Gini Dietrich

Komen In PR Mess Because of Planned Parenthood Decision

By: Gini Dietrich | February 2, 2012 | 
190

I was thinking I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon and talk about this, but it’s so disgusting to me, it has to be said.

What the heck is wrong with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

On one side is the charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which says it has raised $1.9 billion worldwide for breast cancer since it was created 30 years ago. Nancy Brinker started the foundation after Susan Komen, her sister, died of breast cancer.

On the other is Planned Parenthood, the 90-year-old organization that operates nearly 800 health centers nationwide. It bills itself as “America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care.” Among its many services are breast cancer screening, contraceptives, and abortions.

Planned Parenthood says it performed 750,000 breast exams and breast care procedures in 2010, the latest year for which information is available. The organization says it has done four million breast exams in the past five years — 170,000 of them funded by Komen.

Not About Politics

The decision was “not about politics,” a Komen statement insisted.

The truth is Komen founder Nancy Brinker has strong Republican ties and Cecile Richards, who leads Planned Parenthood, is daughter of late Texas Gov. Ann Richards and has longtime Democratic Party ties. Also worth noting: This is an election year.

But it’s not about politics.

So Why the Cutoff?

Komen says it was forced to make the move by a new policy that prevents it from giving grant money to groups that are under investigation. In this case, the focus is a congressional inquiry launched last fall by Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, who is looking into whether Planned Parenthood is using federal money to fund abortions.

Planned Parenthood and its allies say Komen is simply bowing to the demands of anti-abortion-rights activists.

What Does this Have to Do with PR?

Just like the PR crisis Komen got themselves into when they partnered with KFC (yes, the fried chicken fast food restaurant) for breast cancer awareness, they’ve put themselves in the middle of another scandal with this move.

Even if it’s true they don’t give funds to organizations under investigation, and not because they’re “bowing to the demands of anti-abortion-rights activists,” they clearly did not think this one through.

Since this decision was made on Tuesday, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and even LinkedIn have been on fire with friends, colleagues, peers, and acquaintances saying they’re going to put their money somewhere else this year.

Komen has faced a massive social media backlash, with angry people flocking to its message boards and Facebook wall to announce that they will no longer donate to the breast cancer charity.

Many commenters on Facebook have complained Komen is scrubbing some of the more negative comments from its wall so they’re headed to Nancy Brinker’s wall instead.

In fact, a friend of mine posted a comment on her wall and took a screen grab of it, wondering aloud how long it would stay on the wall.

Turns out, not very long. It’s not there today.

The PR Lesson

We’re all going to screw up. We’re all going to have to make unpopular decisions. We may even make a very large number of people upset.

But deleting comments from your social media networks is not the way to build positive sentiment and rebuild trust.

You no longer are in control of your message or your brand. Truth be told, you never were in control; you just had the perception of being so because you couldn’t hear what your customers were telling others.

But now you can. And it’s time to not only monitor, but listen.

And not just listen, but really pay attention to what people are saying.

Perhaps there is a real and valid reason Komen has pulled their funding from Planned Parenthood. It really shouldn’t matter if it’s politicially driven or not.

What matters is they’re sticking their heads in the sand and pretending no one is upset by the decision by deleting the negative comments from their Facebook wall.

People are going to have a voice. Now they’ll start their own Facebook groups and blogs and discussion boards and Komen won’t have the opportunity to have a voice in the matter.

Wouldn’t you rather them have their say on your wall than somewhere else?

Only time will tell if it hurts the Komen funding (Planned Parenthood says they’ve had a spike in donations). For now, their days are totally screwed up because of the PR storm they created for themselves.

Thanks, Jeff Esposito, for convincing me to change the image.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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190 Comments on "Komen In PR Mess Because of Planned Parenthood Decision"

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ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@susanborst I gave in to peer pressure to write about it

JeffRice63
JeffRice63
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich I believe the human race should have planned parent hood.

That’s the world’s problem. 2 many of us.Virus.

annaphallactic
annaphallactic
4 years 3 months ago

Great post, Gini! Another aspect of this is that, if the pro-life websites are right, Komen has also halted funding to stem cell research organizations: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/02/01/komen-also-stops-funding-embryonic-stem-cell-research-centers/

In light of this, can Komen still claim that defunding Planned Parenthood wasn’t ideologically driven? Heck no.

rustyspeidel
rustyspeidel
4 years 3 months ago

Amen, amen, amen.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@rustyspeidel Thank you, thank you, thank you.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

Karen Handel also retweeted a snippy tweet ( http://www.yfrog.com/kkzyuyp ) and then deleted it a bit later. Not exactly how to handle something like this.

I’m disappointed, but not really surprised, at the way SGK is handling the social media aspect of this. They’ve been more about image than authenticity for a while, IMHO.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings WOW!!! WOW. I’m speechless.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich@jenzings Now we know it’s serious. 😉

sydcon_mktg
4 years 3 months ago
Even if their reasoning is true, that they don’t give funds to organizations under investigation – then they should stick to their guns & take the heat for the policies they instituted. Don’t delete social media postings if its in response to your outlined policies. Show some back bone and stand behind your policies or stop and take a look and consider changing them if you cant take the heat. However, this to me goes against everything SGK has stood for in my eyes. SGK to me was a fund to help ALL women get the screening they need to… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@sydcon_mktg I agree with you on all points. It’s disturbing there are now a potential 170,000 women who won’t get screening. I’m pretty sure that will cost our nation A LOT more in the longrun if they have breast cancer that goes undetected.

There are unpopular decisions we’re all going to have to make. I’ve made some on a much smaller scale and had to stand up to criticism. But, if you know the strategy is right and you’ve worked through ALL potential backlash with your PR team, you can stand up to the criticism.

M_Koehler
M_Koehler
4 years 3 months ago
This whole situation is a giant mess, I find it funny that this policy is fairly new for Komen. I’m wondering if this was enacted for them to use as an excuse to sever ties with PP. I’m also wonder what this is going to do here at my place. Every year we partner with SGK in a massive campaign. it makes no sense to me how pet food and breast cancer awareness are related but anything to help the cause is good? With my company’s strong right leanings they’ll probably support this severing of ties. It’s very disheartening. and… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@M_Koehler@jenzings The problem is, in today’s digital age, image IS about authenticity.

M_Koehler
M_Koehler
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @jenzings And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

trackback

[…] the Cure dug itself into a PR hole recently after it cut funding to Planned Parenthood (hat tip to Gini Dietrich for sharing this with […]

mjkoehler
mjkoehler
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich I’ll be interested to see how this shakes out with us and our yearly campaign with them. I’ll let you know what I hear.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@mjkoehler I’d love to hear what you learn

JoelFortner
4 years 3 months ago

I know you want some debate, Gini, so let’s do it! This will be fun. There are many people out there who applaud the Komen decision. Of course those who don’t are the most vocal and visible. But don’t you think time will prove out whether this is really a crisis or not? Over time, this move could generate donations from people who never gave because Komen gave to Planned Parenthood. A crisis is about reputation. Don’t you think it’s possible this move could bolster their reputation with many people over time?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@JoelFortner I don’t think it will bolster the reputation of Komen. I do think it will bolster the reputation of Planned Parenthood. I also don’t know if donations will be down at Komen because of this and I do know the social web is made up of a very vocal minority.

Where I have the issue is not letting people have their say. It’s worse to delete negative comments than to let them sit there unanswered.

JoelFortner
4 years 3 months ago

It would be great to be on the inside of Komen to learn how they believe this will impact their target market in the long term or the direction they want to take the organization. That’s a big piece to this. But yeah deleting comments is just silly and anti-trust building. It’s also a sign of some level of panic within the organization.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

You wouldn’t give money to a serial killer, even if he’s the best at breast exams. The real PR disaster is Planned Parenthood: baby-killing factory, McDonaldization of murder, let’s kill as many babies as possible in the name of “health” LOL.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics I really would like this conversation to be about PR and the crisis that’s been created, not about the politics or whether or not you believe in either organization. If it were the American Red Cross not giving funding to a hospital, you wouldn’t comment about a baby killing factory. Let’s keep it up a level and talk about whether or not, in today’s digital age, it’s OK to delete comments from your social networks.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Out of my 50,000+ comments I delete all the time, especially illegal activity, it’s called editing.

sydcon_mktg
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics @ginidietrich Isnt it more a form of censorship since you are deleting or “editing” comments that are not your own?

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich It’s not censorship because it’s my blog. I’m ultimately responsible for whatever is published on my domain because the registration has my name on it. I’m a big advocate of domain registrations. Stand behind what you publish.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

This goes to the need to have a solid, understandable social media commenting policy in place before an organization or business “opens for business” on social networks. It’s fairly commonly accepted that an org or company can delete threatening/profanity-laced comments, etc., but should not delete comments that are simply critical or negative. The smartest thing to do is have the rule/rules in place, so people understand the rules of the game. If you have moderated comments, say so, and explain what might get a comment edited or deleted. Etc.

@sydcon_mktg @ferodynamics @ginidietrich

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings @sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich Yes, threats, profanity–and gang activity. Also, I believe “facilitation of criminal activity” will be a bigger issue in the future for social networks, looking the other way while your users exchange illegal products/services, etc. Then there’s the matter of SEO. Your entire domain can get pushed into a “bad neighborhood” or a less desirable category because one viral post overwhelms your SEO strategy.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics @jenzings@sydcon_mktg I agree with that. I don’t agree with deleting comments that are critical or debate the issue. If I did, I would have deleted @ferodynamics initial comment. Instead, I welcome the debate and rounded thinking.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @jenzings@sydcon_mktg If you did, then I could publish the original (deleted) comment to my own blog, linking here with an explanation of what happened. One of the many benefits of registering a domain for yourself.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics But that’s the point. You would take the comment and republish and make me look like an asshole. Instead we can have the debate here, like grown-ups, and have the value of others seeing it. It hasn’t gotten nasty or unprofessional or threatening or violent. They deleted comments that were none of those things. I know. I left one. And mine was deleted. As were those of nine of my friends.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics @ginidietrich @jenzings@sydcon_mktg Like Gini, I’m most concerned about the manner in which SGK is trying to sanitize comments on their social properties. If you moderate comments, make that well-known in your commenting policy. I have a skeletal commenting policy on my blog that says, in effect, don’t be a dick and remain respectful of others who chose to comment, else your comments will be edited and/or deleted.

Deleting comments as a means to preserve brand integrity is counterproductive.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

Getting censored is not fun. I love how blogs protect free speech vs. forums/social networks.

The damage is done now. Maybe this charity needs reputation management, like Reputation911.com for example.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics Well, we’re all bloggers here so that’s our frame of reference. Are you saying that forums & social networks go about ‘free speech’ differently from blogs? Can you explain?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics They do. But they’ll recover. They did with the KFC thing. And that was pretty bad, too.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago
@jasonkonopinski Yes a different approach, social networks have been able to stand back and let users do pretty much whatever they want–this was on the line with SOPA. It seems social networks will spend the money to selectively remove content if they feel enough pressure. News Corp. hired people to screen every image uploaded to Myspace. Twitter finally caved to pressure because of terrorists using their service? Forums are more hands-on (locking threads, I have seen individual post edits too) but again it’s mostly time and money and business driving these decisions. At the end of the day, social networks… Read more »
TheJackB
4 years 3 months ago

@ferodynamics @sydcon_mktg @ginidietrich Actually it is still censorship whether it is your blog or not. The distinction lies in whether you are a public organization soliciting donations and community support or just a private citizen.

As a private citizen you may choose to dictate what is or isn’t discussed on your blog but the honest answer is that you are engaged in censorship.

But that is sort of a separate issue.

ferodynamics
ferodynamics
4 years 3 months ago

@TheJackB @sydcon_mktg @ginidietrich I feel what you’re saying and truthfully I have struggled with some comments I have deleted. For example, at some point I felt compelled to automatically block any comment with the word “crack” (not the noun but the verb) because I know for a fact that “breaking into computers” is illegal, at least in the US. Does this mean I need to censor comments about cracking? Probably not–but I don’t have a team of lawyers standing behind me either so I sleep better at night deleting comments like this.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago
@ginidietrich Did they really recover from the KFC debacle, though? I know that’s when I started thinking they had jumped the (pink) shark (well, that and suing anyone who uses “for the cure”). For years I’ve become more and more annoyed at the number of virtually nonsensical pink crap in October. The styrofoam container on my sliced mushrooms? Really? I’ve shied away from purchasing those products, and now, with this, I have a reason to refuse and actually seek out other products. Is this smart marketing? The other thing SGK probably did not consider is how many of their corporate… Read more »
sydcon_mktg
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings @ginidietrich I to have been wondering how many companies who are SGK supports will now back away due to the political turn this has taken? Breast cancer is not political, it doesnt care if you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or dont even vote. It attacks anyone, at anytime. Politics has its place, and breast cancer screening & finding a cure is not it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings The one that made me shake my head was the NFL partnership and creating pink sports clothes for the girls. I’ll keep my orange and blue, thank you very much.

brianyyz
brianyyz
4 years 3 months ago

@sydcon_mktg @jenzings @ginidietrich You are right, it should not be political. But they have made it political by doing this, and there will be (and has been) fallout from this decision.

sydcon_mktg
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich@jenzings Me too! I want my authentic Blackhawks jersey, thanks…a true fan wears their teams colors with pride.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@brianyyz @sydcon_mktg @jenzings Oh they definitely made it political. Which is why the “it’s not political” statement from their communication director is so funny. I feel sorry for her.

EricaAllison
4 years 3 months ago

@jasonkonopinski Nice commenting policy, Jason! I may have to borrow it, verbatim. 😉 @ginidietrich @jenzings @sydcon_mktg

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@EricaAllison @ginidietrich @jenzings@sydcon_mktg I don’t mince words. 🙂 And truth be told, the ‘Don’t be a dick’ comes, rather famously, from wilw

jeffespo
jeffespo
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich did you use the comic with it? Please say yes?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jeffespo I didn’t see the comic until just now 🙁

jeffespo
jeffespo
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich booooooooooooobooooooooooooooboooooooooboooooooooooooobooooooooooooobooooooooooooooobooooooooooooooobooooooooooooboooooooooooo

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jeffespo LOL

jeffespo
jeffespo
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich yeah one more character and it would have been a bunch of boob after each other

kristinargreen
kristinargreen
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @jeffespo I want to see the comic!

pocojuan
pocojuan
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Komen inside hatchet job is self inflicted PR mess. They deleted 4K neg comments from FB; VP Policy RT’s flame thn deny’s it

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@pocojuan Totally agree

pocojuan
pocojuan
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich YES @NancyLeeGrahn: Thank you @karenhandel 4 making women angry enuf 2 bring even gr8r support 4 women’s reproductive rights

pocojuan
pocojuan
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich FYI PP needed $700K – Planned Parenthood actually raised $3 million in the wake of th Komen funding controversy:

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@pocojuan I know…it was great for them

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
4 years 3 months ago

Obviously, SGK hasn’t been keeping up on their Spin Sucks blog post daily reading or maybe they would have known long ago about social media best practices. I have walked in the SGK 3 Day for the Cure event the last couple of years and I don’t plan to this year because of this. This is the ultimate consequence for their mishandling of this debacle.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@John_Trader1 I wonder how many of you will be out there? I know a friend is riding for AIDS this year and she almost gloated about all of the donations she’s gotten because her friends don’t want to support SGK now.

It’s just astounding to me they won’t let people have their say. They’re going to have it somewhere. I’d rather it be on something I own.

HeatherTweedy
HeatherTweedy
4 years 3 months ago
Given the vitriolic nature this debate has taken on in many spheres, I would imagine that it has been very difficult for SGK’s community manager to determine what should and shouldn’t be deleted. However, in these situations, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and leave up whatever isn’t a true violation of an organization’s social media policy. Deleting negative, but not offensive, comments, posts, etc., seems to come from the belief that the page is a space for the organization to talk to it’s members and not with. That’s always a dangerous assumption. Honestly, I’m a… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@HeatherTweedy I was wondering if you were going to comment! I saw you liking comments below.

Like you, I’ll be interested to see if this has any effect on donations. Probably much to my dismay, it will not. But the thing that really bothers me is, whenever you make decisions like this, you HAVE to have the “what’s the potential backlash” discussion. And be prepared to let people have their say without deleting the comments.

HeatherTweedy
HeatherTweedy
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Agreed!

A key part of their next steps has to be to show where that money is now going. After watching the AM news coverage, it doesn’t seem as though that was part of their talking points and that’s a big miss.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@HeatherTweedy Sigh…if only we ruled the world.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich@HeatherTweedy More wine and more shoes for everyone!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jasonkonopinski @HeatherTweedy Now you’re talking!

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich@HeatherTweedy I’d be happy with a new pair of Mark Nolan boots & bourbon. Mmmmm, bourbon.

HeatherTweedy
HeatherTweedy
4 years 3 months ago

@jasonkonopinski@ginidietrich More shoes, wine and bourbon?! I would definitely live in that world!

Anthony_Rodriguez
4 years 3 months ago

I know SGK is a non-profit but they are a powerhouse org with a ton of influence. By making the decision not to help needy women get screenings, because the only place they can go is under fire politically, seems to go against their mission wholeheartedly. They are only making matters worse by deleting comments instead of answering them to advance the discussion in a positive way. Digging a whole one deleted comment at a time is not the way to get people to forgive you for making an absent-minded decision.

Anthony_Rodriguez
4 years 3 months ago

I know SGK is a non-profit but they are a powerhouse org with a ton of influence. By making the decision not to help needy women get screenings, because the only place they can go is under fire politically, seems to go against their mission wholeheartedly. They are only making matters worse by deleting comments instead of answering them to advance the discussion in a positive way. Digging a hole one deleted comment at a time is not the way to get people to forgive you for making an absent-minded decision.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@Anthony_Rodriguez Exactly. Yes, yes, yes. The interesting thing…I just read an article that said Planned Parenthood raised more than $400K yesterday. Which is more than SGK funded. So maybe they did them a favor.

SociallyGenius
4 years 3 months ago

Greed, Corruption, and Social Media Blunders… The corporate American Way. Evidently, NPO’s are no exception. Stories like these either make me weary of running for office, yet make my resolve stronger thinking I can change the way dirty politics are.

In my opinion, if a company values their reputation, they better damn well get someone who knows wtf they’re doing on Social Media Platforms. SGK should have just hired you to mitigate the damage! Thanks for writing this Story, Gini, apparently I was under a rock because I didn’t even know this was going down.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@SociallyGenius Do you volunteer for any candidates running for office? If not, you should. It will really make you understand how dirty politics truly are. It’s not unlike anything else…it’s who you know. It saddens me.

Neicolec
Neicolec
4 years 3 months ago

Well, I’ve hardly heard of Komen, as it’s not the kind of thing I follow. And now, my main association with it is a negative one. That’s not the kind of PR they want, I’m sure!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@Neicolec No, I would imagine not. But Planned Parenthood has greatly benefited. They raised $400K just yesterday.

etelligence
4 years 3 months ago
I agree with your advice of leaving comments that are valid criticisms up, but I don’t know if the majority of SGK’s supporters, or the public at large, have an opinion on it at all. Like you said, it will cause people to start making their own groups and take the discussion elsewhere, but there is already backlash against SGK and it wouldn’t be hard to find an alternate place to discuss it even before the first comments were deleted. If the people who care about or even notice comments getting deleted off of SGK’s Facebook page make up 1… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@etelligence Your last paragraph is brilliant! No one could be upset about the 170,000 women who won’t get screenings if Komen takes that advice. Very well said!

Sean McGinnis
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @etelligence Am I the only one who sees problems with the numbers?

I read something yesterday about 170,000 breast exams. The problem is Komen only gave Planned Parenthood a little around $600,000. under $5 per exam? Really?

There’s more to those numbers. I’d like to examine both sides under oath to get the full story.

Both sides appear to be spinning things to their benefit (big surprise).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@Sean McGinnis@etelligence The 170,000 exams is during a five year period. I think the $600,000 is annualized.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @etelligence The other thing that NOBODY is mentioning, is that Planned Parenthood has a one BILLION dollar annual budget. $500k is a pittance. IMHO, both sides are playing this for political gain, because it sure as shit ain’t about the money,

etelligence
4 years 3 months ago

@Sean McGinnis I think you’re 100% right Sean. Is it keeping anyone from getting screenings? Probably not. I think people get bored when they don’t have an Internet cause to join. What’s good to fight for on Reddit today? The backlash is so overwhelming though, I was suspicious of SGK before this. A political dispute involving abortion, money and breasts? This perfect storm was meant for the Internet lol.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@etelligence @Sean McGinnis But that’s not really the point. At least not here. The point is in how it was all handled…or not handled. I’m writing about it in my Crain’s blog post today. Business leaders HAVE TO start thinking about consequences of all their actions now. Before the social web, there’d have been some protests, but it would have been controlled. SGK is trying to take that same tact with the web. And it’s not working.

laurietewksbury
laurietewksbury
4 years 3 months ago

@spinsucks Great post of Komen’s PR mess. Thanks for the insight. #NewhouseSM4

SpinSucks
SpinSucks
4 years 3 months ago

@laurietewksbury You are so welcome. Thank YOU!.

TheJackB
4 years 3 months ago

What I haven’t seen/heard is an effort from Komen to get ahead of the issue/storm and offer their side of the tale.

If I was them I would make a greater effort to make their constituents feel like they are being heard. Deleting valid criticism isn’t going to work. I have never known people to be pacified by being ignored and or told to shut up.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@TheJackB They responded a few minutes ago. I haven’t watched the video yet. It’ll be interesting to see what they have to say.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 3 months ago
wabbitoid
4 years 3 months ago
There are many cross-currents at work here that have nothing to do with their PR decision now – but could be driving what is going on. Then again, their own PR machine’s inability to deal with thins in the past may be catching up with them. The outpouring of hatred for the Foundation is clearly far more than this decision. I have seen friends on the left and right demonize them lately – so this seems to be much bigger. I feel that people have been refraining from criticizing the organization in the past because it looked socially bad for… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@wabbitoid There definitely is a lot more than not scrubbing their FB wall to be done. I really like the suggestion @etelligence offers in his last paragraph. Take it away from politics and offer all women free screening.

RebeccaAguilar
RebeccaAguilar
4 years 3 months ago

Someone share this with me on Twitter.

Excellent, excellent blog!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@RebeccaAguilar Thanks Rebecca!

DBMC
DBMC
4 years 3 months ago

Exactly MT @ginidietrich: It’s not about politics or funding. It’s about their decision to delete negative comments http://t.co/p3ZIADLH

write4unj
write4unj
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks for writing about this. I was so disappointed in SGK when I heard the news — I really thought they were above politics and just about supporting women in need. My daughter and I used to do the SGK walk in Washington, DC. However, we found the whole process getting more and more commercial every year and so we’ve been giving our money to other cancer organizations instead. The American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” is a good organization to support. Perhaps they will step in and help Planned Parenthood.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@write4unj It doesn’t look like Planned Parenthood will need the help – they raised $400K yesterday. But that’s really not the point. The point is SGK really stepped in it and is trying to control the conversation…not very well.

write4unj
write4unj
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich So here’s another fascinating twist: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/02/komen-founder-defunding-controversy-a-mischactrerization-/1 This puts a different spin on the whole story — talking about not controlling the message (or not putting the right message out in the first place). Makes me even less likely to support Komen in the future.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@write4unj Uh oh. I am headed over to read it.

write4unj
write4unj
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich And now it’s all over, ending not with a bang but a whimper as Nancy Brinker says they weren’t being political and never meant to cause such a fuss. Really? Do any of these organizations think through what they are doing and how it will affect them? I know that the saying used to be any publicity is good, even if it’s bad publicity, because it gets your name out there. But I think it’s really going to take SGK time to recover from this. It really is a whole new world of marketing out there.

BexAllen
BexAllen
4 years 3 months ago

@write4unj @ginidietrich I held an informal poll on the DeFund Komen facebook page (I’m sure it’s disappeared far down in the comments by now) on whether people would support Komen again if Handel and Brinker resigned. Not a single response in the positive. Not that Brinker would resign anyway, but it will take years for Komen to recover from this. And no one’s even mentioned “Pink Ribbons,” which is being released shortly!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@write4unj I have a blog post in my drafts that will be published next week about what Komen should have done to avoid all of this. They have a PR firm, but they’re a consumer agency. So I know Komen didn’t even think to bring them in on this because it’s policy, not consumer. But had they hired experienced crisis PR counsel a year ago when they were debating all of this, they would have gone through EVERY scenario and Brinker would have been prepared to answer critics. It’s too bad. This really could have been avoided.

MikeSchaffer
MikeSchaffer
4 years 3 months ago
Gini– Fantastic, as always. My wife and I are longtime donors to Planned Parenthood, among many other health and equal rights organizations. So there’s my bias right up front. If there were political motives involved in Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, this is even more of a bone-headed move. True, PP is under investigation. True, PP is a controversial organization to some people. But, by Komen publicly pulling their support of PP, they are only galvanizing the donor base for PP and turning off their own donors. I’ve heard more than one person say they will never… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@MikeSchaffer They essentially just said, “We’re a pro-life breast cancer awareness organization.” So if you’re not pro-life, you don’t get help. And, not only that, but we’re going to delete anyone who debates that fact.

MikeSchaffer
MikeSchaffer
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich “We care about boobs. The rest is up to you.”

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@MikeSchaffer@ginidietrich The (b)rest is up to you.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 3 months ago

The most ridiculous part of this whole debacle is, as you say, the public pulling of their support. If that doesn’t smack of bowing to political pressure, then I don’t know what does. You really have to wonder if Komen has a) really clued out PR counsel or (b) decided not to listen to their PR counsel and forge ahead. In many of these bone-headed situations, I often think there’s an agency or an in-house PR pro secretly banging their head against the wall.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ElissaFreeman You KNOW there is someone banging their head against the wall. I know Planned Parenthood has agencies across the country and each local firm is taking full advantage right now.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago
@ginidietrich @ElissaFreeman Have you read the Atlantic article? Specifically (emphasis mine, if my tags work): “Hammarley explained that the Planned Parenthood issue had vexed Komen for some time. “About a year ago, a small group of people got together inside the organization to talk about what the options were, what would be the ramifications of staying the course, or of telling our affiliates they can’t fund Planned Parenthood, or something in-between.” He went on, “As we looked at the ramifications of ceasing all funding, we felt it would be worse from a practical standpoint, from a public relations standpoint, and… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings@ElissaFreeman This leads me to believe their agency (which I’m learning is a consumer firm) didn’t know this was going to go down. Likely they were called in a panic when all hell broke loose. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to find agency partners…not vendors.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
4 years 3 months ago

This explains so much! I can[t tell you how many C-suiters drink their own kool-aid. You need a PR agency/internal pro to provide clarity – and more importantly a reality check. Everyone needs a bucket of cold water thrown over their heads every now and then. From time to time I’ve purposely phoned up my PR agency to ‘talk me off the ledge’. A dispassionate, level-headed expert in crisis comms can make all the difference for an organization.

etelligence
4 years 3 months ago
Has anyone figured out how many organizations who received funds from Komen were cut-off due to being under investigation? If Planned Parenthood is the only organization affected, or the only organization that received anything more than small funding, it seems more blatant. Looking at this from a totally neutral viewpoint, after reading what KOmen said on their site it seems to me that they believed Planned Parenthood may have been diverting some of their funding to pay for abortions. It makes me feel like I’m part of an Internet of puppets sometimes that never knows what really happened, and 2… Read more »
jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

@etelligence Exactly one organization was cut off. The “change in policy” to eliminate/halt funding was done specifically to target PP, according to several former employees, one of whom quit over this: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/02/top-susan-g-komen-official-resigned-over-planned-parenthood-cave-in/252405/

The interesting thing is that the way the investigation portion is worded, I think it’s entirely possible that an IRS audit could trigger a stop to funds. It doesn’t say what kind of investigation would stop funding. I wonder if they thought of this.

BexAllen
BexAllen
4 years 3 months ago

@etelligence Only PP was cut off. SGK continues to fund a unit at Penn State, which is obviously under investigation. How stupid do they think we are?

citygirlblogs
citygirlblogs
4 years 3 months ago

@mikeschaffer Heartily concur! Won’t be doing the Komen 5K unless some changes are made. Brinker’s video did not assuage my concerns.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Whoa, did you see this? http://mashable.com/2012/02/02/susan-g-komen/

HowieSPM
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings @ginidietrich ack safe to click?

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

@HowieSPM @ginidietrich LOL, sorry–I should have said more, like, wow, Mashable post says they got hacked. Sorry!

jasonkonopinski
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings @HowieSPM @ginidietrich I was totally just going to link that image here. #tooslow

When will organizations learn to not piss off the internet? 😉

HowieSPM
4 years 3 months ago

@jasonkonopinski @jenzings @ginidietrich I bet this wouldn’t happen in China! 😉

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings Oh jeez! There are some days I wish I knew how to hack. That would be kind of fun (albeit illegal) to do!

etelligence
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings @ginidietrich now this is clever. Copying the entire site and changing one small thing, it’s hard to say how long it was redirected without having access to site stats. I guess if you won’t let them say it on your Facebook page they’ll come and say it right on the top of your domain lol

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@uglyshirt Complete and total disaster

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@alicechunt Which ends up costing the tax payers more money

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@hriefs Ha. Thanks!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@debmorello Hiiii!

HowieSPM
4 years 3 months ago
My sister worked for NY Family Planning which had Planned Parenthood as part of the work they over saw. I even went to DC (7 hr drive each way) for the Fight Stupak rally (it was awesome and I learned I can just waltz right into the office of my US Rep unannounced to lobby!). I don’t like the pro-Life lobby only because they tend to be pro-birth and pro-death (how many voted and supported the Iraq war?) and how many want funding cut for childrens care, healthcare (s-chip etc) Another PR issue. And I have blogged about the lame… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@HowieSPM Our country really is ridiculous. And it’s an election year, which makes it worse.

Marc_Luber
4 years 3 months ago
Great post Gini. I’d estimate at least 30-40 of my Facebook friends have been posting rants about this. All say they will never again support the organization. I’m active in the cancer community and sit on the board of a cancer research non-profit. To cut funding that helps poor people whose needs match the mission of your organization boggles my mind. It’s a nonsensical move and being handled poorly by the organization. They of course have the right to make whatever political moves they choose….but the public has the right to respond by letting their organization sink like a stone…and… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@Marc_Luber The issue is exactly what you say – the public has the right to respond. And they’re not letting them do that. It’s deeply disturbing.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@MolliMegasko You said pisses. LOL!

dbinkowski
dbinkowski
4 years 3 months ago

@jenniferwindrum @ginidietrich same PR firm, maybe?

jenniferwindrum
jenniferwindrum
4 years 3 months ago

@dbinkowski @ginidietrich My gues is NO firm. Ha. Ha.

dbinkowski
dbinkowski
4 years 3 months ago

@jenniferwindrum @ginidietrich after asking around I’ve confirmed it is the same firm for both companies. Sad.

jenniferwindrum
jenniferwindrum
4 years 3 months ago

@dbinkowski @ginidietrich OMG, seriously? Now THAT makes an even bigger cluster. Interesting PR angle there to write about, eh?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@dbinkowski @jenniferwindrum Nooooo! They really have an agency? Surely they’re banging their heads up against a wall right now.

dbinkowski
dbinkowski
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @jenniferwindrum i say that’s some stellar interagency synergy being created there 😉

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@dbinkowski @jenniferwindrum Or maybe no PR firm?

JoelFortner
JoelFortner
4 years 3 months ago

@miss_melinda09 Appears tough now but I’m interested in response and long-term reputation management. Not everyone is against the decision.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@cubanalaf There you are!

cubanalaf
cubanalaf
4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Hey Miss Thang 🙂 I might be up in Chicago soon. Hang out?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@cubanalaf YES!!!

ArthurAnswers
ArthurAnswers
4 years 3 months ago

[Comment deleted]Just kidding!!! haha. It’s really bad to go deleting comments from others. It’s one thing to retracts your own statements, It’s another to silence the voices of others. Anyone who thinks they can get away with that is considerably disillusioned.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@ArthurAnswers Totally agree. In today’s digital age, it’s ridiculous to think you can delete a comment and it won’t show up as a screen grab on the front page of USA Today.

FranchiseKing
4 years 3 months ago

Hi Gini,

jumped on Twitter 3 seconds after watching the CEO of Komen lying on her interview with Andrea Mitchell this afternoon on MSNBC.

She’s full of crap; it’s all about politics—which ends up being about religion-which ends up having absolutely nothing to do with Breast Cancer.

These people…the rich ones who get to be on TV and dish out their BS must think that the average guys (like me) are freaking clueless.

Her non-profit just become non-credible.

Just because she has a new board member that’s Pro-Life.

Our country is screwed. We’re all screwed.

JL

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@FranchiseKing LOL! Now, now Franchise King. Let’s talk about the PR and social media implications of all of this. Did SGK become non-credible because they deleted social media comments? Or did that just add fuel to the fire?

polarscribe
polarscribe
4 years 3 months ago
The long-term impacts of this are not going to go away. Unless there is a public repudiation of this decision and, honestly, the resignation of the pro-life, anti-gay, right-wing VP they hired, Karen Handel, the entire permanent public image of Susan G. Komen will be irrevocably shifted. They are politicizing themselves, clearly claiming the mantel of “right-wing breast cancer foundation.” Pro-choice folks and the LGBT community need not apply. (Just Google for what Handel has said – she opposes gay adoption and calling LGBT relationships “not what God intended.”) If that’s where SGK wants to go, that’s fine, that’s their… Read more »
Komen_Cowards
Komen_Cowards
4 years 3 months ago

Pink + Politics x Poison = KOMEN FAIL

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@Komen_Cowards And you just proved my point. Give people a say and they’ll have it. Don’t and they’ll create accounts like you did. I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to understand.

polarscribe
polarscribe
4 years 3 months ago
The long-term impacts of this are not going to go away. Unless there is a public repudiation of this decision and, honestly, the resignation of the pro-life, anti-gay, right-wing VP they hired, Karen Handel, the entire permanent public image of Susan G. Komen will be irrevocably shifted. They are politicizing themselves, clearly claiming the mantel of “right-wing breast cancer foundation.” Pro-choice folks and the LGBT community need not apply. (Just Google for what Handel has said – she opposes gay adoption and calling LGBT relationships “not what God intended.”) If that’s where SGK wants to go, that’s fine, that’s their… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@polarscribe I actually agree with you, but this isn’t about politics! It’s about the mess that has become worse because they are censoring people.

jono.smith
4 years 3 months ago

Gini, at what point does “analysis” cross into opportunism, and become an excuse to get more blog readers, Twitter followers & Facebook likes? I’m not trying to imply that’s what’s going on here, but after reading all the marketing & PR blog posts in the past year about Penn State, Exxon, Netflix, Rep. Weiner, BofA, News Corp, etc., it leaves me pondering that question.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago
@jono.smith There certainly is some of that goes on. Some are accused of link baiting and the like in order to increase their social shares. I’m pretty cognizant of it, which is why it took me three days to write about this. I actually wasn’t going to, but the PR mess kept getting bigger and bigger. Our vision for the blog is to be the professional development for PR and marketing pros. If I feel like I can provide a professional lesson in something that’s happening in the news, I do it. There are plenty of case studies I don’t… Read more »
Narciso17
Narciso17
4 years 3 months ago

That @ginidietrich is Preaching the #Truth Abt @KomenForTheCure’s #PR Mess http://t.co/Fd5Jfquc (Lesson: Don’t Hide)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@sydcon_mktg Even the ones who are calling me out

SueSpaight
SueSpaight
4 years 3 months ago

@TeresaBasich Thanks Teresa! Reading it right now… @ginidietrich

BexAllen
BexAllen
4 years 3 months ago

There’s the other problem in that they think their former supporters must be very dumb… As Komen continues to fund an organization at Penn State (under investigation) and receive sponsorship from Bank of America (also under investigation). It’s amazing to me that they thought they could do this quietly after PP gained so many supporters this summer… Cecile’s original e-mail must have hit at least a hundred thousand.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

@BexAllen Do you have any citations for the Penn State/BofA items? That’s very interesting to me. If that’s true, then I think they are in a world of trouble for not evenly applying this new “rule.”

BexAllen
BexAllen
4 years 3 months ago

@jenzings From HuffPo by way of Mother Jones: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/susan-g-komen-penn-state_n_1250896.html

For the BoA stuff you don’t have to do much searching on the Komen site. BoA even offers pinkwashed credit cards and checkbooks. BoA has been under investigation since the summer.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 3 months ago

@BexAllen Fascinating. Thanks. It occurred to me that the way the rule is worded, anything from a state or federal tax audit, to an employee whistleblower suit, to any number of other things would be valid reasons to cut off funding. If they aren’t going to apply the rule evenly, I expect their PR problems will mount. They might end up spending a great deal of time notifying organizations of suspended funding, then putting it back in place, etc. This is the Law of Unintended Consequences at work.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

@iFusionMktg LOL!!

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