Unlocking Paws-abilities through
Membership and trade association professionals are struggling to manage members’ escalating expectations.
Members increasingly demand additional benefits beyond training, certification and discounts. And, they want their association to support them in raising their profile in the communities they serve.
So, what is an association to do?
This was the challenge that the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the only organization that accredits veterinary practices in the United States and Canada, faced in early 2019.
Recognizing that this trend in member expectations created a future liability, AAHA proactively sought out ways to deliver added value to members while raising its members’ profiles – all on a shoestring budget.
To satisfy its membership and its Board of Directors (which wanted to see the organization try new and innovate ways to reach out to the broader pet owner community), AAHA approached SE2 for ideas on how it could efficiently and effectively create additional member benefits while getting the word out about the value of AAHA-accredited practices and they high-quality care its veterinary practices provide.
Recognizing the popularity of pet content on social media, and the power of word-of-mouth has at driving referrals to service providers, SE2 recommended a national influencer outreach strategy – a first for AAHA’s marketing and communications team.
As one of the only agencies in the country that exclusively employs influencer outreach for causes and issues, we tapped our national network of influencers to participate in a campaign we titled Paws-abilities.
This concept reinforced AAHA’s key messages and provided influencers with a new and novel way to create content featuring their pet and the AAHA brand. Additionally, while close to 80 percent of veterinary practices aren’t accredited by AAHA, the organization’s own research showed that pet owners assume that their favorite/preferred practice is accredited. Because of this, the Paws-abilities concept also challenged pet owners to find out if their current care provider has AAHA accreditation.
The campaign engaged close to three dozen high-profile pet influencers across North America. These influencers produced photos, blogs and even videos featuring AAHA key messaging. Some even took up our offer to visit their local AAHA-accredited clinic for a tour, which they then talked about in their posts. Many of the influencer posts received additional paid promotion to extend the reach of the campaign.
The influencers produced over 60 pieces of original AAHA-themed content. Each piece of content generated an average of 28,000 impressions and a significant number of likes, comments and shares per post.
In total, the campaign generated nearly 70,000 engagements from pet owners – many of whom expressed surprise and shock that they had never considered whether their preferred practice is accredited – achieving our campaign objective of highlighting the importance of quality pet care provided by AAHA-accredited practices.
Over 1,000 pet owners went a step further and visited the campaign landing page to find an accredited practice in their community. While there, they also spent nearly one and a half minutes on the landing page learning more about pet care and AAHA’s benefits to pets and their owners.
Lastly, the influencer campaign generated dozens of new pieces of content that the organization is repurposing for other marketing activities – such as including these influencer stories in annual reports, resharing this content on its owned social media channels, and including these stories in its newsletter. All of which help AAHA eek additional value of this campaign.
And, AAHA’s board and members raved about the campaign – fulfilling the objective of delivering added member benefits and promoting local practices. Because of the campaign’s success, AAHA is exploring the paws-ability of investing in additional influencer outreach campaigns in the future and making influencer marketing a dedicated component of its marketing mix.