Brand RFP Issues By Wichita State University

Wichita State University seeks a strategic communications firm, with a successful record of working with public research universities, to help build/expand the university’s brand recognition and reputation. The firm selected will work with the university’s communications staff and leadership to increase the national/international and regional profile of the university as a leader in research and innovation among its peers in higher education, as well as in industry and government. The branding should build on the university’s emergence as a national research university, with global industry and government partners, providing real-world learning for our students as part of their Wichita State experience. Desired effects include increases in these positive attributes: 

• National name recognition for the university, its research, academic programs, innovation programs and innovation infrastructure.

• Recruitment and retention of talented faculty, staff and students.

• Funded research and research collaborations, including university + industry/government partnerships.

• Peer and student rankings, especially those related to innovation and academic program quality.

• Pride and support from alumni and donors. 

• Recognition and reputation of the Wichita area, its major employers and WSU Tech.

• Retention of university graduates in Wichita and Kansas.

Scope of Work:

Wichita State University seeks a strategic communications firm, with a successful record of working with public research universities, to help build/expand the university’s brand recognition and reputation


• Must be a strategic communications firm. 

• Must provide business references. Preferred 

• Experience and successful record of working with higher education, specifically public research universities.

• Higher education market capability 


Wichita State University strives to build its national recognition and reputation and position itself as the Kansas Urban-based Research University. The university has a desire to increase its

• national visibility and credibility of its research, programs, leadership, faculty and students with frequency and reach nationally and internationally.

• In an effort to achieve this recognition, the university understands the importance of embedding itself in the higher education innovation and research conversation by developing a consistent presence in earned media, including national publications and rankings. 

• In addition, opportunities need to be identified on a state and national level where Wichita State and its leadership, faculty, staff, or students can share their expertise/ideas/experience and be considered as thought leaders, innovators, influencers, entrepreneurs, etc. 

• In seeking to build its national brand, the university is aware of the many Wichita State stories it can tell, while at the same time is challenged in defining and refining its points of difference to choosing key messages and to remain steadfast in telling those stories consistently and well.

Wichita State University seeks a strategic communications firm with proven experience in public research higher education to:

• Build university reputation as a national brand by placing earned media in national publications.

• Increase national profile of university as leader in innovation by placing earned media in national publications and rankings specific to innovation.

• Identify conference/event/program opportunities (speaker/presenter, expert, thought leader, etc.) where university and/or individuals could be highlighted.

• Serve as consultants in strategic communications planning and implementation.

• Work closely with the university communications staff and leadership to define and refine university’s points of distinction.

• Provide insight for messaging that focuses on and around the university’s core values and points of distinction.

• Close collaboration expected/selected vendors. TASK LIST Includes but is not limited to:

• Research and recommend earned media opportunities in national publications.

• Determine and develop communication platforms/opportunities for president.

• Recommend and pitch story ideas. 

• Provide media monitoring services including in-depth performance analytics.

• Produce monthly detailed report of media mentions – value, impact and measurement.

o Provide example of a Good, Better, Best monthly spend and deliverables for each level.

• Strategize value and impact of measuring what matters. 

• Assist university team to identify, present and report on key performance indicators and other data points/analytics.

• Provide access to new distribution lists for president and industry newsletters.

• Understand relationship with third party service vendors and how that relationship can be leveraged.

• Assist with crisis/issue management as needed.

• Host regularly scheduled check-in/status report calls. 

• Collaborate with university team to set, advise and recommend strategy and tactics to reach university goals and objectives.

• Provide resources/products to keep on top of trends, industry standards and best practices.

• Develop annual communication and marketing plan 

Due Date:

November 9


Wichita State University (WSU) Location(s): 1845 Fairmount, Campus Box 12 Wichita, KS 67260-0012

Relevant agencies to consider include Ruder Finn and Finn Partners.

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