder-handler of Norwegian Elkhounds for 25 years, writes the monthly advice column “Ask AKC” for the Your AKC e-newsletter.