Scandal Rocks America's Support for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, According to 23rd Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study
SGK suffers second-highest drop in study history; however, indicators look good for bounce-back if commitment to core mission is re-established
NEW YORK, March 27, 2012 - This past February's public outrage over Susan G. Komen for the Cure®'s (SGK) decision to defund, and then reinstate funding for, cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood has resulted in steep drops in the "brand health" of the non-profit organization, according to the EquiTrend study (EQ). EQ is a major brand equity study released by Harris Interactive, a leading market research firm that specializes in corporate reputation and brand health research.
A Historic Drop, Surpassed Only by Fannie Mae
Based on findings reported in the 2012 Harris Poll® EquiTrend® study, Susan G. Komen's current brand equity score of 55.1 represents a 21% drop in brand equity over the prior year ─ a historic drop in the study's 23-year history, surpassed only by Fannie Mae in 2009.
From "Gold Standard" to "Trailing the Pack"
Since its inclusion in the EquiTrend survey in 2008, Susan G. Komen has consistently rated as either the first or second most equitable non-profit organization in its category. This year, SGK fell 54 spots to 56th place out of 79 non-profit brands surveyed.
"Since it was first surveyed in EquiTrend, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has in many ways represented the 'gold standard' among non-profits measured in our study, consistently reporting high scores for quality, the willingness to recommend and, most importantly, trust. Now, Komen finds itself near the bottom of the pack on all of these items," says Robert Fronk, Executive Vice President and Corporate Reputation Practice Head at Harris Interactive.
- By comparison, Stand Up to Cancer™ (a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation), the American Cancer Society®, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®—who, like SGK, are dedicated to the early detection and treatment of cancer—rank in the top 12 brands among all non-profits surveyed. Additionally, these three brands rank in the top four among health-focused non-profits, with Stand Up to Cancer ranked highest.
- Negative feelings towards Susan G. Komen have also skyrocketed in the past year, from an extremely low 4% in 2011 to 18% now, a 350% increase.
What is the Road to Recovery?
"Despite these negatives," Fronk says, "the EquiTrend results suggest there's a road to recovery for Komen."
For example, Susan G. Komen's decline appears to be due primarily to confusion and anger over its decision not to fund breast exams, as opposed to any strong feelings towards Planned Parenthood. Of the 79 non-profit organizations in EquiTrend, Planned Parenthood ranks 76th in brand equity.
In addition, while SGK reports a 27% decline in positive perceptions of its leadership this year, its fall was from an already-high position, which has allowed Susan G. Komen to still rank in the top 15 among non-profits in terms of leadership. It trails organizations like Doctors Without Borders /Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity®, and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.
"While these and other measures have leveled the playing field for other competitive non-profits to move in the market, this may be good news for Komen," says Fronk. "After all, they still rank well on many key measures, despite a serious drop in brand equity. This suggests that they have the ability to bounce back - at least some of the way - if they can re-establish the commitment to their mission."
For more information on the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
About Harris Poll EquiTrend ®
Harris Poll EquiTrend® is a leading Brand Equity tracking study conducted by Harris Interactive that measures and compares brand health for more than 1,500 brands. The study was conducted online from January 31 through February 20, 2012 and analyzes the responses of over 37,500 consumers on key measures of brand health - including how well the public knows a brand, how positively they think of the brand and their consideration to do business with or donate to a brand. Each brand is rated 1,000 times among respondents who are familiar with the brand. Harris Interactive has conducted its EquiTrend study regularly since 1989, and can offer yearly trended data from 2005. The Equity Score, a key take-away from EquiTrend, has been validated against financial performance by Georgetown University.
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About Harris Interactive
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