Icon Group mobilises in support of World Cancer Day

The old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, lit up in orange for World Cancer Day thanks to ICON Group
6 December 2021

In an interview with UICC, Icon’s Group Executive for Brand and Communication, Jenny Hansen, offers insight into how ICON leverages the UICC-led World Cancer Day campaign and provides tips for UICC members.

Icon Group has been a Vanguard partner of UICC since 2017 and has been a passionate supporter of World Cancer Day (WCD). Each year Jenny Hansen, Icon’s Group Executive for Brand and Communication, and her team plan ICON's activities for World Cancer Day, which gives a platform for their staff, patients, partners and community to speak up about the challenges that cancer brings.

Icon Group’s global network participates in the World Cancer Day campaign each year, which includes 104 sites across Australia, New Zealand, Mainland China, Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2021, Icon organised to have 41 landmarks across Australia and New Zealand lit up in blue and orange – a powerful symbol to show everyone stands together for a world less burdened by cancer. Icon Group’s World Cancer Day activities includes Icon Group’s Wall of Hearts – an online message board for Icon’s international Iconic Community of cancer patients and their loved ones, cancer centre doctors and staff and the organisations community partners, to share heartfelt pledges for World Cancer Day 2021.

Staff of ICON Group promoting World Cancer Day

The numbers from your engagement on World Cancer Day in 2021 tell a story of the energy and enthusiasm of your staff and patients. Where do you start when planning activities to leverage the global World Cancer Day campaign and empower your staff and patients to get involved, despite their everyday work or while undergoing cancer treatment?

When planning for World Cancer Day, we start by defining who we want to talk to. Spreading awareness and getting people to talk about cancer is the primary goal but we need to ensure the message is nuanced to meet what each person understands about cancer. For partners in cancer care, such as hospitals, clinicians and cancer support groups, we aim to get them involved in the campaign, so we are reaching a broader audience and getting the message out far and wide. For Icon team members, this is an opportunity for them to engage their own communities by talking about what they do and their unfailing commitment to their patients. Beyond this, we want our wonderful patients and their families to share their stories of inspiration and hope to lift others up on the same journey or remind their friends and community why we must advocate for our health and keep on top of vital screening programs.

Truthfully, most people don’t think about cancer until the unthinkable happens to them or someone they love. That is why it is so important to use every person and every channel to make noise on World Cancer Day. The digital world we live in is an opportunity to spread the message far and wide, and every person has a role to play.

Statistics from Icon Group's 2021 World Cancer Day Campaign

Statistics from Icon 2021 World Cancer Day Campaign

There is wonderful creativity involved in each year's engagement for World Cancer Day. How is this developed in the initial stages through to the day itself?

We always start with a brainstorming session where we review the global theme of WCD and outline the audiences we want to engage with as part of our activities. No idea is too big or small, it really is an open forum for creativity and finding the right fit that brings WCD and its aims to life within Icon. 

The breadth of our engagement in World Cancer Day is significant. While the central part of the day is an overarching activity that engages people in sharing their WCD messages of support, we also seek wider opportunities. This includes working with media outlets to publish patient stories, undertake education activities for the medical community, light up landmarks for awareness, leverage partners to spread the word in a broad social campaign and announce professional development opportunities for team members to immerse themselves in the global cancer conversation via UICC opportunities. 

Nurses in Townsville, Australia, promoting World Cancer Day

In 2021, the pandemic saw us get more creative on the digital front and I can only see this evolving over coming years. We have all become more technically savvy and last year we gave patients a note with a QR code to make their pledge online where they were displayed on a virtual ’Wall of Hearts’. Patients were also encouraged to visit the board and read the messages of hope and inspiration, which is so important when they are navigating their own cancer diagnosis. The ability of these heartfelt messages to lift someone up on a bad day can’t be underestimated.

What involvement does Icon have in lighting up landmarks, which is an important element of the global World Cancer Day campaign? How do you identify a plan around that? 

Icon works with partner organisations across our global network to identify and light up landmarks or assist cancer support groups in actioning this. Last year, Icon personally arranged 41 landmarks to be lit across our international locations. However, it is important we aim for more than just ‘lighting up’. We work with each location to ensure they are profiling the significance of World Cancer Day to help spread awareness further, especially across their social channels. 

What other practical tips on making the most of all UICC's resources and bringing your own identity to a campaign can you give to our member organisations?

Cancer survivor promoting World Cancer Day

I think it’s important to understand what will resonate within an organisation’s community. Icon is at the frontline of cancer care so our mission is directly linked to everything World Cancer Day is aiming to achieve, but cancer is unfortunately a universal experience and organisations from any industry would benefit from supporting the day. Whether it’s encouraging teams to add their voice to the conversation via a social media post, utilising the day to promote donating to a cancer charity, or simply asking people to reach out to someone they love who might be going through cancer, every small action adds to the global conversation.  

My advice would be to start at the beginning and recognise the day in a manner that speaks to your audience. Use the tools available on the World Cancer Day website and see how it might spark a conversation in your community. At the end of the day, everyone has sadly been affected by cancer in some way, so stand up and be part of the conversation! 

To find out more about Icon Group’s contribution to World Cancer Day visit https://icongroup.global/world-cancer-day/


About Jenny Hansen
Jenny Hansen, Icon’s Group Executive for Brand and Communication

With more than 20 years’ marketing experience in the healthcare sector, Jenny brings powerful insights and understanding to her role growing the Icon Group brand. Jenny has worked across a wide range of healthcare sectors including private hospital, diagnostics and allied health, in both profit and not-for-profit organisations.
She joined Epic Pharmacy in 2008 and since that time has delivered a number of significant milestones including the rebranding of Epic Pharmacy (formerly APHS), the early formation of Icon’s day oncology business and the Group’s foray into international markets. She is integral to the success of establishing a strong and consistent Icon brand at all levels.
Jenny is focused on implementing robust and effective strategies to cement Icon Group as the cornerstone of cancer care. This includes supporting the growth and diversification of the Group’s business units, facilitating effective entry into new markets and delivering on Icon’s mission to address the global cancer burden.

Last update: 
Monday 6 December 2021