Thursday, June 6, 2013

Komen Suffers For Its Blunder

How do you wreck a beloved brand?  Just look at Susan G. Komen Foundation For the Cure (Breast Cancer) and remember what a well-known brand they had.  From pink ribbons to breast cancer walks and gala events, corporate and individual sponsors were happy to give to such a worthy cause.  The "Race for the Cure" was catchy and easy to promote.

 Fast forward to January 2012 when Komen foolishly bowed to social conservatives and announced they would "defund" Planned Parenthood because of the highly political abortion issue during the last Presidential race.  The Breast Cancer Foundation decided not to pay for screening mammograms for poor women through Planned Parenthood.

The backlash was rapid, strong and widespread on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  The Komen board of directors reversed their decision within a few days.  Two top executives at Komen Foundation resigned and apologies were rendered.  But that wasn't enough to keep the brand that women loved from becoming an ugly testament to politics and money.

Now Komen has canceled charity walks in seven cities in 2013 and 2014 that failed to meet fundraising goals.  These were previously top revenue sources for the breast cancer charity and drew the most dedicated supporters, many who also support Planned Parenthood.

Many are asking why CEO Nancy Brinker is still at the top of this organization.  Months after the controversy,  Brinker's handling of the situation became a case study in how not to manage a crisis. A press release said that Brinker "plans to move to a new management role focusing on revenue creation, strategy and global growth...when the search for a new senior executive has been completed."  (What doublespeak!  I thought that was the role of the CEO,  but never mind)

That was 10 months ago.  Oh and by the way...she got a 64% pay raise this year.

So maybe it's the economy and financial uncertainty that is affecting Susan G. Komen Foundation.  Of course, the fact that Avon's Breast Cancer walks are proceeding would suggest that the Planned Parenthood debacle is still haunting the organization.  This should be a warning to politicians and organizations everywhere that women will rise up and defend what they believe in.  Social networking brings a new awareness and bonding to the Community of Women.  (my caps!)


Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Well done, Dr. B.

Deborah said...

Komen was successful in "branding" themselves as an organization that spent its money trying to "cure" breast cancer. But this was not the case.

Besides the CEO's ridiculously high salary and the Planned Parenthood fiasco, Komen spent only 17% of the millions they brought in for research and most of that was not for basic research - i.e. understanding of the natural history of breast cancer and how to prevent it. Instead they succeeded in "assuring" women that mammograms were absolute for detection of early disease which then translates to "curing" cancer. Unfortunately new data shows that mammograms miss 20-25% of cancers and some tumors such as low grade DCIS might never go on to become invasive- but since little monies have focused on this, many women may be getting treatments they never even needed. hat's a real blunder.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more. For me personally I could never support this organization now. I see pink ribbons and I turn away. Such a shame they let their ideology get in the way of women's health.

Dr. Paula said...

Powerful lesson about mixing politics with medicine and loosing focus of what is really important. Do not mess with the "Community of Women". Well said Dr. Brayer!

Tick Paralysis

 We spotted a Coyote in our backyard, laying near some outdoor lawn chairs.  When we approached she did not jump up and run, as would be...