Oncology and Social Media
LIVESTRONG, an organization created by one of the worlds best cyclists, Lance Armstrong, and cancer survivor, Doug Ulman, has been highly successful in raising awareness and helping the cause against cancer over the past years. Not only has the organization touched the lives of millions of people, but it also has raised millions of dollars to fund the fight against this worldwide disease. The foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer and works in two areas: One by directly supporting survivors(people facing cancer and their family) and the other is by creating a global movement to battle the disease.
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Although the organization is relatively small with fewer than 90 employees based in one city, it has grown to be highly respected; yet CEO Doug Ulman is still faced with some tough questions concerning the growth and future of the organization and how they can best leverage their brand. It would be recommended that in order to keep promoting and raising awareness for LIVESTRONG’s events and cancer activism, they should really emphasize and continue to take advantage of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, websites, etc. , because they provide a inexpensive, effective and broad way of marketing.
Through these mediums of social media, they could answer questions, promote stories of cancer survivors, and provide a community for not only survivors but their families as well. They should also set up more events providing people with more personal experiences, such as mixers where people affected by cancer could gather, share their stories and meet face to face with others. Doug Ulman should also consider that if his goal is to create a national organization, advocating for people affected by cancer, that he may need expand offices to other places in the world, as currently they only have one located in Texas.
If he isn’t willing to do so and wants to keep his company small, he should then look into the possibility of having more relations with local, existing cancer activism groups in other places of the world. Provided the craze that LIVESTRONG wrist bands caused in the world, proving to be a simple, inexpensive band that created a community across all geographical, racial and age lines, they should continue to fundraise through more fashion products like so (T-shirts, sweaters, shorts, shoes, etc. ).
The wristbands not only sold more than 85 million, but they also were a way for everyday people to be philanthropists and donate an affordable amount of money and in return be able to show and feel like they are apart of the community of cancer survivors through a fashion item. However LIVESTRONG should recognize that one of the negatives of this whole campaign was that some people started purchasing the wristband for fashion purposes, instead of for the cause. To solve this problem with future items such as T-shirts, shorts, sweaters, etc. they could promote the main goal of the organization and make known to consumers what they were contributing to in buying LIVESTRONG products, possibly by adding tags on the article explaining this. Another concern Doug Ulman should have is that surrounding the doping allegations and multiple drug tests against Lance Armstrong, who is LIVESTRONG’s face and only “poster boy” for the organization. He should be worried of what would happen if these allegations turned out to be true, and how that would affect Armstrong’s reputation, which would reflect directly back on the LIVESTRONG brand.
To relieve the possibility of this happening, Ulman should consider using everyday survivors to promote the brand, someone who is relatable to the common public and isn’t necessarily a celebrity such as Lance is. In doing so, people would be buying and supporting for the organization, and survivors, not just for Lance Armstrong. People would also be able to share their stories, and compare their experiences with cancer to others. Finally, in questioning whether LIVESTRONG should continue on its partnership with Nike or if they should breakaway and do their own thing, dropping Nike would be to risky of a move to make.
Not only is Nike a highly reputable brand, but it also provides LIVESTRONG with someone who can produce and market their products, which brings in a considerable amount of revenue for the LIVESTRONG foundation. In dropping Nike, they would have to find another way to produce and promote these products, which would cause more problems than benefits. They can also use Nike to sponsor sporting events like the Tour De France, where all the bikers wore a yellow LIVESTRONG shirt, promoting their organization.
With cancer being the second most common cause of death in the US, it is expected that almost everybody in the country knows someone who has been affected by this tragic disease, and thus the strength of the community helping those affected should continue to grow. By using the power of social media, their sponsors, events, taking advantage of the LIVESTRONG brand, looking into expanding offices into other parts of the world and by using everyday local survivors to promote their brand, Doug Ulman should expect his organization to continue to grow and help raise awareness and support for cancer not only locally, but worldwide.