Cover Story: New Media … Same Strategy
“The American Cancer Society brand has always certainly been strong consistently over the last 10 years,” says Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer with the American Cancer Society. “As we do our surveys, we know that we have huge brand recognition, somewhere around the 98 percent mark. So we’re saturated pretty much as far as people recognizing the American Cancer Society name. But what we realized is that even though they recognize that and they can name us, they really don’t know what we do.”
One of the key components of the revitalization effort is “The Official Sponsor Of Birthdays” campaign, which strives to spotlight the role ACS has played in decreasing the cancer death rate by 15 percent since the 1990s, meaning nearly 100,000 more people celebrate birthdays annually.
“The Official Sponsor Of Birthdays” campaign is an integrated effort that includes TV and print ads that drive people to morebirthdays.com, where they can sign up and declare the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of their birthdays. Web visitors who do that can create personal birthday fundraising Web pages that ask people for donations to fight cancer in lieu of birthday gifts; spread the word via a Facebook application that also encourages friends to donate to ACS in lieu of gifts; visit the birthdays blog
(officialbirthdayblog.com); and send e-cards to friends and family.
“As we began to watch the phenomena of the social networks, what we realized is that it’s really just still about community,” Music says. “It’s just a different kind of community. It’s building your select network of friends, acquaintances and family. Community building is really what we’ve done our
entire existence at the ACS. We communicate with communities that support the American Cancer Society. We really feel like social media is just the next evolution of community building.”