Harness the power of celebrity to spread the patient advocacy message

Sep 17, 2019
Harness the power of celebrity to spread the patient advocacy message

When it comes to getting noticed in the 21st century, patient advocacy groups should never underestimate the power of celebrity.

Over the past year, Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has enlisted the help of Hollywood royalty to get media attention – and their message out to the people who need it.

Colleen McKenna, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations at PCF, told Change Together: “Having a celebrity ambassador communicate our message of early detection and education allows us to reach a greater number of people.”

“For better or worse, many publications prefer to feature celebrities rather than subject matter experts alone.”

A personal connection

Each of the high-profile individuals who have worked with the group have a personal connection to prostate cancer. It means they understand the importance of the message and the power of education to save lives.

“We have been so fortunate that high-profile individuals have stepped up to assist PCF with getting the word out about our work and especially the importance of early detection,” explains Colleen.

The foundation, which is committed to tackling the significant racial disparities that impact the disease, particularly for African American men, recruited Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg to promote its guide, Additional Facts for African American Men and Their Families.

Reaching more people

Colleen’s advice to fellow patient advocacy groups is to connect their celebrity backers to existing news stories or events. “At the core of each campaign is information that leads men and their families to PCF’s excellent patient resources.”

In February, for example, the group worked with celebrity couple Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd. The pair, who became PCF ambassadors after losing Shepherd’s stepfather to prostate cancer, secured TV appearances including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and have run hugely successful social media campaigns.

“We are so grateful to the ambassadors who have given us so much of their time to help us reach many more people than we could alone with the important prostate cancer awareness information,” says Colleen.

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Harness the power of celebrity to spread the patient advocacy message

Colleen McKenna is a strategic, innovative and highly-creative marketing professional with more than 20 years of diverse experience spanning the tech and non-profit sectors. She is a skilled leader with a proven track record of designing and implementing integrated marketing programs and global public relations strategies to engage consumers in meaningful and lasting way.

Colleen currently serves as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). She is responsible for the overall elevation of the PCF brand and its mission to defeat prostate cancer. Colleen leads the creation, management and execution of strategies for all marketing and communications efforts to advance the mission of PCF. She is also responsible for leading and overseeing management of media opportunities, coordinating all outreach to media on behalf of the President and CEO. Under her management, the organization has built a lean and effective marketing and communications team that works in support of all departments on behalf of the strategic initiatives of PCF. Additionally, Colleen serves as the global lead for creating and implementing the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s new peer to peer fundraising initiative, Many vs Cancer.

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