WCU Catamounts 1

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to partner with a creative agency to message in an authentic and creative way with an innovative project that will increase the brand for Western Carolina University. We wish to surprise and delight our prospective students, their parents, current students, faculty and staff, younger alumni, older alumni and donors in a manner such that they will yearn to be part of our community and our continued growth.


Higher education is one of the largest purchases people will make in their lifetime. It’s an emotional purchase. We want people to FEEL who we are. We are looking for a creative partner to solve this problem WITH us –– as an extension of our team. We are not looking for an agency to build a brief, have their creative and strategy teams go off and come up with a couple of directions, strategy, and media plan that they will present to the university. We are looking for a creative partner. We have an incredible in-house team of creative thinkers who have important institutional knowledge. We are looking to team up with an agency so the teams who come up with concepts and directions are made up of both agency and in-house talent. We understand this is not the traditional agency/client setup. We aren’t looking to be traditional. We are looking for a new path. That’s who we are. We are explorers and we create our own path. Join us in doing something new.

Scope of Work:

The Process:

University Executive Creative Director will meet with Agency Executive Creative Director, Agency

Account Manager, Project Manager, Media Planner and Strategic Planners to work on the creative brief.

Agency Strategic Planner will create the creative brief.

Kickoff Meeting:

The University will go over who we are, including our recent research and known brand personality, and

the whole UCM (University Communications and Marketing) team will be there to answer any questions

and talk about ideas they have been thinking about.

Once that is delivered and a Q&A is done, the Agency Strategic Planner will brief the teams on the

creative brief and the Agency Project Manager will go over the timeline. Note: Brand Campaign launch

will be a soft launch in April & May 2022 and the official launch will be August 2022.

Creative Team Meetups:

Once Teams are designated, the cross-functional teams meet based on the Project Manager’s timeline, and

come up with 2-3 directions per team. Those directions will be executed as a Mood Board, and possibly

scripts/storyboards, or social media posts/video storyboards, or billboards/print sample, or music….

whatever will showcase the direction with a mood board and the least amount of fleshing the idea out.

Internal Presentation to UCM:

Each cross-functional team will present 2-3 directions/concepts to the whole UCM team. During the

presentation, the UCM team can ask questions. After the presentation, the UCM team will narrow the

ideas to two. At that point, the two ideas will be fleshed out by each of the two cross-functional teams.

Focus Groups:

Those two directions will go in front of the following focus groups (2 groups of each):

• Prospective Students

• Current Students

• Young Alumni (21-35)

• Older Alumni (35+)

• Faculty & Staff (mixed)

Each team does revisions (if necessary) to two directions based on feedback from focus groups.

University Stakeholder Presentations:

For each direction, the cross-functional teams will present their fleshed-out campaigns with a Manifesto

video for each, :30 storyboard or scrapomatic, single page print ad, social media posts/video, admissions

piece, website campaign landing page, and a media plan that includes social, TV, print, outdoor, and

environmental pieces (and anything else that will bring the campaign to life) in a 45-minute presentation

and 15-minute Q&A to:

• University Communications and Marketing Council (CMC)

• Executive Council (Chancellor and Administrative Cabinet)

• Provost Council (Faculty)

This is key to buy-in from the university.

Due Date: 10/18/2021 @ 2:00 PM ET


Proposals must be submitted electronically at:

Rick Hooper

Associate Director of Purchasing


Phone: 828-227-7203 Agencies to consider for this include Zeno Group and SS PR

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