Brand Development & Marketing RFP Issues

Sauk County is seeking a brand marketing consulting service to develop a distinctive brand identity that will define the County to prospective businesses, residents and visitors. The brand identity will emerge through a process that identifies Sauk County’s existing mix of business, cultural, infrastructural, economic and social assets and leverages these to craft a unique, compelling message for target audiences. The brand values will help Sauk County gain a consistent and county-wide reputation outside of the Wisconsin Dells brand. While Lake Delton is a large tourism draw, it is not the only draw to Sauk County. The ideal brand will be a “natural” play off of the well-known Wisconsin Dells Waterpark Capital of the World, and highlight the common thread connecting various elements of the region including but not limited to the economy, culture, tourism, residents, entrepreneurial spirit and government Sauk County does not want to be another live, work, play community. The branding and marketing campaign needs articulate clearly, what differentiates Sauk County from other regions in the state.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to our daily lives, affecting families, business and our communities. Opportunities though, have also presented themselves over the past eight months. In Sauk County, one of those opportunities is the understanding that strengthening existing relationships and building new ones is our greatest tool to get through these unprecedented times. This campaign will be the platform to develop greater partnership moving forward Opportunities for individuals and families across the country have also presented themselves. With the benefits of technology, work from home and even learning from home has become mainstream, providing people the opportunity to have a greater choice in deciding where they want to live and recreate. Our mix of natural resources and recreational opportunities provides Sauk County the resources necessary to be one of the premier tourism destinations in the State. These same assets are major attractors for new business and residents. In addition to using the branding and marketing campaign to build on our successful tourism industry, the campaign needs to also tell the story of why Sauk County is the place to live and grow business.

Scope of Work:

The branding and marketing initiative is the first step in a larger vision that will see the integration and reorganization of community resources and agencies into a regional approach, positioning Sauk County to take advantage of opportunities of future growth. Therefore, the program should support not only recruitment of economic development targets but also be used as a tool to strengthen collaboration between the County and other local agencies (municipalities, chambers of commerce, community groups) with related visions and goals. Other critical deliverables include a comprehensive visual system and catalog of graphic assets to accompany the brand identity in order to graphically convey the brand message and to unify the County’s collateral design language. The final piece of the brand and marketing project is the development of an integrated communications plan that includes overarching brand awareness efforts as well as a guidance for targeted campaigns for select groups i.e. prospective economic development targets, visitors, residents, etc. Sauk County would like a proposal that exemplifies the primary goals and objectives to be achieved by the branding initiative and process:

Flexibility – Establish a brand that works for the community as a whole that must be flexible

and adaptable in order to meet the needs of a variety of partners, including agencies within the County, as well as groups and businesses with their own specific marketing initiatives, while maintaining consistency with the overall brand. It must also be flexible enough to evolve in order to adapt to any changes in the market.

Authenticity – The brand must be authentic and resonate with citizens, businesses and community groups within the community throughout the region in order to gain the broadest possible support for the initiative. Design a campaign brand that tells the authentic story of what draws people here and reveals initiatives that will make our area even more intriguing as we continue to develop and grow.

Inclusivity – The brand should convey a common message and image to audiences both inside and outside of Sauk County.

Community Identity/Pride – Identify and promote what makes Sauk County appealing in a regionally competitive environment to investors, businesses, retailers, visitors and residents.

Community and Economic Development Promotion – Promote a healthy economy; attract private investment; attract new residents and professionals; retain key businesses and creative talent; and inspire visitation.

The branding and marketing initiative is anticipated to include several primary steps. After meeting with select groups of County staff, elected officials and community stakeholders, the consultant should be able to showcase Sauk County’s strengths and address the following questions:

Ø Who are we? What is Sauk County’s unique selling proposition vis-à-vis its competition?

Ø What are our primary strengths and weaknesses? (How do we mitigate weaknesses or frame them as strengths?)

Ø What do we stand for and how do we communicate this through events and activities?

Ø How do we increase Sauk County’s visibility?

Ø How do Sauk County’s unique community values translate into an effective marketing campaign?

Drawing from the answers to these questions, the branding and marketing consultant will be asked to develop the core elements of a brand platform, including a comprehensive visual system for collateral and communications channels, a succinct brand and style guide, core messages and a catalog of approved creative assets to promote the brand. An equally important part of the contract will be the creation of an integrated marketing and communications (IMC) program that will allow County staff to execute the brand strategy. This program should consist of an overarching brand awareness campaign for the County and a parallel or overlapping economic development campaign focused more specifically on business retention and attraction.

Project Management – The consultant will lead all aspects of the Sauk County community branding initiative, including the following:

1. Advisory to the Steering Committee – This team will be composed of representatives from Sauk County and other community leaders.

2. 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. Sauk County has a very involved and engaged community. The consultant will be expected to employ creative means of public engagement to ensure that all segments of the community are aware and involved in the project.

3. Research – Research will be the basis for the development of a brand concept, creative elements and the overall brand initiative. The consultant will review previous studies conducted by Sauk County to help implement strategies for the brand image and marketing campaign. In addition:

a. Identifying the key elements of Sauk County.

b. Analysis of current efforts and existing creative elements such as logos, tag lines, and creative designs.

c. Analysis of competitor marketing strategies.

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

4. Strategic Plan – The consultant will develop strategic objectives that will include 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 many Sauk County and community agencies, groups and businesses while maintaining brand integrity.

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

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

5. Creative/Development of Brand – The consultant will develop creative elements that may include design concepts, logos, messages, 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 design will be 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. Outdoor signage and brand recognition

6. Implementation Matrix – The consultant will develop an action plan for implementation of the brand in sufficient detail to allow staff 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 the development of creative elements.

c. Recommended positioning logo and brand guidelines.

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

e. Potential funding sources

7. Evaluation Plan – The consultant will develop a plan for ongoing evaluation of the brand’s effectiveness and reporting of results of the strategy to the steering committee, key stakeholders and the public.

Due Date:

December 28


Sauk County Clerk Sauk County West Square Building 505 Broadway Baraboo, Wisconsin 53913

Relevant agencies include Shift Communications and Finn Partners.

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