Building a bonds dynasty

Chernoff Newman celebrates two decades and a twelfth consecutive win on bonds referenda in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

November 9, 2022

John Wooden, eat your heart out.

College hoops fans remember with reverence the late, legendary coach for winning ten NCAA men’s college basketball championships as head coach for the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins.

Aspiring to that level of dominance, Chernoff Newman on Election Day celebrated a twelfth consecutive win on bonds referenda in Charlotte-Mecklenburg dating back two decades.

We’ve been communications counsel for campaigns managed by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance that have won voter approval for $4.2 billion in public investments for K-12 schools, streets, affordable housing, neighborhoods, community colleges and parks. From 2002 to this past Tuesday, voters have approved 34 separate bonds questions by an average of 68%.

Celebrating victory once again

This year’s campaign was for a $226 million bond package to improve city streets and intersections ($146.2 million), protect neighborhoods ($29.8 million) and build more affordable housing ($50 million). Charlotte voters overwhelmingly said “yes” to all three by more than 75% margins.

What was the key? An effective mix of old and new methods to engage voters and earn their trust, reflecting local experience and insight combined with modern best practices in political campaigns across the nation.

There were traditional resources such as yard signs, lapel stickers and reams of printed materials like fliers and palm cards. Five flights of direct mail. A robust volunteer program sent speakers to community meetings and to work at polling sites. Good old-fashioned news media relations generated earned media coverage.

printed cut-outs of campaign volunteers and supportersWe designed and printed cut-outs of campaign volunteers and supporters, including City of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, which were placed at polling places across the city.

But an ever-growing chunk of the budget was deployed for online and digital applications. We pushed messages on multiple channels including a website, social media, OTT and streaming, digital banner advertisements and terrestrial radio. And in the run-up to the election, a targeted robocalling program anchored the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort.

Multiple campaign videos were produced to promote the three bonds and were used in digital ads and organic social media posts. 

In many respects, the 2022 “Vote Yes For Bonds” campaign epitomized what Chernoff Newman is best at: delivering a fully integrated, omnichannel approach designed to meet consumers (in this case, voters) where they are, with credible and understandable information they want, when they need it, in order to achieve the outcome our clients are after.

Winning feels good — especially when our work delivers big-time public benefit.

Let us help you start a winning streak of your own.

Chernoff Newman has deep category experience in agriculture, food and beverage, education and workforce development, energy, economic development, financial/insurance, healthcare and infrastructure. We design integrated marketing and strategic communications that are impactful, thought-provoking and influential. We marry ingenuity with business know-how to influence beliefs and behaviors for brands, companies and their many stakeholders. We influence attitude and inclination. We influence opinion and outcomes. And when needed, we also influence to quell contention.