In 2012, Susan G. Komen faced public backlash due to its grant processes. Because the Dallas County affiliate was located just down the street from national headquarters, they were mistakenly associated with the negativity, yielding a negative impact on their reputation and funding. The Dallas organization turned to Sunwest to be a highly-supportive extension of their team.
Sunwest first created a crisis plan that included media training for key spokespeople. The strategic approach focused on differentiating the mission of the Dallas affiliate and its local impact through facilitating both proactive and reactive media interviews. To combat the decline in reputation and funding, Sunwest developed a comprehensive public relations plan surrounding the affiliate’s largest annual fundraiser – the Komen Dallas Race for the Cure. This included Sunwest’s role of managing all aspects of media relations for the race, which consisted of pre-race promotion as well as an extensive schedule of live interview coverage during the race.
Messaging developed for the Dallas affiliate by Sunwest in direct response to the crisis was also used by the national organization. Because the public relations plan surrounding the race was effective in its first year of implementation, the client continued utilizing Sunwest’s services each year until internal staff had grown and acquired the capability to once again manage the efforts in-house. Each of the five years that Sunwest promoted the race, attendance reached an average of 20,000 participants. In addition, Sunwest continued to secure new and positive media surrounding the fundraiser, garnering more than 4.1 million impressions in 2016.