October 13/20, 2014; Volume 28/Number 9
Helping the cause while highlighting product
By Jenna Lippin
Susan G. Komen, the organization that has helped fund lifesaving community programs and innovative breast cancer research for the last 30-plus years, is continuing its partnership with Mohawk through the flooring company’s Decorate for the Cure and Specify for a Cure initiatives that are spotlighted throughout October. Mohawk has raised over $3 million since it began its collaboration with Susan G. Komen 15 years ago, participating in the cause through every facet of its business.
Having raised more than $847 million since its inception, Komen is the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research in the world. The group works to fund research along the entire continuum of care—from basic science to understand more about breast cancer, to identifying key developments that help deliver specific and individual treatment of women. Better screening options, the study of breast cancer recurrence and funding to guarantee continued research by bright, young scientists are some of the main goals of the organization, including donating funds to early detection research, helping fight breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage.
Susan G. Komen affiliates currently work in 117 communities throughout the U.S., funding programs that provide education, screening and treatment services to uninsured or underinsured women, as well as those who have no way to get to doctors, need help paying for groceries, require assistance for utilities, etc., so they can focus on getting better. Since the foundation began its efforts, $1.8 billion has been invested in these community programs.
“So many people want to know what we have done with the money and time donated,” said Carrie Glassock, Susan G. Komen’s director of corporate relations. “It’s so important we tell people that since 1990 we have helped lower breast cancer’s mortality rate by 34%. Less women are dying from the disease, thanks in part to major advances made possible by Komen. We are only able to make these significant strides because of partners like Mohawk and the work they do throughout their fund marketing program to help raise awareness.”
Mohawk originally partnered with Susan G. Komen in 2001, recognizing the importance of the cause and developing a desire to give back to those affected by breast cancer, including customers, dealers and Mohawk employees. Today, Susan G. Komen continues to work with the manufacturer to develop ways in which it can become more involved with local communities.
The Decorate for the Cure program from Mohawk is comprised primarily of the sales of SmartCushion and Karastep premium carpet cushion. “These products provide peace of mind that the cushion is extending the Mohawk warranty plus providing ultimate comfort,” said Mollie Surratt, senior director of public relations and content, Mohawk. “Then you get that great, warm, fuzzy feeling at point of purchase because you’re contributing to Susan G. Komen.”
Cause marketing helps increase the likelihood of a consumer purchasing SmartCushion and KaraStep; if she knows her money is going to a good cause, she is more willing to make that purchase. “So many of us have been affected by breast cancer,” Surratt added. “This cause is perfect for Mohawk’s demographic [young to middle-aged females] and our brand story.”
SmartCushion by Mohawk and Karastep by Karastan both protect carpet and provide additional comfort, durability and an instant warranty upgrade. As part of Decorate for the Cure, Mohawk donates between $.02 and $.15 per square yard of SmartCushion or Karastep carpet cushion to Susan G. Komen with an aggregate guaranteed minimum donation of $200,000. To further promote the Decorate for the Cure initiative, both the Mohawk Flooring and Karastan websites have been “pinkwashed” since Oct. 1.
“We are driving visitors to the site to click on the banner and learn more about Decorate for the Cure, and there is updated content on the landing pages,” Surratt explained. “We’re focusing on breast cancer awareness and education in all of our social channels, including blog posts shared throughout the month of October on Creative Home. (creativehome.mohawkflooring.com) Our overall strategy is all about engaging the consumer. We want to build personal relationships with Mohawk so consumers will keep us top of mind when buying and will come back to us and refer us.” Surratt personally creates and writes blog content, particularly because her mom is a breast cancer survivor.
“Komen is great to be involved with corporately,” she added. “We are among Best in Class brands along with names like Bank of America, New Balance—those with strong brand recognition in the marketplace.
On the commercial side, Mohawk Group is promoting its Specify for a Cure program. Under the program, for every 500 yards of carpet or more from any of the eligible Mohawk Group carpet collections or any Durkan print carpet specified, Mohawk Group will donate $.25 per square yard to Susan G. Komen. Since 2001, Mohawk Group has contributed more than $3.03 million to Komen on behalf of its customers and employees, leading to its membership in Komen’s Pink Ribbon circle.
While October is officially Breast Cancer Awareness month, Mohawk’s Decorate for the Cure and Specify for a Cure do not end in November. Efforts during this month are, in fact, highlighted, but the company continues its involvement with Susan G. Komen year round. “Of course we want to be part of the effort in October, but it is important from a cause standpoint and a business standpoint throughout the year,” Surratt noted. “Next year we will work on providing more support in connecting our retailers with their local Susan G. Komen affiliates, providing more support and content storytelling. We anticipate 2015 will be the best year yet with the organization.”