The Role of PR in the Susan G. Komen Foundation vs. Planned Parenthood Debate

Recently, the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research has come under attack for their decision to revoke funds allotted to Planned Parenthood for breast-health services. After a public attack on the Komen Foundation, leaders quickly revoked their previous decision to discontinue funding for Planned Parenthood (which totaled $680,000 just last year).

The controversy surrounding this debate is a great lesson in crisis communication.

The quick reversal of statements made by the Komen Foundation after considerable backlash implies that the decision to make the statements in the first place was not fully thought through. If a corporation publically announces any intentions, the intent behind the announcement and the reaction the announcement will generate should be thoroughly considered. Good PR means that a corporation can communication effectively and without reservation.

On the other hand, the Komen Foundation’s realization that the brand has been tarnished by this decision indicates that the foundation understands the importance of maintaining a brand image. The role of PR is pointless if a corporation’s brand does not correlate with its audience. Angering or displeasing your following can be the downfall for any organization.

PR is more than just the free flow of information between business and client. It is the direct reflection of a business as a whole, and communicating the values and beliefs of that business is an essential to success. As the Susan G. Komen Foundation has demonstrated, sending out the right message the right way is the key to good PR.