Just as August was coming to a close, Bank of America announced its new initiative to make buying a home easier and more affordable for Black and Hispanic/Latino communities, which includes zero-down-payment and zero-closing mortgages for first-time home buyers.
The announcement was met with a flurry of media coverage on August 30th and 31st, resulting in 127 articles being published in those two days. One article in particular was able to capture so much public interest that it ended up being the biggest brand story in August, sneaking into the line up as it was published on the last day of the month.
The story from NBC News discussed Bank of America’s new Community Affordable Loan Solution, and highlighted the disparities between white, Black, and Hispanic homebuyers. Out of the top 250 brand stories in August, NBC’s article was one of three to receive over 100k engagements, earning the number one spot with 111k. Conversations around the new program, however, were not exclusively positive, with some conservative publishers offering a different opinion on what it could mean as coverage continued into early September.
The Daily Wire first reported on BoA’s program on Sept 1st and then again later on Sept 5th, both of which discussed the controversies around it, such as how it could potentially violate the law in certain states where businesses are prohibited from discriminating against consumers, and financial experts warning that the program might backfire. Together the articles saw tens of thousands of engagements.
Although there was only one article about the loan program in August’s top brand stories, BoA stood out among brands for its focus on diversity initiatives, which proved to be a topic of interest in other brand stories, like Barbie adding Madam C.J. Walker — the first self-made female millionaire — to its line of inspiring Women dolls.
Let’s take a look at what other brands and stories stood out in August.
1. UPS gets called out for dangerous working conditions
UPS has faced criticism this summer as a number of drivers have spoken out about the extreme summer temperatures making their job difficult and dangerous. There were four stories about the hot working conditions drivers have faced, which together saw over 78k engagements.
The top article came from CBS and was about UPS heat stroke cases increasing nationwide, with union representatives urging for air conditioning to be installed in drivers’ trucks (30k). This was an issue that publishers began reporting on in July and has continued to spill over into August’s biggest stories, showing how strongly employee working conditions resonate with the public.
2. Apple employees voice opinions on returning to the office
Continuing on the topic of employees, Apple found itself in the headlines last month for more than just product-related news. This was due to a group of workers known as Apple Together pushing back against the company’s return to office plans.
Apple had informed employees that it would soon require in-person attendance three days a week, which resulted in a petition from Apple Together that argue’s the tech giant should encourage flexible work. The two articles about the employee pushback received 34k engagements.
3. NBC News steals the top publisher spot from Business Insider
August saw a rearranging of the top publishers writing about brands, with NBC News pushing Business Insider out of the number one spot after two consecutive months.
NBC News was responsible for 12 of the top 250 articles (5%) which together earned over 296k engagements, 7% of all public interest. This was driven by its story about Bank of America, which accounted for over one third of its overall engagement.
August showed us that the public cared less about tangible items and more about what brands were offering consumers and employees that could actually be of value to their livelihood. Whether that is through Bank of America’s new program or UPS addressing complaints from drivers around the country, it was clear that they were resonating with audiences online.
To read more about the top content and publishers each month, check out our Facebook rankings here.