Marketing is an important part of any successful, growing business. From television ads to website design, the results of marketing efforts surround us almost constantly. Consequently, many of the campaigns we see every day started as a humble marketing RFP.
No matter what your business buys or sells, your organization will likely participate in the RFP process at some point. Indeed, your business may issue RFPs for marketing services or respond to them. So, for proposal, procurement and marketing professionals, knowing how to manage the RFP process is essential to success.
This post will explore everything you need to know about marketing RFPs. Starting with the basics, we’ll define what a marketing RFP is, their benefits and types of RFPs you may encounter. Next, we’ll walk through how to issue an RFP for marketing services. Then, you’ll see a how-to guide for finding marketing RFPs, responding to and winning them. Finally, you can explore how the process works with sample marketing RFPs, helpful templates and real-world examples.
Marketing RFP and proposal basics
What is a marketing RFP?
A marketing request for proposal (RFP) is a formal questionnaire document that organizes information and enables buyers to compare marketing service providers.
Used to identify the best partner both for one-time projects as well as ongoing marketing services, the RFP process allows buyers to improve objectivity in vendor selection.
For the marketing agencies and firms who seek to serve these businesses, every RFP is a new opportunity to grow their client base and revenue.
What is a marketing proposal?
A marketing proposal is created and delivered by a marketing agency, firm or service provider in response to a purchasing organization’s RFP. The RFP response details the marketing agency or service provider’s offer.
The purpose of the proposal is to answer any questions the buyer may have as well as promote the benefits of partnering with the organization. The proposal often includes a project plan, marketing strategy, implementation timeline and pricing.
Benefits of using a marketing RFP
Whether you’re seeking marketing services or you’re part of a marketing agency, the RFP process improves how you connect with other organizations. Indeed, the detailed approach of marketing RFPs allows buyers to consider multiple decision factors and ask all the right questions. At the same time, the format gives suppliers ample customer information, empowering them to bring attention to the most advantageous elements of their services.
Reduced procurement costs
Issuing RFPs is one part of the strategic sourcing approach to procurement. Essentially, the idea is to reduce the overall cost of procurement by finding the supplier that will be the best long-term marketing partner rather than the most affordable in the moment. Consequently, RFPs provide an efficient, competitive and predictable process that is well suited to that search.
Examine vendor experience
Unlike purchasing tangible goods that have defined specifications, the outcomes of marketing campaigns are highly dependent upon the agency’s vision and experience. While the buyer defines scope and deliverables, often each agency provides an entirely unique creative experience and end product. Accordingly, many marketing RFPs include questions to explore staff qualifications, past work and customer results.
Improved fairness and transparency
Historically, vendor selection largely depended upon word-of-mouth recommendations. Unfortunately, the lack of competition and new ideas led to inflated costs and a lack of marketing innovation. Luckily, by design, the RFP process includes multiple qualified vendors and ensures each has a fair chance to win available opportunities.
Common types of marketing RFPs
Thanks to the benefits and prevalence of the RFP process, as well as the vast array of marketing strategies and services, there are dozens of types of marketing RFPs. In addition, an organization may issue a marketing RFP for a variety of reasons. For example, they may be issued to find a partner to execute a large project, act as a marketing consultant, deliver a one-time service or provide ongoing support.
The most common marketing RFPs are for:
- Digital marketing
- Marketing services
- Social media
- Public relations
- Online marketing
- Branding/brand development
- Video production
- Graphic design
- Web site design and development
How to issue and manage a marketing services RFP
No matter what kind of RFP you’re issuing, there are three key steps to the process. To start, you must conduct research and write the RFP. Next, you select the marketing agencies you’d like to include and issue the RFP. Finally, you review the proposals you’ve received, score them and select a winner.
Below you’ll find a little more detail about each step, but for a comprehensive guide, download the RFP process ebook.
1. Create your RFP for marketing services
Define your needs, scope and deliverables
The first step in issuing a marketing RFP of any kind is to define your goals. What is your organization hoping to achieve? Gather your stakeholders and any other involved parties to discuss the services needed, the scope of your project and the vision for the deliverables you expect to receive.
Develop an RFP project timeline
Next, create an RFP timeline to keep your procurement project on track. In addition to providing key dates to interested vendors, the timeline keeps your team updated as the RFP progresses. Be sure to include the RFP issuing date, a period for vendor follow-up questions and answers, the deadline for proposal submission, expected evaluation time frame and the date for the announcement of the final selection.
Create your RFP for marketing services
Certainly, a marketing RFP is a little different than other procurement projects. Due to the creative nature of marketing, you may find it challenging to come up with insightful questions. For ease of scoring, include as many close-ended questions as possible.
In addition to your RFP questions, your RFP should include:
- The project background and goals
- Project scope and deliverables
- The RFP timeline and vendor deadlines
- RFP requirements including minimum qualifications as well as submission and evaluation criteria
- Request for references, project portfolios and case studies
2. Issue the RFP and manage vendors
Narrow your vendor pool
While the RFP process makes it much easier to compare several vendors at once, it’s important to limit your vendor pool to a manageable number. Certainly, it’s not uncommon for open RFPs to receive responses from marketing agencies that are simply not a fit.
To avoid sifting through a huge stack of proposals, we recommend limiting your RFP to six or fewer vendors. In most cases, the size of the marketing agency should be relative to the size of your organization. For example, a small mom and pop shop likely shouldn’t use the same agency as Coca-Cola.
As you select agencies to include, it’s wise to have a combination of vendors recommended by peers as well as any that specialize in your industry and market. If you’re not sure where to start to find these agencies, check out Rnked to find agencies that might meet your needs.
Send the RFP
Now, it’s time to issue your RFP and get it into the hands of eager marketing agencies. Naturally, we recommend using RFP software to issue, automate and manage RFPs. However, you can also send the request via email or post it publicly.
Field vendor questions
When you issue an RFP for marketing services, expect to receive follow-up and clarifying questions from vendors. To save time and ensure transparency, gather all the questions and answer them in a single document available to all vendors.
Follow up with a friendly reminder
Waiting for proposals to arrive can be stressful. After all, you already did all the work to create the RFP and select the vendors, and if no one responds, you’ll have to start over. So, about a week before the proposal deadline, send a friendly reminder to any agency that hasn’t yet responded.
3. Evaluate and compare proposals
Score the proposals
After the proposal deadline passes, it’s time to gather your responses and start scoring them. First, review each proposal for completeness and compliance with your minimum requirements. Next, score the responses and sections that have clear, closed-ended questions before moving on to the more subjective and complex questions.
Evaluate complex responses and references
As you might suspect, many of the questions in a marketing RFP will be open ended. In this situation, it’s helpful to engage your stakeholders. For instance, if you’re engaging search engine optimization (SEO) services, it may be helpful to have your digital marketing manager or IT team evaluate questions about the past performance and technical qualifications of vendors.
Pick your partner
Finally, it’s now time to pick a partner to move forward with. Compare the RFP evaluation results side-by-side. Many procurement teams copy and paste results into an Excel sheet to review them. Unfortunately, the manual aggregation and formatting is time consuming, often taking hours. Alternatively, you can explore the results using RFP automation, visualizations and scoring dashboards in your RFP management platform.
Hopefully, you’ll have a clear winner. However, if you don’t, you may need to send follow up questions or schedule RFP presentations.
Sections to include in your RFP
- Project summary – What do you want to accomplish?
- Company overview – Who are you?
- Project background – What prompted you to seek a partner?
- Scope – Which items are must haves, nice to haves and not in scope?
- Budget – What do you plan to spend?
- RFP and project timeline – When do you need to receive responses? What is the project timeline?
- Submission requirements – What format should proposals be in?
- Evaluation criteria– How will the proposals be scored? What factors are most important to your organization?
- RFP questions – What do you need to know to make a decision?
Tips for responding to a marketing RFP
For marketing agencies and consultants, RFPs offer an opportunity to win new business and fuel your company’s growth. However, creating appealing and compelling proposals takes time. And, if you’re not winning, that time is wasted. Consequently, improving your proposal process has the potential to significantly impact your bottom line.
Marketing proposal best practices
When you receive an RFP, it’s natural to get excited, jump right in and start responding. Unfortunately, not every marketing RFP you encounter is a good fit for you. Consequently, improving your win rate is sometimes as simple as being more selective.
So, before you start creating your next marketing proposal, carefully evaluate the RFP and ask yourself some key questions before you decide to bid or not to bid.
- Is this bid a long shot?
- Can your agency deliver the services requested?
- Do you have the resources to complete the project on time?
- Are you competing against an incumbent provider?
- Have you successfully completed similar projects before?
- Do you have available references from the buyer’s industry?
Download this helpful checklist to guide your to bid or no bid discussions.
Meeting RFP deadlines can be a challenge. However, adopting an RFP project management approach can help keep you on track. Indeed, there are a number of proven strategies to organize the people, information, documents and tasks required to create a marketing proposal.
For example, you may try a RACI matrix, proposal timeline or project implementation plan. Each of these methodologies ensures that your proposal team stays on track and aligned.
Reuse previous proposal content
The most time consuming part of creating a proposal is answering questions and creating the content. From one RFP to another, you’ll likely notice that about 60 percent of the questions are the same or very similar. Accordingly, you can reuse previous proposal content to save time.
Many organizations have a proposal content knowledge library where they catalog and store questions and answers from past RFPs. Not only does this make your job as the proposal coordinator easier, but it also lightens the workload for your subject matter experts (SMEs).
To maximize the value of your RFP knowledge library and improve consistency, build your library in a single centralized location. For example, you could build your library in Google Drive, Sharepoint or, better yet, a proposal management software platform.
Review, revise and review again
This is one of the most important steps in creating a marketing proposal. Don’t rush the review of your proposal. Be thorough and ask yourself: Is the proposal consistent? Does it comply with the requirements? Is it clear, compelling and on brand?
If an organization is going to trust you with their marketing efforts, they want to be sure that you pay attention to the details.
Elements to include in your marketing proposal
When competing with other marketing agencies, the small details can make or break your proposal. Every section of the proposal can be leveraged to make an impact.
Introduce yourself with the executive summary
Your proposal response should start with an executive summary. This page acts as an introduction to the buyer.
Consider this page your one shot to capture attention. After all, it may be the only part of the proposal some of the decision makers read. As such, the RFP executive summary should provide an overview of the marketing proposal while explaining how you will enable the customer to achieve their goals.
Download this template to make your executive summary awesome (and easy).
Be more memorable in the RFP cover letter
After the executive summary comes the RFP cover letter. Traditionally, this is an underutilized tool that can give you an advantage. Indeed, use the cover letter to showcase your personality and differentiators. Make it conversational, approachable and relevant.
Get inspired by downloading this RFP cover letter template.
Make your messaging persuasive
Expectations are high when it comes to proposals created by marketing agencies. The format, visuals and messaging must all be professional and compelling. However, creating RFP messaging that is clear, concise, accurate and relatable requires a unique balance. As you write, share your expertise but don’t use too much industry jargon.
Seal the deal with your RFP presentation
RFP presentations are a common part of the marketing RFP process. Indeed, finding a partner that makes collaboration easy is often a must-have decision factor when buyers select an agency. Use this face-to-face meeting to establish a report, create connections and share why your company culture is a great fit for their project.
How to find marketing RFPs
Many organizations, municipalities and government agencies make their RFPs public to solicit bids from all interested parties. And, for many marketing agencies, responding to these open RFPs is a crucial part of their growth strategy. Consequently, knowing how to find RFPs is a key skill. One of the primary ways to stay up to date on new opportunities is to subscribe to an RFP database service.
RFP databases with marketing opportunities
FindRFP – Government marketing RFP database
This RFP database specializes in government RFPs. Due to regulatory requirements, many agencies must publish RFP opportunities publicly to ensure transparency and fairness. Conveniently, with a FindRFP subscription, you can receive proactive notifications in real time when new opportunities are posted.
EverythingPR – Public relations RFPs
Marketing agencies that provide public relations services can find details about many of the latest RFP opportunities using EverythingPR. The website also provides expert advice as well as the latest in PR news and trends.
RFPMart – Bidder Resources
Dealing primarily with government RFPs, this database is updated regularly with new requests. Here you’ll find social media, marketing, digital services, SEO and branding opportunities.
Sample marketing RFP, examples and templates
Marketing RFP templates
Marketing agency RFP template – Agency Loft
With instructions and a helpful section outline, this marketing RFP template offers a solid foundation for customization. The template suggests asking vendors to provide a corporate overview, proposed solution information, references and a project budget. In addition, Agency Loft provides a helpful decision matrix to help facilitate RFP scoring.
Email marketing RFP template – Marketing Sherpa
This fill-in-the-blank RFP template provides a great starting point for anyone looking for a partner to help them with email marketing. As you review the template, be sure to remove sections and questions that are not applicable to your organization and project.
Video production and marketing RFP template – Thoughtcast Media
Video content plays a big part in a well-rounded marketing campaign, but it’s hard to know what to ask potential vendors. Luckily, you can start with a video production RFP template. Thoughtcast Media provides a helpful guide to finding the right partner. Helpfully, they also offer RFP templates for both in-person and remote filming options.
Marketing RFP sample and examples
Marketing campaign RFP sample – Vermont Department of Tourism
To bid for this RFP opportunity, each vendor submitted a pre-qualification form. This practice is common for large organizations and agencies that receive numerous inquiries from interested vendors. In addition, this marketing RFP example is very specific regarding the required contents of each proposal.
Public relations RFP sample – The Brand USA
This request for proposal is specific, easy to understand and consistent with the organization’s brand. The level of attention to detail communicates to prospective vendors the level of professionalism required to win this RFP opportunity. In addition, the copy clearly communicates the buyer’s expectations. It’s a great example of a well-written, purposeful public relations RFP.
Digital media marketing RFP example – Harper College
In this example of a marketing RFP, Harper College seeks a marketing firm to plan their digital advertising strategy. While the beginning of the RFP includes a lot of standard terms and conditions, the rest of the RFP delivers crucial information for interested vendors. This is a great example of how to write a thorough scope of work, customized RFP questions, case study requirements and a capability/need overview.
Media and digital marketing services RFP – Ohio Department of Commerce
Relatively brief at 10 pages, this RFP is direct and clear. Indeed, the RFP sections are limited to project information, requirements, scope of work and deliverables, scoring criteria and terms. If you’re looking for a short marketing RFP example, this is a great place to start.
Website design and development RFP example – Design Lights Consortium
If you’re looking for an example of a thorough website design RFP, look no further. With plenty of detailed contextual information, this RFP sets interested vendors up for success. In addition, the RFP asks a number of project-specific direct questions that will enable the organization to easily compare their options.
RFP for various marketing services – Morris County Economic Development Corporation
This RFP seeks one or more vendors to provide general marketing expertise as well as social media, video and public relations services. The request includes brief sections to explore background, scope, budget and evaluation criteria. However, in this marketing RFP example, there are no specific questions for vendors to answer. Consequently, the buyer may find it difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the resulting proposals.
Marketing proposal templates and examples
Marketing proposal template – CoSchedule
This general marketing proposal template is clean and clearly organized. Indeed, the proposal template walks you through each step of completing the proposal. Furthermore, it offers helpful tips to create persuasive RFP messaging.
Marketing RFP response template – Hubspot
Downloadable in either PDF or Word, this marketing proposal template delivers an easy-to-follow format as well as helpful tips for completion. While it’s not specifically designed to answer RFP questions, you can simply add any sections you need to meet the requirements of your RFP.
Website RFP response example – Creative Arcade
Created in response to an RFP opportunity issued by the City of Asheville, NC, this website design proposal example communicates attention to detail and professionalism. The elements of the proposal work together to form a persuasive pitch. Indeed, from the proposal format and visuals to the messaging and project plan, this RFP response is flawless.
Public relations proposal sample – Nuffer Smith Tucker
This proposal, prepared by Nuffler Smith Tucker for the Hillcrest Business Association provides a wealth of information about the agency’s past clients and several case studies. Additionally, the firm details the project plan as well as how they will work with the client as the partnership moves forward.
Additional resources for marketing RFP issuers:
Resources for marketing agency RFP responders:
How to Request for Proposal From a Branding Agency.
It’s not uncommon for a small business or entrepreneur to approach branding as something they know they need, without a full concept of what branding actually entails. From our perspective, a really great branding agency should be able to educate their clients while having systems or packages designed to allow the agency to deliver the best results while customizing to the client’s needs.
Interested in working with a branding agency?
If you’re interested in working with a branding agency, one of the first things you can do to set yourself apart is getting familiar with creating a Request for Proposal. Commonly shortened to RFP, the Request for Proposal is exactly that—reaching out to a select list of agencies with your info, budget, needs, etc. and encouraging them to bid on your project.
While everyone should be aware of what an RFP is and how to craft one (more on that later), this is especially important for brands that really need a high degree of customization. You’ll be able to save time, money, and effort by submitting an RFP. And if you’ve taken the time to put one together, it indicates to the agency you’ve really thought your project through. You’re serious, not just a casual shopper. It shows you’ve identified somethins specific or discrete for a branding agency to bid on. If this sounds like you, we’ve broken down some guidelines into seven key things to include in a stellar RFP.
Important information to Include in an RFP for a Branding Agency:
01. All your basic contact info.
Step one? Make sure you’re as specific as possible about how to communicate with you or an appropriate representative. Make sure you include the contact person’s title, including email, phone, and address and be sure to note which is the best way to reach you.
You’ll obviously want to include your company’s name, but be sure to also include the brand for which you’re seeking the proposal. For example, there’s a big difference between “working with Apple” and “working with the iPhone,” and you want to keep it as clear and specific as possible.
02. The business of your business.
Branding Agency will want to know your background before starting to work with you, so tell them up front. Talk about your company history, how long you’ve been in business, and what products or services you offer. Make sure you clearly outline what sets you apart from your competitors (even if you’re not quite sure or not sure how to describe it). Knowing what differentiates you gives a context for the agency.
In this category, you’ll want to include information about what stage your business is at. Are you a startup, are you looking to scale, or are you already a leader in your industry? What is your current revenue, and are you looking to scale (and by how much)? Your branding needs are often dictated by where or what stage you are in your business, and the more detail you can provide, the better.
03. Your definition of success.
Success means different things to different people, and letting the agency know your metric right off in the RFP helps an agency decide to bid and craft the best proposal. You want to provide a clear picture of what you want this project to do. Describe not just the project, but also the scope of work and goals.
When considering an agency, you can break down their services into three categories. What are the 100% non-negotiable essentials (for example, in-house web development)? After that, take a look at nice to haves, which are useful services you could use collaboratively. For instance, many companies want an agency that will handle the look and feel of the design. For any number of reasons, they might want to use their own resources. And finally, optional things—those that are a bonus but not essential to your goals. This might include a company that has their own copywriter but might use input on strategy.
04. Your brand selection criteria.
You want to make it clear to the agency in the RFP what criteria you’ll be using to evaluate the proposals you receive. This also helps give the sense that you’ve really considered the project start to finish. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but 3-5 criteria goes a long way. Criteria can be as individual as your company, but common examples include past work, the agency’s track record with similar companies or with diverse industries, their location/proximity, if they have a diverse team, the level to which they can expect senior executive involvement, their size, reach, expertise, if they’re a specialty or boutique agency, where their strengths are (say, strategy vs creative), industry awards, and financial factors like flexible payment options.
05. The project’s timeline.
The agency needs to know if they have the resources available to meet your deadlines. You’ll need to make clear when proposals are due to allow them to submit on time. Agencies like to know when they can expect a decision. And of course, when the project kicks off, and when the brand must launch.
06. The decision-makers information.
It’s helpful to provide the manner your company makes decisions. If you are a very small company, an individual, or a startup, it’s probably just you or you and a couple of others. Even in smaller companies, decisions may be made by committee. And in some cases, while you’ll have one point of contact, decisions are subject to board approval.
07. Your budget or budget range.
And last but not least, the money. You want to be clear what your budget is and if it’s a hard number or if there’s a degree of flexibility. If you’ve researched the agency, you should have a pretty good idea of what their services cost. This means you shouldn’t be shooting so far out of your price range that it jeopardizes the partnership or really that there are any surprises.
There are lots of other things you could include in the RFP, but we consider these the essentials. In going through this process, you’ll likely have a much better idea of which agency is a good fit for you and your needs. And the agency will have everything it needs to pass back a proposal.
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What Should You Include when Creating a Branding RFP?
If you are searching for a branding company to create or redesign your organization’s brand, the request for proposal process, or RFP, is commonly a first step. An RFP is essentially announcing a job to graphic designers or graphic design firms and asking for a response.
I’m here today to help you create an RFP that will return thorough proposals by the most qualified branding companies which can help brand or rebrand your company. The purpose of the RFP process is to help you identify the most appropriate and relevant branding experts to handle your assignment. From there, you select the best branding team to help take your company to the next level.
…create interest in your project while clearly expressing your problems and goals.
The Trillion team has been helping to brand and rebrand companies and nonprofit organizations for many years. Our award-winning team is approached with RFPs regularly. If your RFP document is not carefully crafted, it will be disregarded and ignored by a lot of reputable creative teams. The challenge for a marketing director or C-suite executive is to create interest in your project while clearly expressing your problems and goals.
One thing to remember is that the process of responding to an RFP is time consuming for branding companies. You will see a low response rate to your project if they do not feel like they have a good chance of winning it. In most RFP opportunities, branding companies like to have a connection to the decision maker. They also want to feel like the project requirements are clearly reflecting their capabilities, portfolio and organizational set-up. The RFP should only encourage qualified experts.
The RFP should only encourage qualified experts.
Here are the top things that you should be including in your branding RFP:
Provide Your Company Background
Providing a high-level overview of your company and its history is important to help the branding companies understand more about your business. Talk about your “perceived” mission, vision and value proposition statements. I say “perceived” because you may be a start-up and need these defined, or you are rebranding because they are no longer relevant. Either way, be as descriptive as possible in saying who you are, what you do, who you help, and how you help.
Define Your Problem or Challenge
Sometimes a brand can have internal or external issues—or both. Clearly define the challenges and issues your company is having. An example could be inconsistent messaging from business unit to business unit, or the fact that your brand is perceived as dated or irrelevant in the current marketplace. Explain the immediate problems as well as potential long-term problems that you foresee. Frequently, the branding and rebranding process will reveal unrecognized issues that will need to be solved by the branding team.
Define the Scope of the Project
Clearly list specific deliverables you require, such as:
- conduct research (such as interviews, focus groups, surveys)
- audit existing brand and marketing materials
- define user personas
- create an online brand guideline
- design specific marketing collateral
You will want to identify the volume of content, number of applications, quantity of interviews or any other specifics the branding company should consider. Conversely, you can have the branding company define the scope as they see it as part of the RFP.
If you are unclear about the project scope, or need help defining it, please specify your expectations by requesting a discovery phase with the graphic design firm with minimum requirements noted, such the a number of meetings or research that will be shared. Then list what you expect the designers to have learned from the discovery phase.
Define Your Ideal Candidate
Stating that you want to work with a team that is based within a specific geographic location or is of a certain size is common. You may want to require that all team members be employees of the branding company and not consultants or freelancers. You can also list your preferences for experience if that is important to you.
Define Your Selection Criteria
Defining how and when you will select finalists and the eventual winner of the bid is critical. Are you most interested in a branding studio’s portfolio? Relevant work samples? Or is price the most important deciding factor? Defining the key factors will help ensure that your expectations are met.
…we recommend requiring relevant samples of branding projects the branding company has completed.
Additionally, we recommend requiring relevant samples of branding projects the branding company has completed. This basic request will show you the caliber of work they do as well as provide an opportunity to hear and see their process, as well as their success stories.
List Your RFP Process and Timeline
In order to compare branding proposals more effectively, it’s important to define how you want their proposals submitted to you. You may also require a specific outline format in addition to any naming conventions they are to follow.
Clearly state how the finished proposals should be submitted to you and their due date. Is email accepted? Does the file format need to be a PDF? Do you have file size limitations? Do you have a maximum number of pages?
It goes without saying that there will be questions. You should have specific protocols for incoming questions and the deadline for receiving them. In order to prevent you from answering the same questions over and over, it is a good idea to include a weblink where you can post applicant questions and your answers. Your website or Google Docs are great places for this.
Discuss Your Branding or Rebranding Budget
If you are able to clearly define the scope of the project, deliverables, timeline and requirements, you may be in a good place to define budgetary range. This range can help prevent wide pricing variations.
Pose Questions for the Branding Company to Answer
Asking questions you may ask of your prospective branding company partner will help you gain insights into their thinking and culture and how it can relate back to your business. How the questions are answered can be helpful in the selection process.
The following are questions you should have your branding agency answer in addition to having them provide a company overview and their accreditations:
- What is your branding/rebranding process?
- Why do you think you are the best branding company for the project?
- Tell us about your leadership and creative team members.
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- Which of your team members will be doing the work?
Searching for the Best Branding Agency?
You need a branding team with the talent and expertise to plan and implement the new look and feel of your company. When properly executed, the RFP process can prove to be a savior for those businesses who don’t know where to turn for the best branding agency – whether for a single project or a large branding endeavor. If you would like to learn more about Trillion’s branding process and how it can work for your company, give us a call at 908.219.4703 or complete our contact form here.
Brand Marketing Agency RFP Template
You need to create a tool for selecting brand marketing agencies regarding specific projects for your organization. This format should provide potential vendors the opportunity to showcase their work. You are required to have a standardized agency RFP format, which can be used to identify the differences between the agencies offering their services.
We present a Brand Marketing Agency RFP Template, which provides your company a complete Request for Proposal (RFP) for selecting agencies. A Brand Marketing Agency RFP is a formal invitation to request vendor proposals that meet specific business requirements and purchasing criteria. This template allows your company to provide possible agency vendors crucial information about your company and the project you would like to carry out.
The Brand Marketing Agency RFP is completely customizable, and can include information regarding your company´s overview and project details (purpose, scope and schedule). Agencies interested in working on your project can include information about their company and their approach to your proposal. Details provided by potential vendors can include budget, a prioritization list, and a list of client references.
- professionally formatted document
- helps organize the selection process
- save 2 hours on formatting
easy to edit and modify
Questions to Ask a Branding Agency in an RFP
By Mary Strain
When you're building your company's brand, rebranding a product or entering a new market, it helps to consult a branding agency. Some companies prefer to hire advertising agencies, including branding agencies, by issuing a request for a proposal, or RFP. An RFP is essentially a job announcement. When you send your RFP to selected branding agencies, you're inviting them to submit bids for your project, along with a summary of how they propose to address your company's branding needs. An RFP introduces your company and its needs to prospective agencies and is a springboard for further questions designed to identify the best agency for your project in areas such as price, focus, experience and responsiveness.
Any RFP should start by introducing your company and its branding needs to prospective agencies. Tell them who you are, describe your company's work and values, your vision and goals -- and be as specific as possible about the scope and timeline of the project at hand. Then, of course, move on to the basic hiring questions: How long have you been in business? Can you supply references and samples of your work? Do you have the staff, technology and experience to do a good job on our project? Do you have the expertise to help us on social media or mobile platforms? What makes you different and better than your competitors? What do you see as the next big thing in branding? Are you ready to help us take advantage of it?
The question of price is central to any bidding process. Your discussion of agency proposals should address questions such as: Are you willing and able to work within our stated budget? What services does your bid cover? What services and materials aren't included? Do you use subcontractors -- and if so, are their fees included in your bid? What will our initial costs be, and what will our ongoing costs be?
Your RFP should include some open-ended questions to allow agencies to share more than statistics and yes/no answers. Certain questions -- such as "Why is your agency a good fit for this project?" and "What do you see as your agency's core values?" -- may help you define the intangible qualities that make the difference between a good fit and a perfect one. If an agency is genuinely enthusiastic about your project and shares your company's goals, the project is more likely to be successful, and will certainly be more pleasant.
Aside from the basic questions about general experience, also ask about an agency's experience in your specific industry: Do you have experience working with companies in our industry? If so, what percentage of your clients are in our industry? Do you understand the unique challenges our industry faces, and do you have the expertise to address them? Do you understand who our customers are and what they want? Which of your team members will do this work?
An RFP should require an agency to detail how responsive it will be to your inquiries. It should pose questions such as: Who will be our main contact or contacts, and how can we get in touch? How often can we expect a progress report on our project? What information will it contain? If we need to contact your agency after hours or on weekends, can we do so? What will that cost? The Search Engine Land website suggests what may be the most telling question in this category: What percentage of your employees work in client services as opposed to marketing? The thinking is that firms with lots of client services employees are more focused on making their clients happy.
An RFP can be a useful tool for your business, but be aware that it's a controversial tool. Many agencies resent its use and have complained online that it can, and has, been used to "commoditize" what should be a unique, creative process. Others have reported that unethical companies often ask agencies to comment on an existing project with the intention of getting their ideas for free. Most agencies see that as stealing. If you use an RFP, and want to ask branding agencies for their ideas as part of their proposals, ask them to comment on a fictional, rather than an existing project, and ensure you hire the one whose ideas you use.
Mary Strain's first byline appeared in "Scholastic Scope Magazine" in 1978. She has written continually since then and has been a professional editor since 1994. Her work has appeared in "Seventeen Magazine," "The War Cry," "Young Salvationist," "Fireside Companion," "Leaders for Today" and "Creation Illustrated." She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Branding RFP
Whether you want to create an eye-catching logo design or search for help with rebranding your organization completely, the request for proposal, or simply RFP, is what you need to consider in the first place. While you may be familiar with RFPs in general, creating a branding RFP is a slightly different job. Being on the receiving side of the RFP process, our team of experienced product and graphic designers has seen both good and bad requests for proposals. Due to this, we have decided to help you with writing a branding RFP that will definitely attract the attention of the best and most skillful branding agencies. In this way, you will be able to define who is the most appropriate candidate to complete your assignment and help you brand or rebrand your business. Interested yet? We’re getting closer to the best part.
Why a Good Branding RFP is a Must
It doesn’t matter how great your downloaded branding RFP sample looks like, unless you put in some effort to make it look engaging and worthy, your RFP for branding services won’t get the desired response wave. The thing is, most creative design teams with a good reputation will more likely ignore your document if it isn’t meticulously written. It is not that they are arrogant or something, it is that they have to spend a significant amount of time on creating a proposal to an RFP. And if they don’t feel like the whole thing is worth a shot, they just won’t reply. You want potential vendors to be interested in your project, so it makes sense that to make it interesting is your responsibility. Not only does your branding RFP have to have clear project requirements, but it also has to be encouraging and attention-grabbing. So, yes, preparing one is a must.
What Sections Does a Good Branding Request for Proposal Consist of?
Every business wants to create a strong brand presence that will resonate with its target audience leading to an increase in sales and popularity. People have witnessed quite a few successful branding campaigns that have changed the public perception of the products those companies produce. Apple is a good example. The company has an influential brand identity that makes people buy its products just because there is a half-bitten apple image on them. The thing is, this image symbolizes prestige, quality, and advanced technologies. If you want to get a top-notch brand logo and other branding assets to get your business on the level of Apple, you need to do some serious work on creating a good branding RFP to get the best graphic designers interested in you. Here are the essentials of any request-for-proposal for branding agencies.
#1 Briefly describe your proposal request
One paragraph would be enough to describe the kind of services you are looking for and what branding you expect the vendors to provide. The information in this section should be relevant and engaging. Basically, this is a project overview and depending on how well it is written, your potential contractors will decide whether or not the whole branding RFP is worth their time and effort. In the first part of an RFP, you may like to include the due date vendors need to submit their final proposal, contact info , and budget you are ready to spend on the branding campaign.
#2 Give some background info about your company
The overview of your company and its history isn't the place to lag behind when it comes to composing a branding RFP. Although, we'd like to point out that when we say "company's history" we mean a short story that contains facts helpful in terms of the future branding campaign. There's no need in telling the whole story from the early days. Just tell contractors who you are , what your mission is, what value and vision you stick to, your goals, etc. This information will help brand designers to understand what your business is.
#3 Determine possible challenges
As it often happens, a company's existing brand has some issues that can be as internal as external. If this is the case, you need to be honest about the issues you are having and solutions you would be happy with. Do you think that your brand is outdated in the realities of the modern world? Does it send the wrong message? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine the potential challenges so that a team of designers could come up with an appropriate branding or rebranding solution.
#4 Describe branding project requirements
Being the heart and soul of your branding request for proposal, you need to determine the scope of work in detail. The more specific you are, the better. Make a list of deliverables you need, such as:
- Carry out research including surveys, interviews, focus groups to determine the brand perception by the target audience;
- Define the target audience;
- Make an audit of existing brand elements to figure out which have to be updated;
- Map out a new brand strategy that specifies the main values, mission, and vision of the company;
- Create guidelines for online branding.
If at this stage you have no clear vision of the project scope, you may like to request a discovery phase to be done by a design agency and help you out with defining workload. But it is always better if you mention a minimum scope of services you expect vendors to provide you with.
#5 Describe the candidate you want to hire
Draw a picture of a perfect vendor your company would like to work with. Should the design firm be from the same area as you or you are willing to work under the outsourcing model? Can your vendor be an individual freelancer? What experience do your candidates have to have? Be specific about the qualifications of the candidates you are looking for.
#6 Decide on the proposal submission format
Make a list of the proposal requirements and help vendors understand the selection criteria. You need to enumerate what information all submissions should include and point out what the decision-making factor will be. You can ask vendors to provide you with the info about their firm and employees, their experience, and the approaches they use. It is always a good idea to ask them to send you a portfolio or examples. Don’t forget to request the estimated cost for all work. By standardizing the proposal submission, you make the process of comparing and picking the right candidate a lot easier.
#7 Discuss your timelines and budget
It will be the second time you mention timelines and budget in your brand development RFP, but this time you need to be more specific. Since you know your requirements, deliverables, and timelines, you are in a place to define the workload and the range of the budget. As for the deadlines , make sure you included the date your branding RFP was issued, the due date you want candidates to provide responses, the launch date , etc.
The final thoughts
Creating an RFP for branding services may look like a too complicated and a bit scary process, however, if done the right way, it is always fruitful in terms of the brand-building process. We have to warn you though. Being creative by nature, many designers find the RFP approach time-consuming and simply ignore emails containing RFPs. Moreover, if you just want to know the pricing of a particular design company, it is better to reach out to them and ask for the bid instead of wasting their and your time on writing a request for proposal on branding. All in all, we hope that the article was helpful and in case you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact us here. Our team knows how to create a strong brand image of a company!
Don’t know where to find an RFP for a branding proposal?
Download a free branding RFP template here.Download
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