Bloomington Illinois Issues Branding RFP

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit proposals to establish a lump sum contract with a qualified consulting firm with solid experience in marketing research (both quantitative and qualitative), message/positioning development, and municipal identity/branding including development of a brand values statement; logo development and associated graphic standards; and recommendations for brand rollout. It is possible the City’s current logo or elements of it may be retained, with enhancements provided by other elements of a brand marketing campaign incorporated. The City of Bloomington is seeking the development of a comprehensive brand marketing campaign to drive business attraction and retention, energize current residents and position the municipality as a desirable place for relocation, and enhance general perception as a customer service focused municipality

1. The City of Bloomington requests proposals by qualified firms to research, create, and develop an implementation plan for a community branding initiative for the City of Bloomington. Responses to this Request for Proposal (RFP) will provide the City with the information required to assess, evaluate, and select a consultant based on prior experience, qualification, methodology and approach, work performed in similarly sized communities, and overall project cost. It is important to note that this is a community branding initiative, but that the brand will be used primarily as an identity for the City of Bloomington.

2. The primary goals/objectives to be achieved by the branding initiative include, but are not limited to: a. Uniformity – The brand should convey a common message and image to audiences both within and outside the City of Bloomington. A defined message that will market the City of Bloomington locally, statewide, nationally and internationally as a great place to live, work, shop, and do business; the right place for development, redevelopment and investment; the perfect mix for a business-friendly community.

                b. Community Identity/Pride – Identify and promote what makes the City of Bloomington distinct and appealing in a regionally competitive environment for investors, businesses, retailers, visitors, and residents. 

                c. Community and Economic Development Promotion – Promote a healthy economy, attract private investment, new residents and young professionals, and retain key businesses and creative talent. 

                d. Flexibility – The brand must be flexible and adaptable in order to meet the needs of a variety of departments and municipal functions within the City, as well as groups and businesses within the City in their specific marketing initiatives, while maintaining consistency with their overall brand. It must also be flexible enough to grow and evolve along with any changes in the market.

                e. Endorsement – The brand must be authentic and resonate with community leadership in the City of Bloomington and with business leadership in the area.


                1. The consultant should specialize in project management, research, marketing, and creative design as it relates to the development of a community brand. To be eligible to respond to the RFP, the consultant must demonstrate that it is a firm with significant experience with community branding initiatives. Priority will be given to those firms that have experience with local governments in this type of work.


The City of Bloomington, incorporated in 1856, is a home rule unit of government under the 1970 Illinois Constitution. The City of Bloomington is located in the heart of Central Illinois, approximately 125 miles southwest of Chicago, 155 miles northeast of St. Louis, and 64 miles northeast of Springfield, the State Capital. The City of Bloomington is the County Seat of McLean County, the largest county in Illinois (approximately 762,240 acres). The results of the 2010 Census shows the City now has a population of 76,610 citizens. The economic strength of the City of Bloomington metropolitan area is well diversified with no single dominating industry.

Scope of Work:

Project Management – The consultant will lead all aspects of the City of Bloomington community marketing and branding initiative, including the following:

1. Advisory to the Steering Committee (to be determined) – This team will be composed of representatives from the City and community leaders. Meetings throughout the process will be required. 

2. Lead for facilitating various focus groups comprised of community leadership and business owners to determine existing attitudes, perceptions, opportunities and challenges to enhancing the City’s image. 

3. Facilitator during the research process and/or testing of the new brand – Include descriptions of community engagement efforts that will take place during this process. The consultant will be expected to employ creative means of public involvement to ensure that community leaders and the business community are aware of and involved in the project.

                4. Research – Research will be the basis for the development of a brand concept, creative elements, messaging/positioning and the overall brand initiative. The consultant will create and implement a brand research plan, which will include qualitative and quantitative research with key publics to identify the following: a. The key elements of the City of Bloomington.

                b. Analysis of competitor marketing strategies.

                c. Measures that will be used to determine if the branding effort is successful.

                5. Strategic Plan – The consultant will develop strategic objectives that will help better inform the City of Bloomington on implementation, management, and ongoing promotion of the brand to include, but not be limited to the following: a. Promotion of the use of the brand among City of Bloomington departments.

                b. Maintenance and consistency of brand image and messaging while providing suitable flexibility for the target audiences of the participating agencies.

                c. Recommendations of ways to articulate the brand; define markets and promotional avenues; and advise on strategies to better promote and create brand awareness.

                6. Creative/Development of Brand – The consultant will develop creative elements that include design concepts, logos, messages, brand statement, tagline, and other products to support the overall brand initiative. A minimum of three distinct creative options must be presented, based on the results of the research. The selected logo design will be delivered, with the final option delivered with a style manual and guidelines for use and the capability of use in the following: a. Print and electronic advertising

                b. Website design

                c. Media placement

                d. Public relations

                e. Events

                f. Templates

                7. Implementation Plan – The consultant will develop an action plan for implementation of the brand in sufficient detail to allow Steering Committee to understand the approach and work plan. An Action Plan should include, but not be limited to the following: a. Estimated costs/budget associated with the implementation process

                b. Proposed timelines for development of creative elements

                c. Recommended positioning logo and brand guidelines

                d. Implementation plans for brand identity applications and brand identity maintenance plan.

Due Date:

March 3, 2020


Office of the City Clerk

City of Bloomington

109 East Olive Street

Bloomington, IL 61701

Relevant agencies worth considering for this assignment include Walker Sands and Crenshaw Communications.

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