Bank of America undertook a campaign to showcase the social good that it has been accomplishing on behalf of racial justice through a $1 billion dollar initiative.
Objective and Context:
According to Bank of America, the coronavirus has exacerbated deep racial inequalities in the United States and abroad, and combined with the tragic killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd this year, the need for social progress has never been greater. In June 2020, Bank of America announced that it would commit $1 billion over four years to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in the U.S. The company's task was to bring this historic effort to the attention of the public and highlight the ways in which Bank of America's commitment has been creating change in communities across the country.
The $1 billion initiative worked in tandem with Bank of America's other coronavirus-related philanthropic initiatives (specifically, the "Local Impact" campaign), but it also included support for affordable housing, health services, job training, and small businesses. Bank of America needed to expand beyond traditional philanthropy for this campaign and focus on business reasons for long-term community investment and empowerment. That involved creating a more deliberate, intentional approach to highlight the ways in which Bank of America was supporting Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities, especially in ways that promoted economic mobility and social justice.
The first year of a four-year commitment from Bank of America has established awareness and the bank's continued commitment to supporting vulnerable populations. The campaign was developed to show how Bank of America's initiative is providing resources and assistance to Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities in the midst of the coronavirus and social unrest. Both groups have been historically marginalized and discriminated against and have also been particularly harmed by COVID-19. Bank of America focused its investments on supporting partners and programs in four key areas: health care, small business success, jobs, and housing.
Additional content over the next three years will help illustrate the ongoing impact of the $1 billion initiative.
The target audiences for this campaign are local market and global influencers. These influencers are segmented into six categories: core members of the media industry, political professionals, government workers involved in policymaking, policy academics, financial experts, and executives and board members at charitable or community services organizations.
For this campaign, Bank of America developed a cross-platform strategy with creative assets including videos, articles, and podcast episodes. To clearly illustrate the effect of Bank of America's commitment, the organization highlighted how various organizations utilized bank grants to better serve their communities — like the case of a hospital in Atlanta, Ga. that used its grant to increase acute patient care capacity or the case in which the bank's support helped the El Paso Community Foundation hire laid-off restaurant employees to work in a local food bank.
Overall, Bank of America organized its messaging around four thematic pillars to mirror the focus areas of the $1 billion initiative:
In addition, the company utilized the That Made All the Difference podcast (developed in partnership with T Brand Studio) and the Here's Something Good podcast (in partnership with Seneca and iHeart Radio). Episodes featured guests such as Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick and civil rights activist Janet MurguÃa and highlighted their work to battle systemic inequality.
By focusing on individual stories, Bank of America shed light on the issues that Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities face and demonstrated how Bank of America's financial support is empowering local organizations to address these challenges. Racial justice will not happen overnight, but with private sector help, we can accelerate its realization.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The campaign centered on a new anchor page of the Bank of America website. Bank of America deliberately chose to make the campaign very wide-ranging, both in content types and in the placement of that content.
To make it easy for users to find relevant stories, Bank of America tagged and organized content based on location; users could select cities on the Partnering Locally page to see what projects Bank of America was supporting in their area. To increase traffic to the page, the company utilized paid search, which ultimately generated 93 percent of the traffic to the page. In addition, Bank of America distributed content through the company's influencer newsletter program (including placements in email newsletters from Axios, Politico, The Recount, and GZero), which helped the company make inroads with these subscriber bases and drove additional traffic. Finally, Bank of America also promoted the campaign on Bank-owned social media, primarily the @bofa_News Twitter account and executive accounts.
Once the content went live on the company's website, Bank of America worked to get it in front of the widest possible audience by following a platform-agnostic approach and utilizing as many media types as possible. By creating content in various media from the outset, the company was able to reach audiences on their preferred platform, social media outlet, or email newsletters and reach them with their preferred media type, such as articles, videos, and audio.
Utilizing the Bank of America website as a focal point for the campaign's content, Bank of America was able to take advantage of several mobile-friendly features that are built into the site. First, the site leverages Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to responsively optimize the display via media queries across all device resolutions. This ensured that the campaign's content rendered clearly for all mobile users, regardless of what device they used.
In addition, the site is fully accessible, so Bank of America could support visitors with differences in sensory or motor abilities. The site offers a dictation feature, allows visitors to adjust the visual contrast of the text, and includes several other optimizations for browsing on mobile.
Overall, the $1 billion campaign generated impressive traction across a wide audience. The campaign anchor page alone logged nearly 3,400 pageviews, and a full 10 percent of those pageviews came from the company's influencer newsletters, which illustrated the effectiveness of that distribution channel. Other pages highlighting Bank of America grant recipients within the initiative saw steady traffic as well: The articles associated with the $1 billion campaign generated over 4,300 page-views combined.
Taken together, these results demonstrate the campaign's success. By utilizing paid search and a cross-platform approach (email newsletter partnerships, social media promotion, and more), Bank of America was able to reach a broad target audience. Furthermore, Bank of America saw high engagement with a content structure that delivered a strong message: Bank of America's initiative is having a real impact in addressing the issues that communities of color experience.