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Promoting the $100M LA COVID Fund

By November 24, 2020 No Comments

Elevating Equity for LA’s Most Vulnerable

The pandemic has had devastating effects on the local economy and its evident at almost every turn, with businesses being boarded up and “For Lease” signs where busy storefronts once existed. While there are a variety of federal programs designed to address the crisis, financial, technical and cultural barriers have kept many of our neighborhood businesses from accessing these resources. In response, the City and the County of Los Angeles created the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund, a $100 million grant program for small businesses, micro-entrepreneurs and non-profits.
Our client, LISC LA, was selected to be the Fund Administrator. As a non-profit community development financial institution, LISC works to build equitable, thriving communities within Los Angeles, making them the right partner to ensure that this wave of financial relief reaches underserved communities throughout the county. From the Fund’s inception, Cerrell has supported this program by implementing a comprehensive, strategic communications and marketing program consisting of the following:
Branding & Message Development
Earned
Media
Digital
Marketing
Community
Outreach

Branding & Message Development

For any campaign to be successful, it needs a powerful brand. Our task was to design a simple yet bold visual identity to ensure that the LA business community would have no trouble identifying the Fund throughout the duration of the grant program. After much deliberation, LISC chose the following logo design to represent this program:

To accompany the newly designed logo, we developed a brand book for LISC and its partners to use when promoting the Fund, complete with alternate logos, color palette, font families, photography style, and social media messaging. Cerrell worked with LISC to identify a website template that best suited its needs and assisted in the framing and message development that would be used in all communications and marketing materials.

Earned Media

When the LA Regional COVID Fund grew from $3 million dollars to $100 million dollars thanks to CARES Act funding, Cerrell got to work acquiring media coverage, securing placements on Spectrum News1, CBS2, NBC4, LA Daily News, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, LAist, Los Angeles Times as well as mulitcultural outlets like La Opinión, Telemundo and Korea Daily. Our team accomplished this by creating press releases for each of the six rounds of funding, developing a media kit for reporters, and pitching to a targeted list of reporters between August and November to secure coverage. Cerrell interviewed grant recipients to create “Recipient Profiles” – compelling stories that were essential in our efforts to secure media coverage, promote the Fund and generate positive PR for grant recipient businesses and non-profits.

Digital Marketing

One of the more complex components of our work was the creation of a bilingual paid digital marketing campaign to increase grant applications in targeted, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods to reach diverse business owners and non-profits. Our media plan relied heavily on digital strategies, including social media, display and video, streaming video and audio, email, and digital radio to generate awareness and drive traffic to the Fund’s website. Over 30 million highly targeted impressions were delivered – including over 439,400 bonus impressions – within the approved budget!

Community Outreach

To complement our earned media and digital marketing program, the Cerrell team employed a grassroots outreach campaign, connecting with over 500 cities, chambers, elected officials and community organizations to ensure the Fund reached its target audience. We created an outreach toolkit for these entities to use across their communications channels that included an informational flyer, email template and social media package, all of which were offered in both English and Spanish.

The LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund concluded its final round of grant funding on Sunday, November 15, and the response has been tremendous. To date, LISC has processed over 135,000 applications and awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to 7,000 entities and counting. Grants are being used to pay rent and staff salaries, buy PPE and sanitizing supplies, convert from in-person services to online, and ensure businesses can keep their doors open and operate safely as COVID-19 continues to affect our lives and livelihoods.

While experts say the road to economic recovery is long, the LA COVID Fund is bringing welcome relief to neighborhood businesses and non-profits. For more information about Cerrell’s communications and marketing services, please contact Amy at [email protected].

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