Komen's Branding Nightmare

Two health issues that reach deep into the heart and soul of every woman are reproduction and breast cancer.

Two philanthropic brands that immediately evoke those issues are Planned Parenthood® and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.®

When Komen withdrew funding, loyal Planned Parenthood supporters expressed their outrage by demonstrating on the streets and blasting Komen in social media. Others immediately contributed toward replacing the lost funding.

Komen supporters also have intense brand loyalty. Where were they?

Even in the face of an epic error, Komen has earned enough goodwill to assuage disappointment and anger among its supporters. What Komen didn't generate was an acceptable answer for its actions. The inability to defend the decision seems to indicate that its leaders did not reach a solid consensus on how their decision might affect their supporters.

Many women were forced to choose between two impassioned issues and the brands that reflect them.

Planned Parenthood started out $680,000 in the hole from Komen funding cuts. Intense brand loyalty turned Planned Parenthood into a big winner with many new contributions and pressure that lead to the restoration of Komen funding.

An important lesson for all of us is to remember that brand loyalty is a powerful force. We must always remember to very carefully consider our supporters when making decisions.

—Tom DeSanto

Vinegar Valentines were popular at the turn of the century.
In honor of this Valentine's Day post, here's one for Komen.

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