Chicago Teachers Union Issues Marketing RFP
The Chicago Teachers Union is currently accepting proposals to overhaul their branding and digital presence. Proposals will need to account for current digital tools, history and identity while looking forward with innovative digital strategies to serve goals in uniting and supporting membership and in fighting for the schools students deserve.
About the Chicago Teachers Union
The CTU has organized teachers in the Chicago Public Schools since 1937. The organizations 26,500 members currently include more than 23,000 teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians serving CPS students in one of the nation’s largest school districts. This union has engaged in high profile battles with Chicago’s political and elite class over the past several years. The union’s more than fifty staffers advise members on dealing with pressures in the workplace, including support through paralegal and legal processes such as discipline and formal workplace grievances. In addition, union staff support workplace leaders as they inform and unite coworkers to campaign on issues that impact them and their students. Through all of this, the union is governed as one of the most democratic institutions in the city, with monthly House of Delegates meetings, regular committee meetings, and occasional citywide referenda—all of which require a high degree of transparency and accountability.
The CTU has employed their current logo since the mid-1980s and our organization’s style and voice are more the result of individual personalities and situational improvisation than of a consciously crafted group identity. They have been effective at projecting a strong identity, but lack clear guidelines and our brand assets lag behind both contemporary aesthetics and own incidental innovations. The current digital portfolio currently encompasses a website, social media engagement through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr, broadcast email and event signup through Action Network, broadcast text messages through Revolution Messaging, and a feeble iOS/Android app. The union also engages members and the public through phone banking, Robo-calls and Tele-Town Hall mass phone conferences. Inquiries from members to staff arrive by phone, email and web form—either through di- rect messages or redirected through administrative staff.
The website was developed in 2011 and does not conform with accessibility or responsive design standards. It does not integrate SEO tools and is poorly optimized for social media. The CMS is proprietary, making changes to navigation and similar refactors costly.The CTU’s digital presence is largely operated by a Communications team of three people, with con- tent generated or delegated by about a dozen union officers and staff. These individuals have varying levels of technical skill from office-software familiarity to web design experience. A department of four administrative staff are charged with updating membership records in UnionWare upon request, with updates manually synchronized to the Action Network system on a regular basis.
The union has just completed difficult contract negotiations and has more fights around funding and school governance on the near horizon. They are also moving into new headquarters and supporting Foundation as it establishes a higher profile in its philanthropic and community engagement work.
CTU will contract with proven partners to update the CTU’s brand through the creation of new style guides, incorporating both visual brand and voice guidelines. Contractors will incorporate the new branding into a refactored digital presence including, but not limited to an updated website that ties together or replaces our current digital tools. The partners will advise CTU on appropriate SEO, social media techniques, and use of web analytics to be incorporated into the new digital portfolio.
Project Goals and Objectives
GOAL: Brand Renovation
• Work with CTU leadership to engage staff and members in shaping an updated brand identity
• Conduct and/or incorporate research on our various audiences regarding message outreach
• Establish style guides for visual presence and voice
• Advise on the unveiling of new brand marks
GOAL: Digital Presence Renovation
• Analysis of CTU content to guide digital portfolio development
• Analysis of digital tools portfolio to guide integration
• Develop a new CTU website
• Explore innovative digital tools for possible creation as a complement to current tools
• User testing to refine website and digital tools
• Advise on workflow plan for content creation and publication
• Train staff in implementing the digital tools
Proposal due Friday, March 8 to:
Nathan Goldbaum CTU Communications
Chicago Teachers Union
1901 W. Carroll Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60612
Major PR firms in Chicago include Zeno Group and Edelman PR.