The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to identify the appropriate agency to support Brand USA’s strategic global communications, media relations, and public relations priorities. Brand USA continually works to build brand awareness and credibility to communicate U.S. travel policy both internationally and domestically. Our desired partner will have the capacity to provide strategic counsel and direction, actively share and promote our message, amplify our successes, and position the business case of how travel positively impacts the United States economy – at the national, regional, and local levels.
As our agency, the selected firm will be responsible for assisting in the development and support of Brand USA’s public relations and media efforts to maximize communications efforts aimed at key domestic and international reporters and media outlets. And the agency must be able to provide strong media & PR strategic insight and message development to assist Brand USA with proactive campaigns and reactive approaches related to topics including but not limited to: travel news, travel trends, Brand USA marketing initiatives, issues impacting travel, DMO and partner crises, and more.
The selected agency’s responsibilities will include the below objectives:
• Tell the story of Brand USA’s marketing and strategies, programs, successes and opportunities to media across the country and around the globe.
• Ensure awareness, understanding, and support of our work to fuel the nation’s economy through the power of travel.
• Build engagement, trust, and advocacy through strategic communications.
• Elevate Brand USA executives as global tourism thought leaders.
• Communicate travel policy and correct any misconceptions.
• Identify industry trends to help shape our messaging.
• Enhance the credibility of the organization in its effectiveness to increase international visitation and spend.
• Increasing the level of goodwill for the organization to mitigate potential negative issues
• Develop communications strategies to support Brand USA’s programs and initiatives and promote the ways in which Brand USA promotes DMOs globally.
• Strengthen domestic public relations efforts to assist in attracting additional partners both within the tourism industry and beyond.
• Establish working relationships with influential global media.
• Position Brand USA as an ambassador for U.S. tourism worldwide.
• Upon request, provide support for consumer and trade efforts.
As the destination marketing organization for the United States, Brand USA’s mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.
Established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 as the nation’s first public-private partnership to spearhead a globally coordinated marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. visa and entry policies, Brand USA began operations in May 2011.
As one of the best levers for driving economic growth, international travel to the United States currently supports 1.8 million American jobs (directly and indirectly) and benefits virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. Since its founding, Brand USA has worked in close partnership with more than 800 partner organizations to invite the world to explore the exceptional, diverse, and virtually limitless travel experiences and destinations available in the United States of America.
According to studies by Oxford Economics, over the past five years Brand USA’s marketing initiatives have helped welcome 5.4 million incremental visitors to the USA, benefiting the U.S. economy with $38 billion in total economic impact, and supporting, on average, 51,000 incremental jobs a year.
Brand USA’s operations are supported by a combination of non-federal contributions from destinations, travel brands, and private-sector organizations plus matching funds collected by the U.S. government from international visitors who visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
Scope of Work:
The following categories represent core responsibilities of the Representation Firm in support of Brand USA’s mission and annual business plan:
1. Media & Public Relations Services
The selected Agency will execute the following:
▪ Create and implement a comprehensive media & public relations plan that adheres to Brand USA’s communications strategies and standard operating processes.
This will include but not be limited to the following:
▪ Relationship building and in-person meetings with media, executive speaking opportunities and thought-leadership positioning.
▪ Develop and maintain a targeted media list.
▪ Cultivate and maintain relationships with reporters, editors, and bookers at key media publications, outlets, programs, etc.
▪ Proactively pursue positive stories and respond to inquiries – targeting all forms of media: broadcast, digital, podcasts, print, etc. (consumer lifestyle and travel, travel/meetings trade outlets) as appropriate for each opportunity.
▪ Utilize Brand USA’s Cision and Cision Impact portals to develop an accurate and reliable system of measurement.
▪ Coordinate approved communications flow with other U.S. destination representatives and Brand USA partners, relevant associations, and members of the U.S. government (i.e. U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy, etc.) in
▪ Collectively work with Brand USA’s corporate communications and public policy departments and Representation Firm(s) on any issues surrounding
▪ Develop and implement a crisis communication plan to support Brand USA’s global crisis communications strategy as directed by corporate communications.
▪ Develop media kits, as needed.
▪ Vet Brand USA media calls, as needed.
▪ Draft news releases, messaging documents, talking points, FAQs, media Q&As, etc.
Crisis & Issues Support
▪ Collectively work with Brand USA’s corporate communications and public policy team to monitor news coverage for issues which may impact international travel to the United States or a destination partner.
o Provide advice on a strategy to include media and PR response as well as partner support.
▪ Develop and implement a crisis communication plan to support Brand USA’s global crisis communications strategy.
▪ Provide media training for executives and senior staff, as needed.
2. Account Administration & Overhead
▪ Provide written weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual and campaign-specific reports to show status and/or results as compared to goals. Details included in the Metrics & Reporting section. (Sample progress report will be provided upon request.)
▪ Develop a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats (SWOT) analysis for key initiatives and campaigns.
▪ Provide detailed back-up and appropriate receipts for all monthly expenses related to billable services and out-of-pocket purchases. This documentation shall be submitted monthly along with monthly invoice and
▪ Store and maintain an adequate inventory of Brand USA collateral and promotional items, the selection of which meet all requirements as established by Brand USA.
METRICS, REPORTING & EVALUATION
▪ Weekly status reports should be received each Friday at Noon.
▪ Monthly reports should be received by 5th of the succeeding month.
▪ Quarterly reports should be received by the 10th of the first month in the next quarter.
▪ Annual report should be received by Jan. 31, 2020. This report should also include a competitive analysis of the state of the industry, Brand USA’s position in the market, and issues that could adversely or positively affect the destination’s strategic position going forward.
▪ Campaign-specific reports should be received by the last day of the following month.
February 4th, 2019.
Brand USA Headquarters C/O RFP Administrator
1725 Eye Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
ATTN: RFP – Social Media Content Aggregator
Agencies with relevant experience include Ketchum PR and Edelman PR.
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