Connection 6


Protesters holding signs ” Shame on Komen!”

Susan G. Komen and Generating New Buzz

Susan G. Komen’s “Race for the Cure” is the nations largest breast cancer advocacy organization and the pink ribbon has made it one of the most recognizable brands in the United States.  About a year ago the Susan G. Komen for the Cure campaign made the decision to cease all funding for Planned Parenthood.  Unfortunately, the decision is one that caused unexpected upheaval and many people lost respect for the popular campaign. The campaign has been trying to recover from the loss of supporters.  It is evident that the organization is going to have to take a new approach to rebuild the brand and the positive reputation they had.

In the article“ How Susan G. Komen Can Cure Its Reputation” author Casey Welton offers several suggestions as to how to rebuild their reputation.  One of the suggestions she offers is to remind people what Susan G. Komen is all about.   By backing out of Planned Parenthood, Komen found itself in the middle of a political firestorm that shifted the conversation away from what the organization’s mission is and what it’s accomplished. She explains that in order to move forward the organization will have to clearly define itself, and communicate that it is more than just a fundraiser.

I believe that author Casey Welton is exactly right, and hits the nail on the head with communicating that is more than just a fundraiser. I also think this is where a P.R professional would be extremely useful in helping the Susan G. Komen foundation get back on its feet. It does seem like the mission has been lost, and a good PR professional should be able to make the brand even stronger than its original state. I think it is important the foundation beware of the mistakes that were made, but then re-group, and rebuild.

In Chapter 17 of  “The Practice of Public Relations”, Sietel says that “ beyond advertising, marketing and public relations techniques, integrated marketing, too, must keep pace with ever changing world of promotional innovations to help sell products and services. Among hem them are television brand integration, infomercials, world-of mouth- marketing, television and movie product placement, and more.”

It seems as though Integrated Marketing would be a wise step for Susan G. Komen foundation to take in rebuilding their name. The fastest growing category of all advertising is of course, social media. There needs to be a new “buzz” about Susan G. Komen and social media is one of the best ways to get this buzz going. Television brand integration and infomercial would also be a way for the pink ribbon to come back, but with a new “look” to it. Although social media and television are most likely the most effective ways to rebuild a name, the world of mouth should not be under estimated.

“Buzz” marketing, or marketing by word of mouth may seem more traditional. It certainly is, but it seems as though many people are saying negative things about the Susan G. Komen foundation and the dialogue around Susan G. Komen needs a fresh voice.

The Susan G. Komen foundation has touched many lives and the mission of the organization was lost due to the decision to stop supporting Planned Parenthood. No foundation is perfect, and mistakes are going to be made. A PR professional has the unique privilege and challenge of having the power to generate or regenerate a fresh buzz. It is my hope that Susan G. Komen foundation will be able to successfully rebuild their reputation and continues to change lives for the good.

Works Cited

“How Susan G. Komen Can Cure Its Reputation.” PR News. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2013. <;.

“Susan G. Komen Executives: More Resignations.” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 June 2013. <;. (image)

Seitel, Fraser P. The Practice of Public Relations. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River. New Jersey 07458: Prentice Hall


One thought on “Connection 6

  1. Although I think it is wrong that people are straying away from Susan G. Komen because of their stance on planned parenthood, I do agree with you that they need a change. The way the Susan G. Komen organization prospered was by relating to peoples emotions, and by creating a brand image that was catchy and easy to remember. I think both of these things should be focused on while revamping their marketing techniques.

    In my opinion, an ad campaign may be one of the most effective things they could do. By running ads that would remind people what the organization is all about, they could begin to rebuild their image. Their mission is also a strength. Breast cancer is a terrible illness that effects many people, so it should not be hard for them to regain support. I really hope the Susan G. Komen foundation can get things going again because I really do think they are a true non-profit organization that is working towards a good cause.

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