The purpose of the Request for Proposals (RFP) is to solicit proposals for website development and branding services for the Centralina Council of Governments (“CCOG” or “Centralina”). CCOG recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and, under the leadership of a new executive director, completed a strategic review in the last six months. Through intensive internal and external engagement, CCOG refreshed its mission, created core values and set strategic priorities that will guide the organization for the next three years. As part of the strategic review, CCOG also identified the need to strengthen internal operations and external engagement based on the following goals:
1. Strengthen our communications with stakeholders to promote CCOG, our work and impact across the region;
2. Effectively market CCOG services and resources; and
3. Develop a brand identity that unifies the numerous affiliated programs, boards and commissions that are a part of the Centralina family.
Centralina Council of Governments leads regional collaboration and sparks local action to expand opportunity and improve quality of life. We do this through creative problem solving, innovative service delivery and support to our local governments.
Who We Are
Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG) is the state-designated lead regional organization serving the Centralina region, one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. Our region includes Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties. We have a voluntary membership comprised of 60 counties and municipalities and are governed by a Board of Delegates.
Since 1968, we have served as a platform for regional dialogue and developed action plans to support the sustained growth and development of the greater Charlotte area. We serve as an umbrella for the Area Agency on Aging, Centralina Workforce Development Board, Centralina Economic Development District and our Regional Planning Department.
We are one of 16 regional councils in North Carolina established by the General Assembly to meet the region’s needs on a wide range of governance issues. Regional councils exist in some fashion across the country although naming conventions can differ. In North Carolina, each council is also designated by a letter – we are known as Region F. More information available at www.ncregions.org/.
What We Do
Centralina realizes its mission in three distinctive ways. First, we are a platform for regional collaboration and creative problem solving around the big issues facing the greater Charlotte region as outlined in our strategic priorities. Second, we serve individuals across the region by providing direct services in two critical areas: workforce development and senior services. Finally, we serve as a helping hand to our local member governments by providing technical support, training and advocacy at the state and federal levels. Our vision is to be among the best regional councils in the nation. We believe we will do that by focusing on our mission, demonstrating our values in our work and by seeking to understand and serve our member communities’ needs.
Our Core Values
The Centralina team is wholeheartedly dedicated to serving our communities and making a meaningful difference in our region. To do this we LEAD in the way we ACT with each other and our customers:
Listen and speak with care
Embrace boldness and flexibility
Deliver expertise with respect
Act with integrity and empathy
Commit to our communities
Take care of ourselves and each other
Our Regional Priorities for the Next Three Years
• Growth: Manage cross-jurisdictional collaboration for coordinated regional growth
• Mobility: Expand regional mobility choices and connections
• Health: Improve the health and resilience of individuals, communities and our region
• Economic development: Facilitate business and infrastructure investments in our local communities and regional economy
• Talent: Provide talent strategies and solutions for a qualified and competitive workforce
• Innovation: Support and champion our local governments
• Operations: Enhance CCOG operations, infrastructure and partnerships
Scope of Work:
The following Scope of Work components have been prepared as a guide to help the interested Respondent understand the expected product from this work engagement. Respondents are encouraged to provide suggestions to this scope that would improve the end product.
CCOG is searching for a creative, highly skilled and collaborative consultant (or consultant team) with an impressive record of success to uncover our brand identity and formulate a compelling brand strategy that positions us for increased success. This project has two main components (1) create a new brand including a refreshed logo with design standards and (2) develop a new website based on those standards.
It is the intention of CCOG to reach an agreement with an agency that would have the capability of undertaking both pieces in house, although consultants may partner together to bid as a team. Weight will be given to firms that have had experience working with governments or multiple brands.
CCOG has a wide and varied audience. Below is a sample of some of our target groups:
• Our 60 local government members, comprised of counties, cities, towns and villages of varying size
• Other local government entities in the nine-county Centralina region
• Local government staff including municipal planners, economic development directors, transportation officials, etc.
• Partner organizations and stakeholders
• Residents seeking evidence-based health programs or career information
• News media
Department Websites and Logos
• Regional Planning – housed under the CCOG website, no logo
• Government Affairs & Member Engagement – will be housed under the new CCOG website, no logo
Note: Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition’s website www.4cleanfuels.com will also get folded into our new website. This program is housed in the Planning Department. All existing content may not migrate over – it will need to be pared down.
Challenges We Face
• Lack of Awareness – includes residents but especially our members (a recent survey indicated that members are not aware of all the services we offer)
• Wide Service Offering – we offer an array of services that can overwhelm or confuse our audience
• Broad Target Audience – our main audience is our local government members, but our secondary audience stems from our departments who serve residents, planning departments, businesses etc.
• Members Needs Difference – we aim to balance the needs of our member communities, which range in size from large cities like Charlotte to small towns. We also try to balance our work on a regional level with what we do at the local level. This should be apparent in our new website – regional and local impact.
• Rotating Board Members – many of our delegates are elected officials that rotate frequently. We need to do a better job of educating new board members and reaching other local government staff
• Multiple Brands – most of our departments have their own website, social media platforms and logos. We need to find a way to integrate them into one brand family.
• No Brand Standards – we need a style guide so that all external-facing materials look similar
• Value Proposition – we need to do a better job of telling our story and demonstrating the value of membership
• Competition – we sometimes compete for the same business with other COGs, private planning organizations, UNC School of Government (for government education) and municipalities that elect to do work in house
5.2 Engagement Expectations and Project Management
Once selected, the consultant will have an initial in-person meeting with the Executive Director and the Marketing & Communications Manager. The consultant will also need to meet with the department directors to get a better understanding of the organizations housed under the CCOG roof. The consultant may also be asked to present at a Board of Directors meeting and a staff meeting to get feedback on brand concepts. The Marketing & Communications Manager, Emily Hickok, is the project manager and will be your main point of contact throughout this process.
Consultant will conduct a brand review of all CCOG communication outlets and visual identity, including affiliated organizations, to identify opportunities, challenges, and alignment with new mission, values and priorities. Findings shall be presented to the CCOG project team and influence the approach to the remaining tasks and deliverables.
5.4 Style Guide
CCOG does not have a set color palette, fonts or other brand standards items. CCOG also needs a way to distinguish each department in our collateral materials while creating consistency within the CCOG brand.
The style guide shall include, but is not limited to, the following components:
• Color Palette – primary and secondary color palettes in PMS, RGB and CMYK with usage guidelines
• Typography – primary and secondary typeface with Microsoft-standard alternatives and usage guidelines
• Department Identity – brand architecture should unify departments and programs, creating a comprehensive brand that is easily recognized
• Iconography – for CCOG, our departments, programs and regional priorities
• Brand Voice
• Logo Usage Guidelines – including graphic positioning and how the CCOG logo treatment on department materials
5.5 Logo and Tagline
The selected consultant will complete an assessment of our current logo and colors. Based on that assessment, CCOG and the consultant will work together to create a new logo with iconography. We also want to use a collaborative process to develop a new tag line.
5.6 Website Development
The CCOG website is out of date, problematic to update, has functionality issues and can be confusing to visitors due to the amount of content and current navigation architecture. We want a clean, modern website that makes it easy for all our stakeholders to find information, promotes our upcoming events, is easily modified by non-technical users and clearly explains who we are and what we do. We currently use WordPress but are open to other content management systems.
CCOG has a lot of content and plans to reuse some of it, provided it’s still useful after the rebranding process. Other content will need to be rewritten or added, which may require the use of a copywriter. The consultant will advise on this process and our internal website team will take the lead on scrubbing and reorganizing content. After the team has reworked the copy, the consultant will review content so that it reads well for the web, is optimized, has a consistent brand voice and works for our different audience groups.
The navigation structure will need to be reworked to make it easier to use. We are open to categorizing information in whatever way makes sense to the site visitor and are looking for guidance on this issue. Currently, visitors much search by department but it would be helpful to also be able to search by type (possibly persona or service/program type that cuts across our departments e.g. grants or technical assistance). We have some photographs and video but may need professional assistance to obtain more original imagery as part of this process and budget.
• Present information and our services in an easy-to-understand way without industry jargon
• Position CCOG as a thought leader and expert in our field
• Allow our diverse audience to quickly and easily find the information they are looking for, including events
• Improve awareness and engagement
• Seamlessly integrate with our stand-alone department websites