» Request for Proposal for Institutional Branding Services

Date Issued: July 1, 2016

Chapman University (CU), a highly ranked private institution located in Orange, California, is seeking a branding, marketing and communications partner capable of assisting Chapman in achieving national awareness for the University and its programs among identified audiences within the next 5-7 years.

View the full Request for Proposal »


Issuing Information

This RFP is issued on behalf of Chapman University. The following individual will serve as the Issuing Officer from the date of release of this RFP until a contract is awarded: 

Sheryl Bourgeois, Ph.D. 
Executive VP, University Advancement 
Chapman University 
One University Drive 
Orange, CA 92866 
sbourgeo@chapman.edu


Submission Process

The Issuing Officer must receive the bid proposal at the email address set forth above before 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, July 26, 2016. This is a mandatory requirement and will not be waived by Chapman University. Any bid proposal received after this deadline will be rejected. It is the vendor’s responsibility to ensure that the bid proposal is received prior to the deadline. Vendors must furnish all information necessary to evaluate the bid proposal. Bid proposals that fail to meet the mandatory requirements of the RFP will be disqualified. Verbal information provided by the vendor shall not be considered part of the vendor’s proposal. 

If your file is too big for email (4mb+), you may submit it through this file sharing site. For questions about the file sharing site, please email Ross Loehner at loehner@chapman.edu.


Questions and Requests for Clarification

Vendors may submit written questions and requests for clarification regarding the RFP. The questions or requests for clarification must be submitted via e-mail and received by the Issuing Officer before 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on July 20, 2016. Oral inquiries will not be permitted. If a question or request for clarification pertains to a specific section of the RFP, the page and section number must be referenced. Issuing Officer will post all questions and requests for clarification received and responses at www.chapman.edu/branding-rfp no later than July 22, 2016.

+ - Goals and Expectations

A-1: What success criteria has Chapman outlined for this initiative?

Achieving national awareness is the primary objective, but raising awareness locally and regional, increasing enrollment (especially for graduate programs), and connecting with potential donors are all outcomes that should correlate with achieving national stature.

Specific measures of success will include: Improved rankings in U.S. News and World Report; increased enrollment of targeted student populations; and higher alumni participation rate in annual giving.

A-2: Are there particular goals/objectives beyond “achieving national awareness" that a new brand strategy and supporting marketing plan should support (increase in overall awareness and opinion, rankings, enrollment, philanthropy, etc.)?

“Achieving national awareness” is the primary objective, but raising awareness locally and regional, increasing enrollment (especially for graduate programs), and connecting with potential donors are all outcomes that should correlate with achieving national stature.

A-3: Following the research/brand strategy (Scopes 1/2) is Chapman interested in having the selected firm develop broad creative concepts (including prototype layouts for things such as advertising, campus signage, print materials, digital tactics, etc.) that will serve to drive/guide the marketing goals of broader visibility?

Vendors are welcome to include broad creative concepts, but are not required to do so.

A-4: Are there any specific deliverables that have been identified for the Creative Implementation phase or how would you propose firms address the unknown scope (time/hours to support on monthly or quarterly basis)?

This phase was left deliberately vague to allow vendors to propose plans that best reflect their perception of the time/hours and budget needed to successfully implement the vendor’s proposal. It will also illuminate the vendor’s understanding of higher education in general, and of Chapman’s organizational culture.

A-5: What institutional priorities, goals and objectives will be addressed by the work detailed in the RFP?

Achieving national awareness is the primary objective, but raising awareness locally and regional, increasing enrollment (especially for graduate programs), and connecting with potential donors are all outcomes that should correlate with achieving national stature.

A-6: Beyond the broad-stroke objectives of the partnership detailed in the introductory lines of the RFP (page 1, section I, seven bulleted objectives), what specific (measurable, metric) measures of success will Chapman’s senior leaders (president and monitor most closely to determine the success of the work detailed in the RFP? For example, when Chapman leaders talk about “achieving national prominence” or becoming recognized as a “higher education thought leader in Southern California,” how will they measure progress toward that lofty notion?

Specific measures of success will include: Improved rankings in U.S. News and World Report; increased enrollment of targeted student populations; and higher alumni participation rate in annual giving.

A-7: Your RFP speaks to your desire to improve Chapman’s web presence (page 4, section II, item C). Can you please identify specific aspects of your website that you are especially keen improving or enhancing?

Our website vendor tells us that when they obtain a new client, and when they ask "who's site do you like/which site would you want to emulate?" the answer given is often "Chapman University." We regularly receive awards and accolades for design and technology, but because of the somewhat decentralized nature of web authorship, it is sometimes difficult (politically) to make sure marketing messages and best practices are followed on each page of the website. Because people in departments, schools, and colleges are so territorial over "their" section of the website, it is sometimes difficult to control the content on those people's pages.

+ - Budget

B-1: You’ve asked that respondents propose strategies that work within a feasible budget. In order to accommodate this request, please provide a proposed budget for this engagement.

The committee requests that the vendor propose a budget as part of the response. This budget should be based on strategic goals and proposed deliverables, as well as the vendor’s best understanding of what will need to be invested in marketing/communications in order to achieve national awareness for Chapman University.

B-2: Has a budget (or budget range) been established for this initiative (either in total or various components)?

The committee requests that the vendor propose a budget as part of the response. This budget should be based on strategic goals and proposed deliverables, as well as the vendor’s best understanding of what will need to be invested in marketing/communications in order to achieve national awareness for Chapman University.

B-3: So that we can prepare a scope of work that delivers greatest return on your available resources for this engagement, can you please identify budget amounts (ranges) you are prepared to invest in each of the three scopes detailed in the RFP?

The committee requests that the vendor propose a budget as part of the response. This budget should be based on strategic goals and proposed deliverables, as well as the vendor’s best understanding of what will need to be invested in marketing/communications in order to achieve national awareness for Chapman University.

B-4: What is the University’s FY17 (current year) media budget (media spend only, not including campaign planning, management or creative fees)?

Again, I would prefer not to indicate specific budget amounts because vendors will then use that as a benchmark of what the client is comfortable spending rather than telling us what actually needs to be spent. The following is our overall budget including management and creative fees. I don't know media fees only. $1.1M for graduate recruitment activities. $305K for undergraduate recruitment support. $470K for institutional marketing. We might be better served saying the University's media budget is approximately $1.75M without being specific to accounts.

B-5: As the tactical execution in Scope 3 is likely to be informed by the discovery and strategy work in Scopes 1 and 2, it may be very difficult to adequately predict a production and media budget for Scope 3 this early. Would it be acceptable if we included some sample activities and broader cost ranges for the comprehensive budget request relative to Scope 3?

If possible, the budget should be based on strategic goals and proposed deliverables, as well as the vendor’s best understanding of what will need to be invested in marketing/communications in order to achieve national awareness for Chapman University. If you would like to include samples and broad cost ranges that is fine, but we would prefer an estimate of what it will take to achieve greater national awareness.

+ - Research

C-1: Has Chapman conducted any previous market research or studies that provide benchmark data and, if so, when and could you give a sense of audiences tested?

Yes, awareness research has been conducted 2011, 2013, 2015. Audiences: prospective students/parents in Orange County, LA/SD counties, and DFW, Bay area markets Brand Promise Survey in 2012. Audiences: prospective students, undergrad/grad students, alumni, faculty/staff

C-2: Has any applicable discovery work recently taken place that can be leveraged as part of this process? (e.g. brand perception studies, student satisfaction surveys, focus groups) 

Yes, we have done several surveys that can be used.

+ - Competitors and Peers

D-1: What are Chapman’s top-five primary college/university competitors for prospective undergraduate students?

  • Loyola
  • University of San Diego
  • University of San Francisco
  • Santa Clara
  • USC (Film school, especially)

D-2: Which of these undergraduate program competitors’ marketing efforts do Chapman leaders admire or envy, if any?

  • USC

D-3: We recognize that competitors for prospective graduate students vary by academic degree program. But in a very broad sense, can you please identify the top-three primary competitors (or any competitive insights at all) for the collection of graduate programs offered by each of the following:

Argyros School of Business & Economics:

  • UCI
  • CSU Fullerton
  • ASU

College of Educational Studies:

  • UCI
  • CSU Fullerton,
  • Brandman University

Crean College of Health & Behavioral Sciences:

  • UCI

Dodge College of Film & Media Arts:

  • USC
  • NYU
  • Loyola

Schmid College of Science & Technology:

  • Claremonts
  • UCI

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences:

  • everyone

School of Pharmacy:

  • no major competitors in this market

College of Performing Arts:

  • UCI
  • CSU Fullerton
  • USC and back east

Fowler Law School:

  • UChicago
  • George Mason – more conservative law schools

D-4: Which of these graduate program competitors’ marketing efforts do Chapman leaders admire, envy, or seek to emulate, if any?

  • NYU
  • USC

+ - Audiences

E-1: How does Chapman define and prioritize its audiences for Scope 1, 2 and 3?

  • Scope 1 – prospective students/families; U.S. News voters; donors
  • Scope 2 – alumni; students; deans and faculty
  • Scope 3 – U. S. News voters; prospective students/families; alumni

E-2: What audiences are of highest priority for Chapman to study in qualitative and quantitative research?

Prospective students/parents, faculty, board of trustees, alumni, key donors, undergrad students, grad students, staff – and representative general public in SoCal region. Another key constituency/group that Chapman University is trying to reach is potential employers. We have heard that Chapman needs to define its “talent brand,” or in other words, what an employer will get when they hire our graduates. Anecdotally, we hear that our graduates are resourceful, flexible, adaptable and hit the ground running, helping to problem solve from day one. However, not enough employers know this about our graduates.

E-3: Should we assume that Chapman will provide data samples with contactable email addresses for all audiences desired?

Or are there particular audiences where Chapman may need to supplement (for example, Orange County Public, Academic Peers, Parents, etc.) Please assume that the selected vendor will need to secure contactable email addresses for the majority of audiences, except for the ones related to Chapman constituencies (such as alumni, parents, board members).

E-4: Can you please identify the University’s current “priority markets” in terms of student recruitment?

Diverse markets (especially Hispanic). Also, the university hopes to pull from a broader geographic region.

E-5: Has there been any definitive discussion among senior leaders on campus regarding “target markets” for Chapman’s future where you’d like greater visibility? If yes, what are those markets?

  • Northeast
  • Texas

E-6: As specifically as possible, please identify geographic and demographic profiles for “identified audiences” (page 1, section I, first paragraph), “target(ed) audiences” (page 1, section I, fourth bulleted objective; and page 4, section II, item A), “key constituents” (page 1, section I, fourth bulleted objective; and page 4, section II, item A), and “key constituencies” (page 1, section I, first bulleted objective) you expect your selected marketing partner to include in Scope 1, 2 and 3 activities.

Prospective students/parents, faculty, board of trustees, alumni, key donors, employers, undergrad students, grad students, staff – and representative general public in SoCal region

+ - Current State

F-1: Please describe your current brand messaging. When was it developed? What is working/not working?

A brand promise/message was developed in concert with STAMATS, and adopted by the University in November 2012. It is defined as follows:

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University offers:

A vibrant and stimulating intellectual community;

A personalized academic experience;

Opportunities for students to grow, learn and discover alongside remarkable faculty; and,

Preparation for a lifetime of personal achievement and career success in a global environment.

While this is accurate, it does not tell the whole story and it certainly does not clarify how Chapman is different from any other university of higher learning. Or, how different the Chapman experience is from other institutions.

F-2: As specifically as possible, please explain the circumstances and/or conditions that have lead Chapman leaders to engage in this program of work at this time.

The university is experiencing a presidential transition – the first one in 25 years – and it finds itself markedly different from what is was when the last president took office. It has grown from a college to a university with 10 schools and colleges; its enrollment has increased by 300 percent; the caliber of its faculty has been strengthened; the alumni population, not only in size but in terms of success and achievement has improved tremendously; and the campus has been physically transformed. But with all of this growth has come a cloudiness as to what makes the university truly distinctive. To take it to the next level, the university must have clarity of its brand.

F-3: Some of the language in the RFP (page 4, section II, item B) indicates that you have a particular interest in establishing organizational consensus for institutional brand identity and message. Has the Chapman community experienced difficulty in the past achieving organizational consensus around institutional identity?

If yes, what was the nature of the challenge?

The challenge is more about organizational alignment – rather than consensus.

And what was resolution of that challenge?

It has not been resolved. There has been strong encouragement to be “entrepreneurial,” leading to an every man for himself approach. As a result, many areas create their own marketing materials and/or approaches.

F-4: If possible, can you please direct me to a copy of Chapman’s current strategic marketing and communication plan or any other available planning documents or plans (media plans, public relations plans, recruitment marketing plans, etc.) that will give our team a sense of the levels of complexity and sophistication your in-house team expects from the counsel you will engage for this assignment.

I would prefer not to provide a strategic marketing plan since that is essentially what we are requesting from the vendor. We can share media plans, but again I worry this will limit their perspective on budget and reach. I'd rather they approach the RFP with a "here's our best recommendation" rather than "here's our recommendation based on what you've been doing."

Regarding the "sense of the levels of complexity and sophistication" we are seeking: Our objective is to receive a proposal that outlines a strategic path for generating national recognition for Chapman University. In that respect, the proposal will undoubtedly be both complex and sophisticated, addressing (as noted in earlier answers) a need for local and regional awareness, enhanced enrollment, and donor relationship opportunities. The University is an entrepreneurial and nimble organization, and as such will welcome out-of-the-box thinking that challenges

F-5: Are you, or have you recently been, working with a market research partner?

We engage the services of a market research partner every odd-numbered year.

Have you been pleased with their performance?

Yes

Where have their efforts fallen short of your expectations?

N/A

F-6: Are you, or have you recently been, working with brand marketing and/or advertising counsel?

Yes, we have an advertising agency we use.

Have you been pleased with their performance?

Yes

Where have their efforts fallen short of your expectations?

N/A

F-7: Are you, or have you recently been, working with public relations partner?

Yes

Have you been pleased with their performance?

Extremely pleased

Where have their efforts fallen short of your expectations?

N/A

F-8: Are you, or have you recently been, working with media planner(s)?

Our advertising agency provides the media planning

Have you been pleased with their performance?

Yes

Where have their efforts fallen short of your expectations?

N/A

F-9: Regarding your current social media marketing and PPC work as brand- and visibility building platforms/channels, which strategies and tactics appear to be working best for Chapman?

Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are managed primarily by our advertising agency, and those campaigns are successful. We also do SEM and SEO in-house, as well as organic social media marketing. We utilize a custom-built social media aggregator that has won numerous awards including an "honorable mention" Webby award. Our organic social media marketing success has been praised by "Inside Higher Ed" blogger, Eric Stoller. We are also excited about our new "Chapman Family" Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/chapmanufamily/.

F-10: Have you discovered any social or PPC strategies or tactics that haven’t performed well for Chapman?

Google plus, Foursquare, and vine are not successful for us and we have abandoned those experiments in order to make time for more successful experiments like our Instagram "Chapman Family" account.

+ - Submissions

G-1: Would the committee be interested in receiving a few hard copies to follow the electronic submission via PDF?

Yes, the committee would be interested.