Auburn University Issues Branding RFP
The College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, has initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify an agency or company to plan, execute, and deliver branding services, including a core brand message, key marketing pieces, and a complete redesign of the college’s website (auburn.edu/cosam). COSAM would prefer an agency or company that has demonstrated experience in defining brands and managing website projects for higher education, and has expertise with best practices regarding successful implementation of brand messaging and website design, development, and deployment. The purpose of this RFP is to 1) to provide information and details regarding the scope of the projects requested and 2) to provide proposal guidelines, requirements, and evaluation criteria against which proposals will be judged.
Auburn University is a land-grant institution and as such, the mission of COSAM mirrors that of the university and is to teach by providing an environment that ensures excellence in the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences for the purpose of preserving, interpreting, and conveying existing knowledge; to research by creating, integrating, and applying new knowledge; and to reach out to others by fostering educational exchange within the university, the Alabama community, and society as a whole.
Sciences and mathematics have existed within the educational framework of Auburn University since its beginning as East Alabama Male College in 1856. Early Auburn leaders in the sciences and mathematics are numerous and include several men who provided impressive leadership for the growing institution. Their names are synonymous with Auburn University, and many of the institution’s buildings, both past and present, have been named after these early university leaders. The 1980’s brought big changes to Auburn when then-president, James Martin, declared it was time to “make Auburn University a major national research university…beyond the agricultural production areas that had once been the university’s mainstay.” One way to achieve this goal was to bring the physical, biological, and mathematical sciences together into one new college, putting sciences and mathematics at the forefront and becoming the foundation for instructional, research, and outreach success. Thus, in 1986, COSAM was created. Today, COSAM is comprised of five departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics. It is one of the largest colleges at Auburn with approximately 150 faculty members, more than 2,400 undergraduate students, and some 350 graduate students.
Scope of Work
A comprehensive brand guide that clearly defines a core brand message for COSAM. The brand guide should verbally and visually illustrate how the message can be articulated for each of our primary audiences: prospective students, current students, alumni/donors, faculty/staff, industry/government leaders, and the community.
Provide solid strategy recommendations for using/promoting the COSAM brand in a variety of media, including social media, video, search engines, print advertising, etc., to draw in and engage more prospective students and other key COSAM audiences.
Student Recruitment Collateral Piece
Since current and prospective students will be our primary audience, as a concrete example that we can begin using immediately, please provide a new student recruitment print piece that utilizes the newly created COSAM brand and guide standards. The COSAM Office of Communications and Marketing writers and photographers, university photographers, and the COSAM Office of Student Services staff will provide content for this piece based on discussions with the firm. The print piece should reflect the messaging found on the newly conceived and designed website, and include opportunities for expanding the message into other areas, such as social media, video, additional print materials, and promotional materials.
Over the last 10 years, the COSAM website (auburn.edu/cosam) has undergone two redesign processes, and both designs were primarily based on requirements and templates set forth by the Auburn University Central Office of Communications and Marketing. Most recently, COSAM’s multimedia specialist, Phillip Coxwell, has been working to make certain our website is responsive to hand-held devices.
Several key events have taken place that indicate it is time for COSAM to make a real investment in the website, including:
- Based on a 2014 study, most of our users are viewing the website on a hand-held device. While our website is responsive to such devices, it was not designed with cell phones and tablets in mind as the primary vehicle for viewing content.
- Web design trends have shifted significantly from where they have been for the last 10 years or so, mostly in response to hand-held devices. For example, design trends have moved from a landscape orientation (best suited for a desktop screen), to a long, scrolling orientation (best suited for viewing on hand-held device).
- We need to stay ahead of our competitors.
- Looking around the university, most of the newest designs were implemented 2 or more years ago. By beginning the process of redesign now, COSAM has an opportunity to really showcase what an exceptional and leading college we are at Auburn.
- As the millennial generation is entering the workforce, it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to engage this tech-savvy generation in their alma mater. The website provides a prime opportunity for such engagement.
September 27, 2017
Procurement and Payment Services office
311 Ingram Hall
PR firms with education experience include Ketchum PR and Burson-Marsteller.