Aug 17 2009
When you start seeing photos like this one, you know a brand has superseded it’s organization to become something beyond just, “fight cancer.” There’s no question that the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s singleness of purpose is just that, and the organization does a fantastic job building awareness and raising money for cancer prevention and research. Below find an interview with LIVESTRONG’s Online Community Evangelist Brooke McMillan. But first, a little marketing analysis.
No other brand in the cancer segment of the nonprofit space has this kind of movement behind it. And there are some great organizations like Alex’s Lemonade Stand (full disclosure, my sister Joanne Marder is the office manager at Alex’s) and the venerable American Cancer Society.
The difference lies in the brand’s promise to people, which transcends cancer and brings hope to cancer patients, survivors, their families and society in general. LIVESTRONG brings hope to all. For many, the LIVESTRONG brand means:
Together, we can overcome anything.
Who doesn’t want to fight great challenges in life and be a winner? With Lance Armstrong’s Foundation, you can. And that’s why the nonprofit has almost 600,000 Facebook fans, has people all over the world sliding on yellow wrist bracelets (though I am told such things are out of fashion for any other cause) and donating money, and yes, just like that venerable brand Harley Davidson (FREEDOM!), it has people tattooing the brand on their bodies.
LIVESTRONG has transcended social media tools, it’s cause, and perhaps even its founder to become a true movement. And it also has become one of the strongest brands in America, nonprofit or not.
Brooke McMillan Breaks Down LIVESTRONG’s Online Effort
Brooke McMillan is the online community evangelist for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Brooke started with the LAF in April of 2004 as the first LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare Coordinator helping thousands affected by cancer get educational information. Brooke reaches out proactively via online tools such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LIVESTRONG.com, the LIVESTRONG Blog, Flicker, YouTube and more to build the community and raise awareness of the organization’s efforts.
Q: How is it working with Lance Armstrong?
A: He’s great. Very dedicated to the cause and to making cancer a priority all over the world. Walks the talk more than anyone Ive ever met.
Q: How has social media benefitted the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG)?
A: I think it has sped up relationships with our supporters. Relationships with our supporters that would (in the past) have taken months or years to develop take much less time. Ive recruited folks all over the world to help in the fight against cancer, support LIVESTRONG and help their friends/family members deal with cancer…its humbling and awesome.
Q: What’s your favorite social media tool?
A: I like facebook- mostly because our fans are so great-600,000 people. Always something to talk about. Twitter has been good for us too. Spurred a lot of conversations that Ive been able to take, write about on our blog. Good stuff.
Q: What new tools are you looking at?
A: Using ustream for the first time at our global cancer summit this coming week. They are building out a special facebook ustream channel for us. Here’s the link to where the show will be http://www.ustream.tv/channel/livestrong-summit
The tdf is always a crazy time for us. I was around when LA won the 7th tour in 2005 and honestly have been missing that pure energy that takes place around the office. As a team-it pumps us up. Reminds us why we are a truly unique organization and brings us together as a staff/as a movement. We have an international stage.
Lance was able to get our message out to this huge audience. Nike gave us 15 videos to use as part of their “Its About You” campaign. The stories are all about people that have done amazing things after cancer or after a fight with another disease.
Content is king…especially when the content is as powerful as this stuff.—my favorite video in this series was either LIVESTRONG Films: Lance Mackey or LIVESTRONG Films: Sean. Watch them..you wont be sorry.
Q: How do you see online media affecting societal change?
A: Like I said above—social media speeds up the process of locating supporters, spreading our message, gathering feedback. Its still the same message as before, but the method of delivery has changed—we can also deliver that message really fast and to an enormous amount of people.
It also lifts up that curtain that people hide behind—that fear of telling others about your cancer, your fears, sharing your story. This is especially important in countries where cancer is still highly stigmatized. We have been able to make positive strides in these countries by being online and accessible and engaging. That will be our crowning accomplishment I think.
Q: What’s next for Brooke McMillan?
A: This! I am exactly where I want to be. Can’t ask for anything more than that.