DALLAS, TX: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a nonprofit supporting breast cancer research and funding, hired The Morris & King Company as its first national AOR since 2008, effective this week.
Komen CMO Katrina McGhee told PRWeek an urgency in the marketplace related to healthcare reform, state legislature changes surrounding coverage, and various other shifts exaggerated the need for consistent messaging and communications via PR, social media, and online media relations support.
“Our capacity to get urgent and relevant information, in real time, to as broad an audience as possible lead to the conclusion that we needed to supplement our work with an agency,” she said.
The organization, which has an internal communications team of six, conducted an informal search and chose Morris & King for both its small size and its experience in the lifestyle and healthcare arenas. The relationship represents a 14-month contract.
A friendship between Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker and agency partner and co-principal Judith King sparked the initial relationship.
In 2008, the organization ended its relationship with previous AOR Weber Shandwick, in part due to economic challenges, she explained.
“Our decision to downsize the number of agencies supporting our work, along with our staff, was one of the tough choices we made in 2008 so we could keep our investment in research and community programs at the same level and, [in some cases], expand them,” she said.
Referring to current challenges in healthcare and a long-standing goal to discover new treatments and ultimately a cure for breast cancer, she added, “It was important for us to reach out to a broader community with messaging that's innovative and relevant and includes a clear call to action. We needed help to do that.”
Lead by SVP Caren Browning, the agency's healthcare foundations and life sciences group will work on a few of the organization's health sciences initiatives and promote health research news amongst consumers.
"We have a deep understanding of pure science and a tremendous amount of lifestyle [business]," said King.
The organization currently works with a variety of agencies either on a regional or project basis. They include Edelman on the West coast, Ketchum in New York, Barkley on a special project, and a number of agencies in DC.