SAN JOAQUIN JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY SEEKS MARKETING FIRM

SJJPA is soliciting proposals for “BAY AREA REGION MARKETING & OUTREACH SERVICES.” 

Background:

The Intercity Passenger Rail Act of 2012 (Assembly Bill 1779) signed by Governor Brown on September 29, 2012, permitted the establishment of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), and required the State to transfer the administrative responsibilities of the San Joaquins Intercity Passenger Rail Service (San Joaquins) from the State to SJJPA. The governance/management of the San Joaquins Rail Service was transferred to SJJPA on July 1, 2015. AB 1779 requires SJJPA to protect the existing San Joaquin Rail Service and facilities and seek to expand service as warranted by ridership and available revenue. Increases in the San Joaquin Rail Service and ridership will result in more jobs, improved air quality, and will help promote sustainable development in the San Joaquins Corridor. Under the provisions of AB 1779, the state will continue to provide the funding necessary for service operations, administration, and marketing.

A Board of Directors representing each of the 10 Member Agencies along the 365-mile San Joaquins route governs SJJPA. Rather than retaining separate staff, SJJPA designated the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission as its Managing Agency to oversee the day-to-day service management, planning, marketing, and funding support services. Additional information about SJJPA can be found at https://www.sjjpa.com.

The Intercity Passenger Rail Act of 2012 (Assembly Bill 1779) signed by Governor Brown on September 29, 2012, permitted the establishment of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), and enabled SJJPA to enter into an Interagency Transfer Agreement (ITA) with the State to transfer the administrative responsibilities of the San Joaquin Intercity Passenger Rail Service (Amtrak San Joaquins) from the State to SJJPA. The ITA was executed on June 29, 2015 and the governance/management of the Amtrak San Joaquins transferred to the SJJPA on July 1, 2015. AB 1779 requires the SJJPA to protect the existing San Joaquins service and facilities and seeks to expand service as warranted by ridership and available revenue. Increases in the San Joaquins service and ridership will result in more jobs, improved air quality, and will help promote sustainable development in the San Joaquins corridor. Under the provisions of AB 1779, the state will continue to provide the funding necessary for service operations, administration, and marketing.

The SJJPA performs marketing activities in support of Amtrak San Joaquins. The initial marketing plan began in April 2016 and retained firms and/or individuals who are active in community issues to act as a direct conduit between SJJPA and the various communities within the corridor. The local outreach representatives’ ensure that San Joaquins service information gets to the right stakeholders and that critical feedback gets to SJJPA. Additionally, a grassroots focus is employed to help SJJPA identify and address markets throughout the San Joaquins corridor that are underserved or lacking information. The agency seeks to value all segments of people in the economic and social domains, and desires to achieve this by direct person-to-person contact through the utilization of local outreach representatives that live and work in their region.

A secondary focus is given to advertising and social media. Due to the cost-effective nature of digital advertising, this channel is primarily used to deliver messages across the entire San Joaquins corridor. Traditional media channels are employed during peak advertising periods. Social media engagement and advertising plays an increasingly prominent role in engaging potential riders with tailored content and messaging. Due to the demographic layout of the social channels, Facebook has been the primary focus with growing audience and engagement numbers.

SJJPA’s near-term plans focus on two primary initiatives:

  1. The Sacramento/Bay Area Morning Express
  2. Sacramento Corridor Service Expansion

The Morning Express programs intend to deliver passengers to the San Joaquins northern terminus stations located in Sacramento and Oakland around 8am to encourage additional business and same-day leisure travel. The Sacramento Morning Express will launch in May 2018 and Bay Area Morning Express is tentatively planned to launch in April 2019.

The Sacramento Corridor Service Expansion program has been initiated to increase service on the San Joaquins to and from Sacramento. The Sacramento market is a key growth market for the San Joaquins and is underserved by the current two daily round- trips. The SJJPA Marketing Plan initiating in Fiscal Year 18/19 will see a shift in the focus of the marketing and outreach efforts from primarily focused on grassroots activity to a more advertising centric approach. With a 365-mile corridor and an extensive thruway bus system, a large-scale advertising effort is needed to appropriately saturate the corridor with the message of the service. In addition to this effort, a new customer-facing website will be developed to better communicate how to utilize the service, offer a more dynamic user experience, and drive visitors to book tickets. In addition to this effort, two Public Relations teams will be employed to drive stakeholder engagement and media relations on behalf of the agency in the Bay Area and Central Valley. The marketing plan is focused on increasing ridership and revenue on the San Joaquins as the agency continues to position the service to do so by diversifying its rider profile and increasing service to Sacramento. SJJPA anticipates a collaborative approach between its contracted marketing partners to achieve its goals in the most creative and effective way possible.

Scope of Work:

As a public agency with forward thinking plans and initiatives, an important aspect of marketing and outreach efforts is ‘Stakeholder Engagement’. Local, committed stakeholders are vital to promote the service, improve local presence, and activate communities to ride the train. Stakeholder education meetings, presentations, and partnerships will be a key component to the marketing efforts. Stakeholders can be classified as community leaders, organizations, businesses, and local media.

To accomplish continued engagement of key stakeholders, SJJPA will retain a local, embedded grassroots Outreach Team in the Bay Area region. Outreach Teams have been a component of the SJJPA approach to stakeholder engagement. This Outreach Team will focus its efforts on stakeholder engagement, strategic partnerships, and local media relations. There are several key groups, chambers, partnerships, agencies, universities, and organizations within the corridor that are an essential component of awareness and messaging multiplication. The Bay Area Outreach Team will be leveraging its contacts, SJJPA contacts, and placing emphasis on new stakeholder acquisition. Stakeholders will be engaged to share San Joaquins content, support service initiatives, and plan organization group trips.

Local attractions, destinations, businesses, and convention and visitor bureaus are key targets for strategic partnerships for SJJPA. As a predominantly leisure service, curating a diverse range of strategic partnerships throughout the corridor will aid creating attractional messages to San Joaquins riders and potential riders. In addition, these strategic partnerships will be utilized to spread San Joaquins messaging to their stakeholders and customers, thereby, multiplying the message. Earned Media is an essential component to reaching current and potential passengers with key messages regarding service changes, improvements, and offerings. With a diverse train corridor that spans 365-miles with 4 Designated Market Areas (DMA), local media relationships are key to earned media success. The Bay Area Outreach Team will leverage its regional media relationships to ensure appropriate coverage of earned media opportunities throughout the Bay Area Region.

With a tentative April 2019 start-date, the Bay Area Morning Express Service will be a key upcoming initiative for the Bay Area market. Bay Area Morning Express Service is a program designed to schedule a Bay Area train to arrive in Oakland by 8am to stimulate business travel on the San Joaquins. The Bay Area Outreach Team will play an integral role in growing awareness and support for the service with stakeholders and businesses. It will take the lead in developing a public relations plan for the launch of the service. It will advise the SJJPA advertising agency in the development of its campaign to support the service. It will manage the media outreach in the Bay Area market leading up to the launch of the service and continue to foster earned media throughout the beginning stages of service operation.

SJJPA Bay Area Outreach Team will be expected to:

  • Lead agency outreach efforts in the Bay Area Region to potential passengers of all types, community organizations, stakeholders, disadvantaged communities, minorities and non-English-speaking constituencies, agencies, businesses, associations, and elected officials through one-on-one meetings, meeting presentations, memberships in organizations and associations, and other activities.
  • Maintain a contact database on excel of individuals from the groups listed above.
  • Serve as the agency liaison to various stakeholder entities, such as Chambers of Commerce, Visitors Bureaus, alliances, other government agencies, etc.
  • Spearhead the formation of mutually beneficial partnerships with local and regional agencies, organizations, and businesses.
  • Serve as the point of contact for all stakeholder communications, including timely responses to inquiries from stakeholders within the Bay Area Region regarding agency interests.
  • Curate social media content for the Bay Area region to be vetted and included in the agency’s social media calendar.
  • Work with media within the region to get San Joaquins service mentions and stories.
  • Increase awareness in the Bay Area Region of the San Joaquin intercity passenger rail service (San Joaquins) as a transportation provider for leisure travelers, business travelers, and groups taking trips throughout the San Joaquin Corridor, California, and to Nevada.
  • Form new and cultivate existing relationships with Bay Area Region elected officials, business groups, non-profits, organizations, and other stakeholders for the purpose of sharing the vision of the SJJPA’s major capital initiatives.
  • Assist with the planning, budgeting, and executing of the agency’s involvement in various community and transit events (i.e. sponsorships, tabling, vendor booths, etc.).
  • Perform other duties as required. Any additional services will be pre-approved in writing.

Deliverables

  • Submit monthly outreach calendars that include planned meetings, engagements, and events. SJJPA will review and direct activity where appropriate.
  • Submit quarterly content ideas for SJJPA social channels with written posts due monthly upon approval of content calendars.
  • Submit by e-mail a progress report to SJJPA staff highlighting the meetings attended; meetings conducted; contacts made; research done; correspondence; where follow-up is needed; and goals for the next reporting cycle no less than once per month at the same time the invoice is submitted for payment.
  • Submit monthly updates of the contact list to SJJPA staff.

Due Date:

April 5, 2018

Address:

SAN JOAQUIN JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY

949 E. CHANNEL STREET

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA 95202

PR firms in California includes Zeno Group & Edelman PR.

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