BRANDING RFP FOR STATE OF IOWA
1. Purpose & Background
The State Treasurer (“Treasurer”) is the Trustee of the Iowa Educational Savings Plan Trust (“Trust”). In that capacity, the Treasurer, is seeking a firm to create and assist in launching a new brand identity for the College Savings Iowa 529 plan (“Plan”).
The Treasurer invites interested parties to submit a proposal by February 5, 2024 that includes timeline, cost and deliverables, with more details below that outline our criteria for selection. This RFP is not an offer to contract but seeks the submission of proposals from interested Firms that may form the basis for negotiation of an agreement. The Treasurer reserves the right to reject any or all proposals and to solicit additional proposals if that is determined to be in the best interest of the Trust.
The Plan is Iowa’s direct sold 529 plan under the Trust, which is administered by the Treasurer. The Plan’s mission is to help parents, grandparents, friends and relatives save for education expenses on behalf of a future student (“Beneficiary”). With funds and earnings from a Plan account, families can pay for qualified education expenses at accredited schools in the U.S. and abroad.
The Plan encourages families to plan for their students’ future higher education expenses, in many cases reducing the need for future student loans. While there are no age restrictions on a Beneficiary, the Plan’s primary target market is parents who are aged 25-49 that have young children. The secondary audience is grandparents of young children.
Parents, grandparents, family, and friends can invest in the Plan for a Beneficiary. Neither the beneficiary nor the participant must be a resident of Iowa. However, Iowa taxpayers can take advantage of the State of Iowa tax deduction.
The Plan currently has over $5.7 billion in assets across over 284,000 accounts with over $4.6 billion having been withdrawn to pay for qualified education expenses since the inception of the program.
Additional information on the Plan is available on CollegeSavingsIowa.com.
529 Changes Prompting Re-branding
When Iowa launched the plan in 1998, the name College Savings Iowa focused on two aspects of the brand that were important at the time. Saving for college was the sole savings focus and Iowan parents were the sole target audience. As 529 plans have been expanded over the years, the definition of qualified education expenses has continued to be expanded as well. Currently, funds in a 529 plan can be used for a variety of expenses, which includes 4-year schools, 2-year schools, apprenticeships, K-12 schools and student loans. Due to the Plan’s national appeal, it is considered a national 529 plan, with 31% of the accounts and 48% of the assets owned by non-Iowa residents. The Trustee has selected a new name for the program and will provide that information to a firm selected to work on the project.
2. Scope of Services
A Firm shall provide all goods or services and deliverables as required, described and detailed in the appropriate section(s) below and shall meet all service and delivery timelines as specified by this RFP. If a Firm is planning to use subcontractors, they must be disclosed in their proposal.
2.1 Project Scope
The Firm, at the direction of or in consultation with the Treasurer, shall develop and execute a comprehensive, strategic and innovative re-branding plan for the Plan that is targeted to key media, the business community and stakeholders (including prospects and existing account owners) introducing a new name for the Plan.
The Plan’s main goals is to have a brand that extends beyond just traditional 4-year colleges and does not give the impression that funds in the Plan must be used in Iowa, or that the Plan is only for Iowa residents and students residing within Iowa.
2.2 Key Deliverables
The Firm will be expected to fulfill the following deliverables, in close collaboration with the Treasurer, the Plan and its partners.
1. Custom logo redesign: create a new logo/brand using the pre-selected name. Logo will need to be provided for all mediums (e.g. print, web, digital) with the Treasurer owning the original design files.
2. Brand Audit: provide an assessment of the current brand, how the name change may impact current strengths and weaknesses of the brand.
3. Re-branding Strategy: brand positioning; topline key messages with revealing a new name
4. Brand Look and Guidelines: logos; guidelines on look and feel; guidelines on imagery selection and graphics. The Plan is intending to use the same color palette.
5. Asset Development (optional): updated brand guidelines; updated enrollment kit brochure, trifold slimlines; prospect and current account owner prospect mailers, visual concepts; others TBD through rebrand process.
6. Launch: recommendations on rollout and launch strategy