CANNABIS BRANDING, PROMOTING AND MARKETING NEEDED

2019-10-23 by Jim Crickell

The purpose of this Request for Proposals is to acquire proposals from qualified full-service marketing agencies and/or marketing consultants. The selected Consultant will develop a distinct national and industry “brand” for Humboldt County grown cannabis and cannabis-related products and services, will provide a range of professional marketing services, and engage in effective promotion of the Humboldt County Cannabis as a unique, high quality product sourced solely in Humboldt County, California. Successful proposals will also include recommendations for strategic use of a county STAMP program.

Background:

The County of Humboldt is located on California’s northern Pacific Coast. The southern border of the County is located 200 miles north of San Francisco, the closest major metropolitan city. The County is bordered on the north by Del Norte County, on the east by Siskiyou and Trinity Counties, on the south by Mendocino County and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The County encompasses 2.3 million acres, 80 percent of which is forestlands, protected redwoods and recreation areas. The region is primarily mountainous, except for a plain surrounding Humboldt Bay where the area’s largest urban centers are located.

The 2018 Census population of Humboldt County was 136,373.

The County has seven incorporated cities ranging in size from 368 to 27,283 persons. Slightly less than half of the County’s residents live in incorporated communities, while 54 percent of County residents live in the area surrounding Humboldt Bay. This area includes the cities of Arcata, Eureka, Ferndale, and Fortuna, and the unincorporated community of McKinleyville.

Cannabis was initially grown in Humboldt County in the 1960s and 70s by individuals and families interested in going “back-to-the-land” and a more rural lifestyle. Cannabis cultivators perfected their craft over time and Humboldt County gained a reputation as a source for unique, high quality cannabis. These operations were mostly small-scale farms and sales proceeds were often used to support families and/or subsidize other income. In addition, revenues from cannabis were often spent in the community, supporting local non-profits and other Humboldt County businesses. In the 1980s, many resources dedicated to the national “war on drugs” were focused on eradicating cannabis in Humboldt County. Cultivators who evaded law enforcement or survived law enforcement raids and loss of crops modified their approach and continued to depend on the industry for their livelihood.

Scope of Work:

Successful branding and marketing efforts will ensure that the region maintains a competitive advantage in the ever-changing cannabis marketplace. Humboldt County must continue to build the regional brand and further strengthen local product and related services positioning in the market.

To accomplish project goals, the industry’s many assets need to be understood, packaged and marketed. The successful consultant will work with staff to develop and implement specific marketing strategies to:

                • Build a consistent, well-recognized and respected brand for Humboldt County Cannabis and cannabis-related products and services.

                • Make recommendations regarding the utilization of a county-specific STAMP program as part of these efforts.

                • Increase business and industry interest and investment.

Build a Brand

The county desires a consistent, well-recognized and respected brand for Humboldt County Cannabis and cannabis-related products and services developed through proven and innovative strategies that:

                • Provides consistent messaging, brand standards, and visual elements.

                • Increases understanding and recognition of Humboldt County Cannabis for consumers and industry experts in and outside the region.

                • Increases demand for Humboldt County cultivated cannabis.

Audience

Marketing efforts need to clearly identify and target messaging to appeal to various audiences and accomplish the goals outlined above. These could include but are not limited to consumers, dispensaries, etc.

Collaboration

A successful proposal will include considerations regarding coordinating and collaborating with trade organizations, educational institutions and others as appropriate to capitalize on synergies, maximize resource utilization, and more.

Tools

The contractor will be expected to work with county staff and others as needed to develop the technical expertise and other tools necessary to accomplish project goals. Strategies could include, but are not limited to:

                • Innovative use of the Humboldt County-specific STAMP program.

                • Designing a relevant, responsive and attractive website that:

                o Is user-friendly, ADA accessible and functional to users of all experience levels.

                o Includes provisions for regular and professional maintenance and updates.

                • Utilizing Social Media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.

                • Developing and utilizing other tools to assist in achieving project goals.

PRELIMINARY SCOPE OF SERVICES

This document only presents a preliminary scope of services to generally communicate the County’s expectations. A final scope of services will be developed by the County and the successful Proposer. All Proposers will be held strictly to the technical, service and capability requirements outlined in this RFP, and such requirements will be incorporated into the final Professional Services Agreement. The County Economic Development Department desires a range of professional marketing services that achieves the goals outlined above.

Anticipated Services

The outline of anticipated services (Section 3.1) will allow the County to compare proposals. The precise scope of services to be incorporated into the final Professional Services Agreement will be based upon the successful proposal and may be the subject of negotiations between the County and the successful Proposer.

Based upon the County’s outline of services, the Proposer shall prepare a complete description of the scope of services which the Proposer intends to perform in order to meet the project goals (see Section 2.1) and anticipated services (see Section 3.1).

3.1 Outline of Anticipated Services

The following is an outline of the services that the County anticipates the successful Proposer to perform. The Proposer may identify services in its proposal that differ from the outline of services described in this RFP, if the Proposer believes such changes will assist the County in more efficiently and effectively achieving the County’s goals.

1. Research and Analysis

Outline anticipated research and analysis necessary to implement the remainder of the scope of work, including but not limited to:

                • Reviewing existing branding and marketing efforts

                • Identification and clear articulation of area assets

                • Identifying stakeholders, current and potential partnerships, synergies and collaborations

                • Identification and clear definition of current and target audiences detailed by

                o Demographics

                o Geography

                o Interest

                o Etc.

2. Goal and Strategy Development

Work with county staff and others as directed to develop specific strategies to accomplish the goals outlined in this RFP. Activities could include, but are not limited to:

                • Synthesis of Task 1 findings

                • Refinement, clear articulation and confirmation of project goals as outlined in Section 2.3 of this RFP and deliverables

                • Additional Audience Research; final identification of target audiences

                • Strategy identification

3. Project Planning

Work with county staff and others as directed to develop project plans to accomplish strategies identified in Task 2 including, but not limited to:

A clearly articulated project scope that outlines

                • Project goals and deadlines

                • Benchmarks

                • Activity Plan

                • Timeline

                • Budget

                • Resource needs

4. Communication Plan

Work with county staff to develop a communication plan that

                • Keeps county staff apprised of project

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                • Outlines efforts to inform stakeholders and community members of project efforts and progress

5. Assessment Plan

Work with county staff to develop a plan to monitor and report on “success metrics” that will be used to measure project progress. This may include but is not limited to:

                • Regular written reports and presentations to

                o County staff

                o County Board of Supervisors

                • Press release (s) and/or other reports to the community regarding project initiatives, progress and success

                • Developed mechanisms to adjust goals, strategies and timelines if necessary to more successfully achieve project goals

6. Tools

Work with county staff and others as needed to develop the technical and other tools necessary to accomplish project goals.

3.2 Development Process

It is expected that the successful Proposer will accept input and guidance from the County Economic Development Team in order to develop a final project scope that best meets the needs of the County’s vision and goals. The successful Proposer will also be expected to maintain timely and regular communication with the County Economic Development Team throughout the duration of the project. Throughout the project, the successful Proposer shall communicate any additional strategies the Proposer feels would improve project outcomes.

Due Date:

November 30, 2019

Address:

HUMBOLDT COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

520 E Street

Eureka, CA 95501

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