Guide Dog Class Lecture: Marketing and Communications
At Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), getting the word out about our free services and the good work of our alumni, staff, and volunteers is of utmost importance. It is the job of our internal marketing team to spread the word about our mission, provide spokespeople to the media on a variety of topics, and highlight powerful stories featuring members of the GDB community. Exposure in the media helps boost our fundraising efforts, supports our volunteer recruitment programs, and helps us to reach people who could benefit from our services. Our marketing team is responsible for a variety of other communications tools that help us share our stories: our website, podcast, promotional videos, social media channels, and literature, such as brochures and newsletters.
During class, you will be asked to sign a media release form. This form gives GDB the ability to use your likeness in our marketing efforts, and gives you the ability to opt out if you’re not comfortable. This applies to any photographs that might be taken of you while in class, including the formal portraits on your graduation day as well as with your puppy raiser. GDB’s use of class photos for marketing purposes is minimal, but it does happen on occasion.
While at GDB your primary focus will always be on your training. Occasionally, the marketing team may wish to take photos or video of people during class. If this happens to occur during your class, it will be your option to participate or not. There is no obligation for any of our students to be involved with marketing or public relations efforts. Any interaction will be expertly coordinated between GDB’s marketing team and your class supervisor, minimizing any impact on the class schedule.
Personal Media Outreach
We understand that getting a guide dog or receiving OMI services from GDB is very exciting, and you may feel as though you’d like to reach out to the media on your own when you return home to share your experiences. Participating in media stories (print, television, radio, or online) can be wonderful tools for raising awareness of blindness, sharing the power of our mission, and helping attract new clients and supporters. We want to help you represent GDB in the best possible light and determine if/when these opportunities are appropriate. When you are presented with an advertising or media opportunity, prior to committing to or proceeding with the request, please contact GDB’s Marketing Department at [email protected] for approval and assistance. We will work with you to determine if the opportunity is a good fit for our brand, as well as help to coordinate/provide assets (ad copy, photos, logos, etc.), as appropriate. Please note: Representation of Guide Dogs for the Blind, including its intellectual property (photos/video of its dogs, puppies, and people; as well as any version of its logo – including on equipment like harnesses), is not allowed for commercial use or personal gain, without written permission.
Bringing Media Inquiries to You
On occasion, our marketing team will be approached by media who would like to do a feature story in their local area or on a national level. We receive hundreds of media requests every year, from all over the United States and Canada – and sometimes even further abroad! In those instances, our marketing team will reach out to alumni in the specific area or with specific experiences to determine if there is interest in participation. Rest assured that GDB will never provide your personal contact information to the media without contacting you for permission first. We love to amplify these media stories sharing them via our various communication outlets – such as our blog, or various newsletters.
Leveraging Your Network
Think of creative ways and places where you can get the word out about your new partnership and skills in your home area: your college, fraternal organization, and employer or social club newsletters are all great sources to consider. As noted above, please contact GDB’s marketing team for access to resources. Also, consider inviting your contacts to watch the live stream or recap of your graduation on GDB’s YouTube Channel.
If you are personally asked by members of your community, a fraternal organization, group or school to give presentations about your experiences with GDB, please contact us to receive talking points and other materials like videos that can be tailored for audiences of all ages.
Connect with Us!
GDB has many different ways to stay in touch with our community:
Alumni News: A newsletter solely for GDB alumni. It contains detailed training updates and matters of specific interest to graduates of our program.
- Guide Dog News: A quarterly newsletter that contains news of general interest about the organization.
- Tales Unleashed: Guide Dogs for the Blind's monthly e-newsletter, sharing great news and stories from the GDB community.
- GDB’s blog, No Bones About It
- GDB's podcast, Central Bark
You can also find us on your favorite social media platforms!
- Facebook: facebook.com/guidedogsfortheblind
- Instagram: @gdb_official
- TikTok: @gdb_official
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/guide-dogs-for-the-blind
- YouTube: youtube.com/user/guidedogsaregreat
If you wish to submit items for consideration in one or more of our publications or channels, please contact our marketing team. We appreciate your willingness to share your enthusiasm about your experience with Guide Dogs for the Blind with the general public and especially with people who might benefit from our services. Thank you!
You can stream the audio of the class lecture here, via a Soundcloud widget. If using a screen reader, please select the "Play" option below.