Thank you for asking such great questions. Here are all of the compiled questions, along with our responses:
Specific to the initial RFI response, would you like us to provide additional background on our agency? Providing additional agency background information is not necessary if you feel you’ve provided sufficient information in your RFI response.
Specific to the initial RFI response, would you like to see additional or expanded case studies from? If the case studies from your RFI response are the most relevant for the purposes of this RFP, we are happy to use what has already been provided.
Regarding the stated Objective: “Obtaining creative “building blocks” that can be used to produce future marketing collateral and campaigns.” Could you please provide more detail around your definition of marketing building blocks? We are referring primarily to the brand personality that is created through this branding project. Our hope is that new messaging, voice, etc. will be crafted that we can use across all marketing and communications channels.
Our brand identity process includes exploring logos, marks and color palettes and includes brand guidelines along with business expressions such as business cards, letterhead & email signatures. Do these deliverables align with your stated Objective: “Creating a distinct, unique brand for Pet Partners that will attract a more diverse population of volunteers and supporters.”? If not, could you please provide more detail around your definition of this need? At this time, we don’t foresee our visual identity changing much, if at all. We have a large number of local Community Partners that have adopted our visual identity. A group that may have once been called “Paws for a Cause” may now be called “Pet Partners of Smallville” and has been provided with a modified version of our logo, and now uses our colors, name, tagline, etc. In addition, our Therapy Animal Program has over 10,000 volunteers that have purchased Pet Partners branded merchandise. Instead of altering our visual identity now, we are more focused on identifying better ways to speak to our current and potential volunteers, donors, and other supporters. We want to be more focused on how their volunteerism with us can benefit them and focus less about why volunteering with our organization is better than going with a competitor. We also want to ensure we are being as welcoming and inclusive as possible, as our current volunteer/supporter population is largely homogenous.
In the next phase, will the interview of top candidates be in-person or virtual? Because the Pet Partners team is virtual, the interview process for top candidates will also be virtual, via Zoom.
Is a PDF via email the preferred format for RFP submissions? Are there any additional formatting requirements or considerations? A PDF is perfectly acceptable. You may also choose to submit a link to a cloud-based document. There are no additional formatting requirements or considerations.
Just want to confirm that we can still include content from the RFI in the final RFP presentation if they are relevant to fully communicating our approach? Absolutely! We don’t expect you to reinvent the wheel for the RFP. We are looking for the information stated in our requirements, but if any of it was previously submitted in your RFI response, that is acceptable. We will be taking both submitted documents into consideration during the review process.
Related to the above, within the case studies portfolio for the RFP, is it ok to include case studies that may have already been shared in the initial RFI? Yes. You also do not need to submit additional case studies unless there are others you feel the need to share with us.
Can we include references that fall outside of the non-profit space so long as they can speak to our expertise in brand strategy? Or are you only considering non-profit references in your evaluation? All appropriate references are acceptable.
What existing, relevant research has been done already that Pet Partners would be able to share with the chosen agency partner (i.e. consumer research, industry research, audience ethnographies, etc.). Looking to understand what the starting point would be for the research/discovery phase of the project. Our existing research is limited. There was some branding research done about 5-7 years ago (maybe even earlier) about consumer insights and benefits; and our brand promise, personality, values, and positioning were identified and defined. Additionally, we have some relevant information from our website user experience project, which was conducted last year.
Should the project scope and budget include website development work? If so, is there a launch date set for the new website? The project scope should not include website development. We will be working with our existing website development partner on the redesign of the website. This project is on hold while we prioritize branding.
Is Pet Partners open to refining the current brand promise statement “We Care” or is that untouchable? We are very open to refining our current brand promise statement.
Are there any branding/design elements that are untouchable (e.g. logo), or are you looking for or considering a complete rebrand? Please see question 4.
Regarding the creative objectives/deliverables of the project (Primary Objectives 4 and 5 in the RFP Brief), are you looking for the agency to deliver a “fully-baked” brand marketing and communications campaign or campaigns (consumer facing) that can be executed immediately following completion of this project? Just trying to get a sense of the scope of the creative deliverables specific to this RFP. This is an excellent question and one that we may not have truly considered, therefore this would not be an expectation. We likely will need assistance with a consumer-facing campaign, although it is not expected to be folded into this branding project and within the desired budget.
For the research we’d conduct at the beginning of this process, we typically employ a mix of interviews, group discussions, or surveys to hear from internal and external groups. Did you have any pre-set ideas for how to engage the different groups you noted, or are you open to our suggestions? We are very open to suggestions from you, the experts, on the research process.
Have you recently conducted any research among your audiences? If so, what would be available for our review if we were to work together? Please see question 10.
There is mention of the board participating in selecting which firm you select. How else do you envision the board participating in this work? Are you open to suggestions? Can you tell us more about the levels of stakeholder engagement or buy-in that you will require? (this impacts overall timing, rounds of presentations, etc.) There will be one board member who is the head of our Marketing & Communications Committee that will be present for the presentations made by our top 3-4 candidates. Beyond this, the Board will only be informed about the agency partner we ultimately select. Other key stakeholders that will review the proposals include 2-3 members of the Marketing & Communications staff and our CEO. The presentations will likely be attended by our CEO, Chief Mission Officer, Chief Development Officer, National Director of Communications, and the board member previously mentioned.
We find it essential to provide trainings on the new brands to encourage buy-in and get people to become brand ambassadors. Will one training be sufficient, or do you imagine we’ll need to provide several trainings for different stakeholders? We are hopeful that one training will be sufficient and can include various stakeholders.
Do you have any programs or events with a unique name or visual identity? Any plans to create one soon? This impacts how much we might need to deliver brand architecture strategy and designs. Each of our signature fundraising events has its own branding and unique name. We currently have three such events: National Therapy Animal Day, Treats & Sweets Day, and the World’s Largest Pet Walk. There will be an additional signature event launching later this year. We also have various programs that have unique names and visual identities. There are currently 3-4 of these programs.
For the messaging work, are you interested primarily in organizational messaging, or are you also interested in updates to the written versions of your mission, vision, and/or values statements? Excellent question! We are interested in improving all messaging that will help move our brand in a new direction.
For the website content deliverable, we typically conduct a training for staff on how to write for the web and then edit several pages (eg 20 pages). Would that work for you to build your team’s capacity, or are you looking for us to write the content for your approval? Also, do you have an estimated number of pages for editing or drafting? It would be to our benefit to have staff trained in this area. We envisioned having the branding agency author the content, but we are also open to this alternative. Right now, the estimated number of pages that need revised or new content is between 15-20.
For the objective regarding “Enhancing and expanding on communication and engagement with public and internal audiences through improved tactics, messaging, and processes,” can you please share more about what you are looking for here. Would a communication plan suffice, or are you looking for a firm to create an outreach campaign within this scope of work? We believe we are looking for more than a communication plan or an outreach campaign. We need some of the direction that could result from a communication plan, but we are expecting the development of a new brand personality for Pet Partners. Please refer to questions 3, 4, and 14 for more details.
Is there an incumbent firm bidding on this work? And are you able to tell us how many firms are responding to your RFP (or were approached)? There is no incumbent firm bidding on this work. We distributed this RFP to 7 agencies, and we are anticipating responses from all of them.
Can Pet Partners provide a ranged guess of how many web pages will need to be rewritten? Please see question 21.
Do you want us to repeat info from the RFI so it’s all in one place, or only deliver new materials? Please refer to questions 1, 2, and 7.
What are you looking for from the “branding guide”? Are those the visual elements (color, imagery direction, design/iconography?), is the logo up for redesign or locked in? We have a current branding guidelines document, but we expect there may be some changes based on the outcomes of the branding work. This is not a critical element of this project, but a “nice to have.” We are not looking for changes to our visual identity at this time. Please see question 4 for more details.
Do you need any web dev/design support, or just content support? We are currently just looking for content support at this time.
Do you have an estimate on the number/amount of content for the website? Please see question 21.
What do you consider “building blocks” to include in brand guidelines? Is this an update of existing guidelines or building from scratch? Please see question 3.
Any expectations of timing for when work will be complete? Any required company milestones or processes that need to be considered? We do not have an expectation for completion of the branding work. We have put our website redesign project on hold, but anticipate revisiting that timeline once we start the branding project.
What is the approval process for the deliverables and/or who is the primary decision maker? (Will this go through a committee/board review?) Please refer to question 17 for approval process information. This will go through a committee review for the final agency selection.
Is the redesign and development of your website part of the scope of the project with the branding agency partner or have you engaged developers for that project? Please see question 11.
What are the expectations for the branding guide? In addition to brand positioning and messaging, are you expecting visual identity guidelines in the branding guide? If so, is logo redesign and visual identity part of the scope of this engagement? Please see questions 4 and 26.
When you talk about the branding, messaging and content aligning strategically with your programs, offerings and goals of the organization, what specifically do you mean by content? Is that the body copy (rewriting/authoring) for the new website? If you have already engaged developers for the website project, are you looking for your branding agency partner to collaborate with the web developers by writing the copy for the site and passing it to them? By ‘content’, we are referring to any text, photos, imagery, iconography, etc. used across print and digital channels. This will also include website copy. Since we already have an established website development partner who is aware of this branding project, we expect there to be some collaboration between the two agencies.
What are the expectations in terms of developing creative “building blocks” that would be used in future marketing? What would that deliverable look like? Please see question 3.
Is tagline part of the scope of the work? We are open to having the tagline incorporated into this work.