Bank of America created an online content campaign to showcase its philanthropic efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Objective and Context:
In today's uncertain environment, people, businesses, and community organizations are applying their most innovative thinking to tackle a wide range of emerging problems. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bank of America invested in communities across the country and committed $100 million in local impact philanthropic grants. These grants were distributed to more than 1,000 local organizations that are working to address urgent issues like food insecurity, medical response, and protecting vulnerable populations.
Bank of America wanted to highlight its philanthropic effort in a way that showed its powerful impact while also putting the work of the recipients front and center. The brand needed to create an online content campaign that brought to life the myriad ways these groups are using Bank of America grants to address vital needs in their communities.
In addition to making this content visible in a crowded media environment, it also needed to be responsive to the pandemic. Rather than positioning itself as the hero of the story, Bank of America wanted to be shown as a responsible social actor working alongside other groups to address the healthcare crisis.
The target audience for this campaign consisted of local market and global influencers. These influencers are segmented into six categories: core members of the media industry, political professionals, government workers involved in policy-making, policy academics, financial experts, and executives and board members at charitable or community services organizations.
For this campaign, Bank of America created a cross-platform strategy with more than 75 assets (some still in development), including videos, articles, animations, and slideshows. To ensure that the campaign clearly illustrated the effect of Bank of America's philanthropy, the brand developed a narrative arc for the written assets to follow. This narrative outlined the mission of the nonprofit, the challenges each grant recipient faced with COVID-19, who they serve, how they adjusted, and how Bank of America's support helped them continue to provide for their communities. Storytelling was focused around three thematic pillars: Food Insecurity, Medical Supplies and Health Services, and Vulnerable Communities.
The Local Impact initiative built on Bank of America's long history of partnering with communities to address pressing needs. For more than230 years, the brand has helped its clients navigate turbulent times, and that experience has proved invaluable for responding to the pandemic. This year, the bank rapidly deployed support to critical community organizations across the U.S., and it remains committed to addressing the issues communities face. By leveraging the bank's financial resources and partnership experience, Bank of America's Local Impact initiative brought powerful solutions to places and people most in need during a challenging time.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The campaign centered on the Community page (https://bankofamerica.com/community) of the Bank of America website, and this page served as a home for all of the content created in the campaign. The campaign was intended to serve a wide range of content types and placement of that content.
Once the Community hub was live, Bank of America created the Partnering Locally page to help surface relevant stories for each user based on their location. To do that, the brand tagged and organized content based on location, and users could select cities from a dropdown menu to see what Local Impact projects Bank of America was supporting in their area.
To drive traffic to the hub, Bank of America utilized paid search, which ultimately generated 93 percent of the traffic to the page. In addition, content was distributed through Bank of America's influencer newsletter program (including placements in email newsletters from Axios, Politico, The Recount, and GZero), which helped make inroads with these subscriber bases and generated additional traffic. The campaign was promoted on Bank of America-owned social media, primarily the @bofa_News Twitter account.
Once the content went live on the Bank of America website, the brand 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, Bank of America was able to reach audiences via their preferred platform's social media or email newsletters and their preferred media type, such as articles, videos, and audio.
By utilizing its website as a focal point for 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 content rendered clearly for all mobile users, regardless of what device they used. In addition, the site is fully accessible, so visitors could be supported with various differences in sensory or motor abilities. The site offers a dictation feature, allowing visitors to adjust the visual contrast of the text, and it includes several other optimizations for browsing on mobile.
The Local Impact campaign generated impressive traction with a very wide audience. From launch in late May to mid-September, content saw more than 127,000 pageviews and more than 2,500 clicks. In addition, videos generated more than 1,300 plays with an average 16.1 percent video completion rate.
Taken together, these results clearly show that Bank of America met its campaign goals. By utilizing paid search and a cross-platform approach (email newsletter partnerships, social media promotion, and more), the brand was able to reach a broad target audience. Furthermore, the content structure delivered a strong message: Bank of America's philanthropy initiative is having a real impact and helping vital community organizations across the U.S. respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local Impact campaign vividly demonstrated Bank of America's commitment to making progress on society's biggest issues and to helping clients and communities in 91 markets across the U.S. The campaign also showed that audiences will respond to strong narratives that focus on action and addressing urgent needs.
By addressing the COVID-19 crisis head on, highlighting Bank of America's work as a resource and a partner in communities across the country, and putting the spotlight on local organizations, the Local Impact campaign surfaced authentic stories that resonated with a wide audience.