College courses will teach it. Post-grad students will write dissertations about it. Still, I’ll never understand why the Susan G. Komen Foundation blew up its own brand a few days ago. And make no mistake, that is exactly what they did.
Yes, I understand politics. This blog is mostly about public relations, but my particular political belief system goes on display from time to time; it’s simply part of who I am.
This was never the case with the Komen message. The words “cancer” and “cure” once belonged to that message and were so tightly interwoven in it that there was no room for other words. Such was the strength of that brand. Then—and have I mentioned that this is inexplicable to me?—the decision was made to swap in “abortion” for “cancer” and “politics” for “cure.”
So now we’re all learning yet another lesson in the power of Twitter. And the importance of brand consistency. And the necessity of a strategic and integrated crisis communications plan. But if we want to avoid becoming the next Komen Foundation, we should probably make a point of also relearning some Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”