Dogs Trust is a wonderful charity that helps educate folks that “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas®.” They live and breathe their brand promise to “never put a healthy dog down.”
Founded in 1891 (wow), Dogs Trust has over 600,000 members and supporters. Like many charities, they traditionally communicate with their base mostly through direct mail and a lot of the messaging is around fundraising. They’re a client of my last agency, but mostly I follow them because I sponsor a smiling pup called Smudge.
About a year ago, they hired Alex Goldstein to be web editor. In her presentation last night she told us that the marketing department didn’t have big spreadsheets and endless PowerPoint strategy decks proving the ROI of new media. But Alex and her boss, Jacqui Darlow, did have the conviction that their brand needed to be where their audience was. And more and more that is the social spaces of the web. So they tried a Facebook app and built from there. My admiration comes from how they have brilliantly and instinctively use multiple 2.0 platforms — mostly unpaid or earned spaces — to talk with the different segments of their community, like their young supporters on Bebo. It is classic listen and learn from the very people you are trying to reach.
Our own David Jones detailed how to assemble a Social Media Team in his talk. The heart of it needs to be the Community Manager, who is human, not a message machine. That’s Alex. Responsive and helpful and a personable face for a brand that’s already warm and cuddly.
Last year, Dogs Trust looked after over 16,000 dogs through a network of 17 Rehoming Centres. Since they started tweeting, they have rehomed three lucky dogs via the twitterverse. Those pups would consider that awesome ROI, don’t you think?