Development Corporation of Richmond TX issues a Marketing Strategy RFP

News
Jan 19, 2023
Jerry W. Jones Jr.

Development Corporation of Richmond TX issues a Marketing Strategy RFP

Project Background

Development Corporation of Richmond and City of Richmond, TX

The Development Corporation of Richmond (DCR) and the City of Richmond, Texas (City) are joining efforts to identify a firm that will create a marketing strategy for the DCR and City.

DCR and the City are inviting qualified firms to partner with them to develop a competitive identity or brand strategy for the area and create a marketing campaign that will build the world’s perception of Richmond and its quality of life and value proposition that will spur economic growth and talent attraction and retention.

The Challenge

Capturing Potential for Growth

Founded in 1837, City of Richmond, Texas, offers a unique blend of Texas history and small-town charm. Home to award winning master-planned residential communities, retail centers and business designed to complement each other. As one of the oldest cities in Texas, it also happens to be the county seat for Fort Bend County, one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most-diverse counties in the nation.

What makes Richmond so attractive is its location. Strategically located along U.S. Highway 59/ IH-69, SH-99 the Grand Parkway, and U.S. 90 Alternate, Richmond is in a prime position for both commercial and residential expansion. Located less than 45 minutes from Downtown Houston and the world’s leading medical district, the Texas Medical Center, Richmond offers attractive incentive packages, and trained & talented workforce to attract businesses and promote progress.

It’s got a little bit of everything… a historic downtown district, a developing parks and trail system connecting key destination points throughout the 4.47 square mile city, a high performing school district, and a vibrant local economy.

The overarching goals for Richmond are the following:

  • A strong unifying identity with evaluation of current branding and messaging.

  • A compelling message and brand for Richmond as a desirable place for businesses and individuals to work, live, play, and invest. (We recognize we may have one or more competitive positions as messaging is developed.)

The overarching objectives for the Richmond are the following:

  • Increasing our business attraction by creating a plan that secures businesses within our Industry target sectors

  • Increasing the talent pool by retaining and attracting a citizen workforce.

  • Tell our story of our past as well as our bright future.

  • Spur economic growth by attracting business investments and elevating quality of life.

  • Positive perception both within and outside of Richmond.

Generally, it is a sellers' market for homeowners, and the economy is strong. We have successfully raised the expectations for the quality of life, and businesses seek talent in all sectors. The opinion of the DCR and City is that the community is not garnering the regional or local attention it deserves, which we believe will support its growth goals. In short, the goal is to develop a competitive identity or brand strategy to raise the area's profile and energize the community within the stated goals and objectives.

Positioning Richmond for Success

We desire to develop a competitive identity/brand strategy, concept, message, and personality for Richmond that presents our character and benefits to the nation and the world beyond. A persuasive message and relatable brand concept will allow us to better communicate our message beyond those in the community. To us, this means demonstrating the values and benefits of living and working in Richmond so that those who have not experienced it will have a perception that results in a positive sentiment, and those that are considering Richmond as a location in which to make an economic investment will be curious and compelled to investigate further.

Scope of Services

Phase I: Developing a Competitive Identity/Brand Strategy (Research and Development) This project needs to be completed in phases, with Phase I being research and development and Phase II being implementation. We expect to engage with an agency that can demonstrate its ability to guide The DCR and City as we create a competitive identity or brand strategy to shape the area's future. We will select a

firm for this initial Phase to conduct research, develop a strategy, message, and campaign concept, and develop the implementation plan. In summary, the DCR and City seek an agency to perform the following services:

  • Develop a competitive identity/brand strategy and creative direction for Richmond, TX.

    • Marketing message

    • Identity development

  • Primary objectives of this competitive identity/brand strategy include, but are not limited to:

    • Uniformity of Message - The identity/brand strategy should convey a common message to audiences both within and outside of Richmond, TX.

    • Community Identity/Pride - The strategy should identify and highlight what makes Richmond, TX appealing in a competitive capacity to businesses, investors, families, and individuals. Additionally, we are particularly interested in a story that will speak across generations, skillsets, and households as well as the international community. Retention, attraction, and out-migration of talent are significant issues.

    • Community and Economic Development Promotion – Richmond is in a unique position serving as the County seat for the most diverse County in the Country and being less than 30 minutes from the downtown area of the largest most diverse City in America. The strategy should position Richmond to attract private investment, new residents, and young professionals, as well as to retain key businesses and creative talent. We must promote Richmond as the ideal place to live, work, play and do business.

    • Community Support/Involvement - The area’s unique quality of life attributes is not well known outside of Richmond—certainly not outside the State of Texas, and to some extent, not even within the state. The identity strategy should build local, regional, and national mindfulness of the strengths of Richmond. Internal education and awareness building by our community stakeholders is key to effectively shaping outsiders’ views of Richmond.

    • Flexibility - The identity must be adaptable to meet the needs of a variety of partners and can be integrated into groups and businesses with their own specific marketing initiatives. It must also be flexible enough to evolve over time as the area progresses.

    • Endorsement - The identity must be authentic and resonate with citizens, businesses, and community groups within Richmond, to gain the most widespread support.

The deliverables of Phase I are as follows:

  • Research

    • Identify priority target audiences

    • Identify and present essential talking points

  • Strategy

    • Develop a brand strategy and identity

    • Develop a brand marketing campaign

    • Develop a website to represent the campaign (For Presentation purposes)

    • Develop a campaign creative concept

    • Develop primary campaign assets or direction

    • Develop a multi-channel communication plan

  • Planning

    • Prepare a media plan including budget for PR, paid media, and grassroots marketing

Building Consensus

Amongst the DCR and City stakeholders, you will find a strong consensus. Still, we believe that gaining support from the diversity of stakeholders beyond this "inside" group may be a challenge for the chosen agency. We expect that a successful agency will engage various stakeholders and conduct focus groups to capture the community's collective vision, represent our community best, and, even more importantly, get the community's backing.

Phase II (Implementation):

Phase II will be determined by the strategy developed in Phase I. The firm we select will guide and influence how we implement Phase II and possibly with what partners; however, we reserve the right to choose a different partner if we deem it necessary. Our current advertising budget is $100,000.00. Phase II may include, but not be limited to:

  • Website content updates as needed

  • TV concepting and production

  • Radio concepting and production

  • Out of home (digital and static)

  • Digital advertisements (banner, social, etc.)

  • Print advertisements

  • Additional projects as needed

Examining Early-Stage Metrics

Like any city, we monitor median incomes, population growth, wealth creation, job creation, and more to gauge the health of our community. Seeing the needle move in these areas is essential for a successful campaign. Realizing that measuring the success of the campaign by those goals alone would be complicated (as they are long-term goals and the data isn’t available sometimes two to three years afterward), we would like to identify other metrics that indicate that the campaign has a positive impact to gauge its success during the early stages. We will rely on the chosen agency to help develop these based on the specific tactics of the campaign, but we believe they may include such results ranging from the number of positive media mentions (travel magazines, national lists, etc.), social media engagement and mentions, to inquiries from corporations reviewing Richmond for expansion or relocation.

Timeline and Budget

Project Timeline

Once we identify an agency, we expect to move forward immediately. We anticipate that this project including research, strategy development, creative direction and production of creative concepts will take time. We invite respondents to provide an overview of the timeline they anticipate or recommend.

We realize that a project like this can take time and is important.

Budget

The budget has not been determined for the cost of the plan. We anticipate the proposals will outline the cost to provide Phase I & II of the project. We are seeking proposals from agencies recommending how we should allocate the budgeted $100,000.00 for advertising funds for Phase II.

Qualifications

Capabilities

Qualified agencies will have experience in public relations, branding, marketing, advertising, and producing creative in multiple forms of media. They will be able to showcase recent work comparable to Richmond's needs. We expect to hire an agency with in-house staff skilled in brand strategy, marketing strategy, copywriting, and design.

The most crucial capabilities we will be seeking are that of strategy development. For Richmond, many potential messages could be prioritized. We expect the chosen agency to demonstrate through their experience or their process that they will be able to help DCR and the City identify what messages to prioritize, how to present them, and to which target audiences.

Selection Criteria

A committee will review initial submissions for a first round of elimination, narrowing down to agencies that seem most fitting for a deeper review. From there, agencies will be reviewed by the larger group to identify a final agency or a short list of no more than three agencies. Those agencies may be invited to present to the committee in person, after which an absolute agency will be selected. We will be looking most closely at the following considerations:

  • Relatable client experience

  • Process or recommended approach

  • General agency capabilities

Previous Experience

We are considering agencies that have done similar work and those that have yet to. We don’t assume marketing for municipalities, tourism, or economic development experience is necessary. We’re looking for fresh eyes and a unique approach to our challenges. The body of work will be essential to help our stakeholders review agency capabilities and provide context around their approach to this kind of work.

Response Requirements

What must be included in your response to be considered

  • Introduction to your agency

  • Case studies and previous work samples

  • Project approach

  • Outline of budget and timeline

Submissions

All information and submissions unless otherwise noted are located on the DCR website: www.developrichmondtx.com

Intent to Bid

Agencies electing to bid on this project should submit a notice of intent with contact information by 5:00 p.m. CST on February 3, 2023. Please email your intent to bid to jjones@richmondtx.gov.

Pre-bid Questions

Questions should be directed to the above email address. All questions should be submitted by 5:00 p.m. CST on February 8, 2023. Responses will be posted by 12:00 p.m. CST on February 13, 2023.

Submission Deadline

Electronic copy to be submitted to the above email by 5:00 p.m. CST on February 17, 2023. Twelve copies of your firm’s proposal must be delivered to:

Development Corporation of Richmond TX

Attn: Jerry W. Jones Jr.

402 Morton St.

Richmond, Texas 77469

by 3:00 p.m. CST on February 22, 2023, to be considered.

Agency finalist will be posted to the above website by 10:00 a.m. CST on March 14, 2023.