Bloggers Unite to Slap Susan G. Komen

Like Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks, I wasn’t going to address the Susan G. Komen national public relations debacle in an election year with Planned Parenthood. After reading her post and the oodles of smart comments from her community, I still wasn’t.

Then, I read Shonali Burke’s extremely amazingly thoughtful and balanced post with more than oodles of examples of trust gone awry and communications strategy, or lack thereof, gone to hell in a hand basket. (I just read in her comments it took her 4 hours to craft that post; when you read it, you’ll understand that she actually gifted us with a case study.)

One of the comments at Gini’s house gave me pause and it goes something to the effect of “isn’t this issue a way for bloggers to build links and get traction from others outside their communities by jumping on the bandwagon?” Gini provided a very smart reply and you can find it yourself when you review the 100+ comments as of this morning.

I’m trying to be sensitive to this comment from someone who doesn’t know that we who write about communications, PR and social marketing MUST cover these topics. That said, and very top of mind for me, what this issue boils squarely down to are three things:

  • Women’s health
  • Election-year politics
  • Poor public relations and social marketing strategy

Each of you reading and following has an opinion that puts us on opposing sides of the aisle. When you read everyone else’s blogs about the serious debacle unfolding (there’s so much more with Bank of America and Penn State, etc.), you can’t help but get beyond pro-life or pro-choice issues with this.

If you’re NOT in communications, I implore you to look at this from business and communications strategy angles. Again, I point you to the blogs mentioned here; these bloggers have done a spectacular job (better than I ever could) of presenting all the facts with balanced judgment to boot. I’m proud of them.  Thank you for what you do, Shonali, Gini, John, and the rest of the gang. #ThatIsAll.

The Tip of the Iceberg Only

>>Nancy Schwartz Getting Attention blog via @Shonali

>>Joe Waters Blog via @Shonali

>>Planned Parenthood causes/giving via @Shonali and Beth Kanter and there’s a Pinterest board on this, too!

>>John Haydon who writes and works with non-profits

13 comments
Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

I think no matter which side of the aisle you fell on this issue before Komen reversed their decision - we can agree this wasn't implemented well! If you're going to give what is potentially bad news, prepare yourself for backlash.

Which makes me think that as PR professionals we really need to think how any news could be perceived as bad & result in "blowing up my Facebook page."

Thanks for linking to @Shonali:disqus 's post, I hadn't seen it yet.

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Thank you, Jayme! I've been a bit underwater the last few days, so I couldn't comment on @ginidietrich:disqus post, though I do plan to head over there soon. I honestly didn't want to jump on the bandwagon, but certain aspects of what happened, like the chapters struggling desperately not to alienate their local/regional audiences, the way approved messaging just wasn't working, and so much more (as you read) just kept coming back to me. Initially I thought I'd start writing it last night, but I wanted it to sit and percolate some more. So yes, I got up at 5 am today (which I try to do anyway, the last couple of days I haven't), and started writing.
I have to say Beth's Pinterest board as well as one of the Facebook groups I'm in, where several really smart non-profit bloggers shared their thoughts and links were incredibly informative and helpful. So Gini, I guess here's another way to use Pinterest, eh? As blog fodder!
Again, Jayme, I really appreciate it. I know I haven't been over here too often recently either. I plan to correct that.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

The thing about that particular comment is the person who left it works for the company that manages the 3 Day Walks for SGK. So he was biting at me with some bias. I'm sure he's tired of reading and hearing about how his client screwed up. 

That said. It wasn't a topic I was going to blog about. But I had 16 people send me links and ask when I was going to write about it. Plus, there were several people who, in the comments, said they hadn't even heard about it. If something that is happening in the national news fits your blogging vision, it shouldn't matter who else is covering it. If, however, it doesn't fit the vision and you're blogging about it because you're riled up about it (like I was about Carnival Cruise Lines, but can find no PR value in writing about it) or doing it for link bait, shame on you.

I know the Spin Sucks audience pretty well. Just because we're tired of hearing things in the social media chamber does not mean the real world a) knows about it and b) can derive a lesson from it.

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

You're absolutely correct. Coming from non-profit now, this story is one you ought to share with your peers at CT Foundation. Especially @Shonali:disqus blog. Excellent case study in social and communications strategy/fundamentals. Thanks, Jenn!

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Btw, I just learned (h/t @jenzings:twitter ) that Komen has restored funding to Planned Parenthood. Wow.

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

Oh, Shonali. Please, there is no pressure, and my accolades of you and Gini are not a ploy to get you to come here. I give applause where it's due, and you both rocked it. Thank you again for that post; it hit so many non-judgmental nerves with me and inspired me. Thank you.

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

OMG; this just in on NYTimes on the iPhone "Cancer Group Reversing Course, says it will maintain Planned Parenthood Funding!" Just got the headline snippet, not the entire story. WOW. This is such an amazing study and there have been so many lately. Astonishing, from the view of what happens inside a business or organization.

As per your comment above; the last sentence. Perfect. Thank you.

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

Our President & CEO is the former head of Planned Parenthood of CT!
And guess what, I shared @ginidietrich:disqus 's blog before I saw @Shonali:disqus 's. Always teaching "prepare for crisis and don't try to shut down conversation."

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

Just got the news popped in via NYTimes on the iPhone! WOW WOW is right!

Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

I know there isn't. But yours is one of the blogs I try to get to and I feel bad when I don't!

Jenn Whinnem
Jenn Whinnem

Please let me add the disclaimer that these comments represent MY views and not my employer's! I am personally very passionate about this issue, but publicly I keep that to myself.

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

OMG. Then Shonali's post is absolutely incredible for your people. Also, @GreggMorris said someone from Komen called his house last night to fundraise! He thinks they were trying to take the pulse of the community. He told them, "sorry" not gonna. (In spite of his mom being a survivor, too.)

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