Public Relations Campaign celebrates diversity and achieves community relations goals
U.S. Bank Nevada was seeking a way to support its social responsibility program beyond pure philanthropy. It was looking to connect the bank to education and youth; leverage its national relationship with the NAACP; and, build a positive reputation in the community. The company’s Oregon bank had tested a youth a poetry contest, which opened the door for creative exploration of a similar approach in Nevada.
What Dotti Did
After researching the possibilities of a poetry contest with public school and community leaders, the U.S. Bank Black History Month Poetry Contest was conceived and launched. Here are the cornerstones of the contest, which was held in both southern (Las Vegas) and northern (Reno) Nevada for more than five consecutive years.
- A poetry contest to celebrate Black History Month (February) was promoted to all K-12 schools in each market. Relationships with school district leaders helped drive participation in the event.
- A panel of local community leaders was recruited to judge the entries, with 10 winners chosen in each market.
- A celebration and award event was held during Black History Month where each winning student performed his/her poem and received a plaque and cash award. Their classroom also received a cash award. The events included culturally appropriate entertainment and provided a forum for bank leaders to speak with the community.
- A book of winning poems was published annually. Copies were presented to each winning student and were available in U.S. Bank branches throughout February.
- Local television stations were engaged to promote the event and celebrate the winners. Partnerships included filming of each student performing their poem and turning those readings into PSAs that ran throughout the month.
- Winning poems were mounted and displayed at arts and cultural museums throughout the month.
- Media coverage was garnered from mainstream media, the school districts, and community groups.
The U.S. Bank Black History Month Poetry Contest grew in both reputation and participation each year and accomplished multiple goals for the bank: encouraged students of all backgrounds and ethnicities, along with the general public, to learn about black history in America; connected the bank with other organizations supportive of black history; generated donations to schools and to grants individuals; created media and PSA coverage for an entire month in the state’s two major markets; and, tied the bank to the African American community in a positive and productive way.