Brand Strategy and Visual Identity Development Services

CLOSING DATE: April 5, 2024

CLOSING TIME: 14:30:00:00

CLOSING METHOD: Electronic Submission (Dropbox in Bonfire)

Link: file:///C:/Users/cbettencourt/Downloads/RFP%2024-006%20Brand%20Strategy%20and%20Visual%20Identity%20Development%20Services.pdf


The University of Waterloo is interested in obtaining Proposals that best meet the Requirements as provided in section 6 of this RFP.

The University of Waterloo requires a strategic brand communications agency with the capability to guide the University of Waterloo’s brand strategy including, but not limited to, updates to the brand platform, the development of extension to the brand and/or sub-brands, key messaging frameworks, visual identity and design concepts, updates to usage guidelines and the delivery of campus communications and related training.

Collectively, these represent “the Services”.

Similar to many post-secondary education (PSE) institutions and other similar organizations, the University of Waterloo consists of an ecosystem of distinct constituents/stakeholders that encompasses six Faculties, more than 40 research centres and institutes, four federated and affiliated institutions and a number of support offices and departments. The Successful Respondent will provide Services understanding the variety and

complexity of the University of Waterloo’s environment and activities. The provision of Services will apply campus-wide, and will serve priority audience segments, as noted below.

The Successful Respondent will be asked to consult with and incorporate the input of University of Waterloo leadership, stakeholders and the project team as well as a variety of existing strategic documents, research surveys and studies, including the Strategic Plan, Waterloo at 100 vision document, and other relevant data/document sources.

Respondents should consider the following Services Objectives when completing their Proposals.

Services Objectives:

1. To review and update and/or develop brand platform strategies as required, and to develop fully integrated marketing campaign creative concepts that can be implemented to meet a variety of campus-wide communications requirements,

2. To continue to enhance and strengthen the University of Waterloo’s reputation as one of the world’s most innovative universities by creating a differentiated understanding of what the University of Waterloo is and does and to position the University of Waterloo as distinctive in the following strategic areas of focus:

Differentiating strengths:

• Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial mindset (spirit)

• Co-operative education and experiential education/Work-Integrated Learning

• Transformational research (for impact)

Foundational strengths:

• A recognized global institution

• Outstanding academic programming

• Vibrant student experience

• Robust employer-staff relationship

• Sound value system

3. To achieve the greatest possible profile for the University of Waterloo by developing and delivering strategic and effective brand marketing and key messaging frameworks designed to inform, educate, connect, engage and motivate priority audiences, in support of the University’s institutional priorities and

Waterloo at 100 vision. Priority audiences include domestic and international prospective and current students, faculty and staff; alumni; donors; and academic, government, industry and community leaders, funders and partners.

4. To positively influence priority outcomes such as: student, faculty and staff recruitment; research and other funding; academic, government and industry partnerships; co-operative education employment opportunities; graduate employment success; alumni engagement; university rankings; and Advancement campaign activities.

Respondents are to respond to the following Services areas in their Proposal, as per Appendix A, and ensure that each and every Section and Subsection have a clear and detailed response.


6.1.1 State and describe the full range of brand strategy Services that your company offers and your

experience in providing these. Indicate if any of the Services are subcontracted, and if subcontracted, share the name of the subcontractor (as identified in Appendix B) and the nature of the relationship.

6.1.2 State and detail your experience with specific examples with the range of brands (i.e., post-secondary education, not-for-profit, professional services, consumer packaged goods, technology, etc.), target audiences, and channels your company has experience in developing brand strategies and marketing campaigns for. Describe in detail your process to develop a brand strategy for clients, understand their objectives and target audiences.

6.1.3 State your company’s skillset, experience and ability to research, develop, and launch a brand strategy and system. Share examples of your successful approach to this work.

6.1.4 Describe your company’s process to provide strategic guidance and market insights on brand strategies and assets that have been developed internally by a client. What is the approach to collaboration and what is your proposed formula for success?

6.1.5 Describe your company’s ability to complete an audit of the client’s existing brand strategy and associated assets. Provide a sample document/example from a previous audit with client identifiers removed.

6.1.6 Describe your company’s process/approach to overseeing the development, launch, performance, and evolution of a client’s brand. Please include a critical path with milestones and time required to demonstrate your process and timelines. Include an estimate of the typical lead time to implement a brand review and proposed changes, if this is required, based on brand performance.

6.1.7 Describe your company’s ability to conduct audience analytics (i.e., psychographics including perceptions, sentiment and preferences, media habits, and donor behaviours) and market research (i.e., industry, platforms and competitors at a minimum) to inform brand campaign strategies. Provide an example(s) to demonstrate your experience.

6.1.8 Describe how your company tracks and analyzes brand performance (i.e., analytics, brand lift/impact studies, at a minimum) and provides insights for brand strategy improvements. Please also describe what standard benchmarks/KPIs your company uses to assess brand performance. 

Provide an example/sample of the reporting provided to a similar client that demonstrates what you would provide to the University of Waterloo. Finally, describe what is included in brand performance reports and how much time (in hours) is needed at a minimum to produce and present findings. Provide a sample document of your final brand performance report.

6.1.9 Describe any additional value-add brand strategy or brand design services that may be of interest to the University of Waterloo and explain why it would of value.


6.2.1 State and describe the full range of visual identity development Services that your company offers and your experience in providing these. Indicate if any of the Services are subcontracted, and if subcontracted, share the name of the subcontractor (as identified in Appendix B) and the nature of the relationship.

6.2.2 State your company’s skillset, experience and ability to research, develop, and launch a visual identity and design system and associated usage guidelines. Share examples of your successful approach to this work.

6.2.3 Describe your company’s ability to complete an audit of the client’s existing visual identity assets and your process to make recommendations to update/evolve the existing visual identity assets.

6.2.4 Describe how your company would approach developing visual identities for sub-brands or affiliated brands of the University of Waterloo.


6.3.1 Describe your company’s project management and support processes to ensure a successful brand strategy and/or brand campaign execution that’s on time and on budget.

6.3.2 Provide an overview of the tools, systems, reports and templates that will be used to take a brand strategy and/or brand campaign from ideation to finish/wrap up at the University of Waterloo. Include your company’s process and timelines for requesting brand strategy Services.

6.3.3 Describe how your company mitigates risks to brands and what your process is to adjust the brand strategy and obtain approvals, when required. Describe your company’s process for securing brand strategy approvals.

6.3.4 State what communication tools your company uses with clients (e.g., phone, online, email, collaboration tools, etc.) and under what specific situations each will be used for the University of Waterloo. Note, the Successful Respondent’s Personnel/Resources/Team may also be required to attend planning meetings virtually or on site at the Waterloo campus. Please advise, if/when on-site meetings are required and how these are coordinated and scheduled.

6.3.5 State your proposed response times to various types of questions (i.e. budget, audiences and competitive insights) – what is the proposed response time to the University of Waterloo in hours? Response times from this response will be added to the Agreement with the Successful Respondent.

6.3.6 State the proposed Personnel/Team Member/Resource contact name for day-to-day account communication, new Statement of Work completion/sign-off and ongoing order management support.

What number of similar sized additional clients will this person also represent?

6.3.7 Describe your processes for managing client’s budgets including accounts payable management, budget control reporting and management. Can your organization support and manage budget reporting within University of Waterloo’s fiscal year timeframes (i.e., May 1 – April 30).

6.3.8 State your travel and production expenses as billed though to clients and describe how these will comply with Section 4.20 of the RFP and 4.06 of the Agreement.

6.3.9 Describe how your company provides regular counsel to clients on brand strategy trends and the potential opportunities improve/enhance a client’s current brand activities. How is this scheduled and provided and at what are the opportunities to maximize benefit and minimize cost to the client?

6.3.10 What access to a knowledge base for self-directed learning or other such resources are available from your company free of charge to clients such as the University of Waterloo? State what you are proposing to provide to Waterloo and include specific information about what it includes. Provide a screen shot of the index(es) to the resource.


Dependent on institutional priorities in any given year, the University of Waterloo historically has

invested anywhere between $20,000 and $200,000+ CDN per project/Statement of Work. The University of Waterloo will determine the budget and funds allocated to each Statement of Work as approved by senior management. Pricing per project will be determined by each Statement of Work, and as per the Fes section of the Agreement, as requested by the Project Sponsor at the University of Waterloo.

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