Branding and Voice Guide
Table of Contents
WHAT IS KTOWN FOR ALL?
Ktown for All is a volunteer-led grassroots organization serving Koreatown’s homeless community members through direct aid, political advocacy, and networking and coalition building.
KTOWN FOR ALL GOALS
Our goal is to make Koreatown a more inclusive and vibrant community by working with and advocating for our homeless neighbors. Homelessness in Koreatown and Los Angeles more broadly is a crisis. We seek to ameliorate the suffering it causes in our own neighborhood and advocate for policies that respect the rights, dignity, and needs of the unhoused.
In order to achieve these goals, we work in the following areas:
DIRECT OUTREACH: Our advocacy efforts begin with getting to know our neighbors. Each week, we gather resources like food, water, and hygiene supplies to distribute to our homeless neighbors. Providing basic material assistance helps us to build relationships with people living on the streets of our neighborhood. These relationships in turn help us better understand the needs and preferences of Koreatown’s unhoused population, making us more effective advocates on their behalf. We also strive to empower our homeless neighbors to advocate for their own interests.
POLITICAL ADVOCACY: Ktown for All was founded as a countermovement to anti-shelter organizing in Ktown. Through planning our own actions and supporting those of allied groups, our goal is to amplify the voice of the unhoused in the political process in Los Angeles. Our political organizing focuses on advocating for more housing and services for homeless Angelenos, equitable housing policies in LA and across the state, and eliminating policies that criminalize homelessness.
NETWORKING AND COALITION BUILDING: We are most effective if we are part of a broad movement. Ktown for All helps to connect individuals, organizations, and resources that are working on issues related to homelessness.
VOICE AND TONE OF KTOWN FOR ALL
– As a grassroots organization, Ktown for All speaks in the first-person plural, as we are fellow citizens of Los Angeles.
– We are plainspoken. Homelessness is a vast and complex problem, and we want to strip away the language of government officials and policymakers to explain to the public and the media what is happening in plain terms. We define terms when needed and try to avoid insider language.
– We never denigrate the unhoused, or talk down to any public who may be uninformed or coming to us to learn. When covering them our tone is genuine, using emotion when appropriate.
– We are a nonpartisan organization. We will cast shame and guilt those in power, regardless of party affiliation, who make the problem worse through policy, action or rhetoric. We’ll use facts and a dry tone to back up those claims. We’re sarcastic but never mean.
– Person-forward language is important, especially when referring to the community at large: Homeless people, unhoused people, people experiencing homelessness, unhoused neighbors are better collective nouns than the homeless or the mentally ill; be specific when possible, such as She has bipolar disorder; they have schizophrenia. This is a subtle change but can have a significant influence on a reader. It allows us to humanize the crisis.
– Words we use in discussing our work: unhoused, community, neighbors.
– Words we don’t use: vagrants, degenerates, or other dehumanizing language.
– We always refer to people by their stated pronouns.
– We don’t specify someone’s race unless it’s relevant to the story.
GRAMMAR AND MECHANICS
– Ktown for All on first reference. KFA is fine on subsequent references.
– Write an organization’s name in full on first reference: Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Los Angeles Community Action Network. Acronym is OK on second reference: LAHSA, LACAN. (SELAH being an exception, which is fine on first reference as this is their preferred name.) No need to include the acronym in a parenthetical if it’s clear in context.
– Use Roman (not italics) for all publications’ names across the board. Lowercase the article “the” before any publication name (the Los Angeles Times, the LAist, the LAnd, etc.)
WRITING BLOG POSTS/NEWSLETTERS
– What topics we cover in our blog posts/newsletters (background info on legal issues, personal stories of current or former unhoused people, etc).
– Average length for a blog post: 300–500 words. Brevity is imperative.
– What is our tone for articles? Tone should be derived from the audience: Think about whom you intend to reach. If it’s our readers, it can be informal if the content is clear and readable. The tone of press releases are always formal, which differ from the blog posts themselves.
– We add hyperlinks when necessary.
– Overall, write using plural “we” when from the point of view of Ktown for All. Guest writers can use personal “I”/“me” pronouns.
– Articles will be excerpted for use on social platforms. Cite your sources and give credit to reporters or news outlets when necessary.
– If we use images: Make sure to obtain permission from photographers and give credit. Think about how images we use portray unhoused people and places they live. Photos need to ensure dignity and privacy for the photo subject. Do not take photos of unhoused people under any circumstances. In cases where this is central to the story, this can be done ONLY with their permission.
– When replying to comments: Be helpful; offer resources to those who need them. Ignore aggravators and instigators. The social media coordinator should respond to any DMs or politely inform the messenger you will not be replying further if necessary.
– Consider ending a blog post with a call to action or resources for readers, even if it’s a suggestion to follow our socials or mailings.
– Emails are sent out to Ktown for All’s email list bi-weekly.
– Included in emails: Upcoming activities and events along with links to actions that Ktown for All was involved in, and press coverage of the event
– Emails follow the general voice and tone guidelines.
– Include only necessary links and limit editorializing. Emails should be clean and brief as they are often read on mobile devices.
WRITING FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is Ktown for All’s most active and successful way of raising awareness and communicating with the public. Below are our three social media platforms:
Facebook: used for calls to action, blog posts, recaps of our events and outreach, and event invitations. Keep FB posts short, usually 3–4 sentences in length. Avoid making a viewer have to expand, since Facebook will truncate the text. We post links to other articles and use Facebook to link users to articles on our own site to draw traffic. Tone is upbeat for event invitations, emotional for calls to action. Facebook Live could be used at town halls, city council meetings, and maybe conversations with unhoused people in a moderated way.
Twitter: used for calls to action, recaps of our events and outreach, retweeting articles and tweets from other activists, education. We will link in other accounts. We do not use hashtags unless it’s germane (such as for local signal-boosting). We call out policymakers and public figures when their policies and actions are harmful to the unhoused population. We’ll also give kudos when they’re doing the right thing. Limit is 280 characters. We post images and video when relevant. We post links to articles on our own site to draw traffic. Tone is straightforward and sometimes snarky.
Instagram: used for calls to action, recaps of our events and outreach, and images/video profiling LA’s unhoused and its activists. Posts can be longer (and long captions can be effective) but overall keep it brief. Tone is emotional, informative, and personal. We can tag other users and accounts. Use IG stories to highlight newsworthy events.
Social media accounts are handled by specific people, and they are managed and scheduled through specific platforms. If you have posts you want to make, please contact x.
COMMUNICATING WITH MEDIA
– When approached by the media, what is our standard practice? Do we refer them to one person for response? Do we need to check with anyone within the organization before commenting? The inquiry gets routed to the Discord channel. We decide whether it would be a good opportunity and then find someone who would be available to handle the request. Any comment to the media should have a final pass from the M&R cochairs before it’s sent.
– What to do if we are approached by a group or reporter we suspect is not asking questions in good faith? Take it to Discord and let’s deliberate among the group. We always have the option not to respond: If the reporter is historically bad about reporting on homelessness and/or denigrating of unhoused people, ghost them. If we’re unclear on their intention, tell them to send questions via email.
– I’m on a KFA committee and want to signal-boost something we’re working on. Get in touch with one of the two Media & Relations Committee cochairs. The committee can discuss what’s the optimal way to share it: press release or social media. From there, cochairs can draft up a press release and/or spread the word on social media.
– How should I portray Ktown for All to the media? Go to “What Is Ktown for All” and “Voice and Tone of Ktown for All.” Let’s stick closely to the language here to explain who we are, what we do, and how to get involved with us.
– If I’m approached by a reporter, what should I say? Unless you’re one of the two co-chairs for the M&R Committee, make clear that you are not speaking on behalf of the organization. Offer to have someone from the committee reach out later, exchange contact information, and relay this info to the M&R Discord channel.
– What about media kits? Do we want to / need to create them and what should go in them? We can send media kits upon request. Our media kits include press contacts, photos from outreach and meetings, an info card, and our logo.
– What about spokespeople/stories from unhoused people? Do we facilitate them telling their own stories directly to the media? And if so, what’s the best way to do that? We generally don’t allow reporters to accompany us with camera and the intent to film interviews with unhoused people during outreach. They can come to do outreach to understand what we do and report based on this experience.
KFA can serve as a bridge between reporters and our unhoused neighbors who we know would be willing to provide interviews. If a reporter seeks an individual, KFA can make a call to our contacts to see who is available.
- When issues arise rapidly, how will we deal with them from a media POV (e.g., actions that come up on the fly)? Flag something that comes up (such as a sweep) to the M&R Committee. Cochairs will decide if we need to have an official statement on behalf of KFA, draft it up, and share internally. Communications during this time will be done via Discord channel. This will be the organization’s official comment on the issue.
- Do we want to codify key messages and is the brand guidelines the place to do it? Key phrases that outline what we believe, our specific opinions on things. Ask members what topics we need to clarify our language on — renters’ protection, sweeps, our outreach strategy, how we describe ourselves to volunteers, etc. We want specific consensus around the language we use.
COMMUNICATING WITH GOVERNMENT
– How do we communicate with politicians? What tone do we take? We want to be direct, honest, and professional. We do not hesitate to engage with politicians online if we want to address misinformation, poor framing of an issue, or lack of accountability. When we engage, we always want to come forth with facts and record. Evidence-backed statements and responses to politicians also work to inform and educate our followers and readers. Ultimately, we want to be positive and be uplifting with productive solutions. We engage not to make personal attacks but to keep politicians focused on the issues.
– Given our nonprofit pending status, what can we advocate for? Can we be connected with any campaigns? The committee will revisit this June 2020.
– If contacted by government aides or organizations, do we refer them to one person or committee for response? The Media & Relations committee will forward such correspondences to the Policy & Educations committee for them to prepare statements.
– When at city council meetings, how do we best represent Ktown for All? We are direct, civil, and polite. We ask our members to use their best judgment and discretion when they give comment at meetings; each of our members has a communication style that works for them. Remembering to use our best judgment will allow us to know what is crossing the line (e.g. personal attacks, vulgar language, racial slurs).
COMMUNICATING WITH THE UNHOUSED
– A reporter wants to record an interview with us (KFA) on camera. What do I tell them? Here are some ground rules: Introduce yourself to the KFA members and get their permission to film so they can opt out if they want to. Volunteers may be willing to have interviews recorded on camera; we just ask that you make it clear what you’re there for first. And b-roll of unhoused neighbors cannot be taken without their permission.
– A reporter wants to get in touch with an unhoused person for an interview. What do I tell them? We’re working on best practices for this. Get in touch with someone on the Outreach Committee to see if they can recommend anyone to speak with. Make sure we have explicit consent for someone to be photographed or recorded, for their name and face to be recorded. We should be sensitive about an unhoused individual’s privacy and not expose them to media without their permission.
– When is it appropriate to reveal the face/name of people we are working with? Make sure you have explicit permission and consent from a subject — whether in an interview or photograph — before publication.
STYLE GUIDE: VISUALS
Ktown for All logo:
Heart Colors (whoever created the logo should check this):
#A00C95 #A5156F #FF2727
RGB: 160/12/149 RGB: 165/21/111 RGB: 255/39/39
CMYK: 44/100/0/0 CMYK: 36/10/24/4 CMYK: 0/89/95/0
– What belongs on our press releases?
Include Ktown for All logo (100% size as it appears above) in the center at the bottom of the last page. Include hyperlinks to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Amazon wish list. Logo and colors should not be modified. See press release here for example.
– Do we use any other color besides black for online materials or press releases? Typically no, but the committee can consider using color depending on the nature of the document (e.g. shareable informational graphics). Consider using Ktown For All’s colors above when creating a document that comes solely from the voice of Ktown for All.