[Feb.3 noon update: It Just Got Better] Komen’s Busted Nonprofit Brand

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The story of Komen for the Cure’s (Komen) defunding of Planned Parenthood (PP) continues to roll, and I wanted to update you before stepping back to see how things evolve. I’ll share my thoughts with you again in a few days, once I get some distance from the story.

Update noon, Feb. 3, 2012
Komen just restored its funding to Planned Parenthood, according to CNN breaking news. The is the best decision Komen’s made in days.
Who knows if there’s any way to clean up the mess it’s poor policies and communications have left behind?  I think the damage is done.

Update 11am, Feb. 3, 2012
1) Komen’s partnership to earn a percentage of pink gun sales is brought to light. They’d prefer to be associated with guns than with Planned Parenthood.

2) Komen affiliates are struggling to stay afloat. Here’s a summary of affiliate statements made in response to headquarter’s actions. I empathize with the affiliates; they’re victims of Komen’s bungle.

Update, 8pm, Feb. 2, 2012
1) The groundswell of support for access to quality health care for women continues to grow:

  • Women’s health groups, lawmakers and some of Komen’s own affiliates have asked Komen to reverse its defunding.
  • Donations to PP are flooding in, with more than $400,000 in gifts w/in 24 hours of donation. In addition, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 as a matching gift challenge (quite a statement).

2) Komen’s leadership team is crumbling, with resignations in from Mollie Williams, Komen’s top public health official; Deb Anthony, Executive Director of the affiliate in Los Angeles County; and more. I’m concerned about this in terms of all the good work Komen does.

3) Huge disconnect: Komen CEO Nancy Brinker shows her elitist colors and her disconnect with the only way to acheive Komen’s mission to improve women’s health—access to quality health care for all . She gave a disastrous interview with Washington Post blogger Sarah Kliff, in which she changed her justification for the defunding (“First and foremost, it doesn’t really have anything to do with that[the investigation],” she said, adding that she didn’t know “very much” about the investigation because she works “20 hours a day focusing on our mission,”) and shared her hope that “this distraction will quickly go away.”

Trust is earned, not given, Nancy. And quality health care for all is NOT a distraction. Three strikes you’re out!

Media trainers, I think this is a red-hot opportunity for you. Carpe diem and give Nancy Brinker a call.

Update, 4pm, Feb. 2, 2012
The latest is that Komen has finally “responded” with this video, which is a complete failure in terms of positioning them in a favorable light. In refusing to acknowledge the hotbed issue of abortion services (provided by PP) that is at the very core of their defunding, and neglecting to address their decision head on, they continue the triggering of doubt and unease.

How would you advise Planned Parenthood to continue to build momentum, and Komen to repair its reputation? Please share your thoughts here.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 4 comments

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