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The University of Missouri has provided teaching, research and service to Missouri since 1839. It was the first publicly supported institution of higher education established in the Louisiana Purchase territory. Today, the University of Missouri is one of the nation’s largest higher education institutions with more than 73,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff on four campuses, an extension program with activities in every county of the state, comprehensive distance learning services and an extensive health care network. As the largest public research university in eastern Missouri, the University of Missouri–St. Louis prides itself on creating greater access to affordable, quality higher education and increased economic and social opportunity for nearly 16,000 diverse students in an environment of equity, inclusion and respect. Overall, U.S. News & World Report ranks UMSL as a Tier 1 research university with numerous programs which have individually attained national recognition, including: biology, computer science, criminology and criminal justice, education, engineering, information systems, international business, nursing, optometry, psychology, public policy and ecology. UMSL has been further distinguished for its success educating individuals from diverse and underserved populations. U.S. News named UMSL to its inaugural “Top Performers for Social Mobility” list. UMSL is also a four-time recipient of the “Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award” from INSIGHTS into Diversity magazine – the oldest publication specializing in this area. Additionally, UMSL has been named “Best for Vets” six years in a row. A relatively young campus, established in 1963, UMSL has had a dramatic impact on the lives of more than 105,000 graduates who are succeeding nationally and internationally – but mostly locally. Nearly 75 percent of UMSL graduates live and work in the St. Louis region – leading the regional workforce and contributing to the social wellbeing of our neighborhoods.

Scope of Work:

University of Missouri–St. Louis seeks proposals from qualified professional firms interested in providing the following: Branding, Marketing and Creative Services. The University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) seeks the assistance of a qualified market research and brand development agency to develop the UMSL brand, communications and creative strategy to enhance the university’s profile and reputation through owned, earned and paid media. The university has just completed a yearlong Strategic Enrollment Planning process to develop the university’s first Strategic Enrollment Plan. Among the outcomes of that process, the university is called on to engage in a review and update of its overall brand strategy in relation to showcasing a maturing university (58 years old) poised for the future, dedicated to educating the St. Louis workforce including diverse, nontraditional students from all walks of life. The scope of this RFP includes three phases: discovery; brand architecture and framework; and brand identity and creative strategy development.

Phase 1: Discovery

• Conduct an evaluation and competitive assessment of UMSL’s current marketing/communications messaging and creative including print, online (web, email, social media, display and video advertising), audio, video and other university communications targeting internal and external audiences.

• Review prior research, strategic plan, strategic enrollment plan, student profile data to gain an understanding of where we are coming from and where we want to be.

• In combination with above, facilitate primary research to further discover and inform a comprehensive brand architecture for the university.

o Primary research may include prospective/current students (first-time-college, transfer, adult, online and graduate, and parents of prospective students), faculty/staff, alumni, administrators, community leaders, those who hire UMSL graduates and others.

Phase 2: Brand Architecture and Framework

• Develop and present a brand architecture and framework based on discovery.

o Brand promise, brand rationale, brand attributes including brand personality, essence, voice (tone/positioning), style notes and accompanying characteristics.

• Develop a set of core brand positioning statements that capture the unique attributes and value of the university for use across broad communication platforms.

o Elevator speech for core areas of academics, access, research, service/outreach, etc.

• Develop target messages by audience including prospective students (freshman, transfer, adult/non-traditional, graduate and parents of prospective students), current students, faculty and staff, alumni/development, employers of UMSL graduates and research and community engagement partners.

• Develop a clear and concise boiler plate for news releases, publications, etc.

• Utilize feedback from the RFP committee to refine and finalize brand architecture/framework.

o See examples:,

Phase 3: Brand Identity/Creative Strategy

• Review existing UMSL creative in use including logomarks, color palette, treatments across areas including recruitment materials and paid advertising creative and messaging to inform updates to a new brand identity/creative strategy moving forward.

• Present 2-3 distinct creative concepts/expressions to capture the above brand framework with strategic rationales.

o Concepts should include key messaging/tagline/campaign creative.

o Include sample creative applications for each for print (brochures, ads, mailers), digital (PowerPoint, display video, web, email), outdoor and audio applications Applications may include sample paid advertisements, webpage frameworks/mockups, slide templates, stationery, etc.

• Utilize feedback from the RFP committee to identify and refine a single concept for a comprehensive creative strategy that expresses the brand identity broadly across the entire university.

o Visual elements: logo, typographic treatment, color palette, photographic style, etc.

o Sample treatments: publications, advertising, website, social media, video and audio to illustrate the brand in action.

o Provide final brand identity/creative strategy, along with documented guidelines and any visual/graphic/digital elements for implementation by UMSL’s marketing and communications team.

Due Date:

March 10


THE CURATORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI Prepared by: Carla Gilzow Strategic Sourcing Specialist University of Missouri Procurement 2910 LeMone Industrial Blvd Columbia, MO 65201

Finn Partners and Zeno Group are agencies worth considering for this assignment.

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