City of Berkeley Issues Marketing & Communications RFP

City of Berkeley Issues Marketing & Communications RFP

OED seeks proposals from vendors (agencies, consulting firms, individuals, community organizations, or teams thereof) that will develop creative content and a communications plan to:

1) drive sales for local businesses (including independent retail, restaurants and personal service businesses);

2) increase visibility for Berkeley’s key industry sectors, such as the innovation sector;

3) increase awareness about OED and the business support services it provides; and

4) improve Berkeley’s reputation as a place to do business.


The mission of the City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is to assist businesses, entrepreneurs, artists and community organizations to access services, feel welcome in Berkeley, and thrive. With expertise on commercial real estate, economic data, industry networks, financing, green business, and the local innovation ecosystem, OED provides assistance to new, growing and legacy businesses in Berkeley. The office also works closely with local and regional partners to create a vibrant economy that includes UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, nine commercial districts, and award-winning arts organizations and trendsetting companies in fields from alternative energy to bioengineering to local food production.

OED and its partner organizations have identified five (5) distinct but overlapping audiences for its communications and services:

1) Local-serving or “neighborhood” businesses, including retailers, restaurants, and personal services businesses. These are primarily independently- and locally-owned small businesses (with fewer than 50 employees).

2) Traded sector (or export-focused) businesses who sell their products and services outside Berkeley, with a particular focus on innovation sector businesses including tech startups, biotech companies, plant-based foods manufacturers, and research & development facilities.

3) Prospective business owners and entrepreneurs that are considering an investment in Berkeley.

4) Tourists and other visitors.

5) Berkeley residents.

While OED’s communications goals and messages for each of these audiences vary, they generally aim to highlight or are grounded by Berkeley’s brand pillars: an independent spirit, diverse tribes, progressive values, and a focus on quality. OED and its partners (including the Berkeley Chamber, Downtown Berkeley Association, Visit Berkeley, Telegraph Business Improvement District, and other commercial district associations) currently recognize an opportunity to increasingly align their messaging and communications about the benefits of doing business in, shopping in, or visiting Berkeley; the unique strengths of local businesses; and the distinctive character of the Berkeley community.

Given OED’s multiple marketing and communications objectives, OED seeks assistance with the development and execution of a marketing and communications plan that will:

1) drive sales for local businesses (including independent retail, restaurants and personal service businesses);

2) increase visibility for Berkeley’s key industry sectors, such as the innovation sector;

3) increase awareness about OED and the business support services it provides; and

4) improve Berkeley’s reputation as a place to do business.

Scope of Work:


OED anticipates that the specific tasks could include the following six (6) components:

  1. OED & Business Network Partner Familiarization: Review OED’s current and historical communications tools and platforms (including websites, print materials, newsletters, etc.). Familiarize the team with OED’s key partners and their recent or planned 2018-19 marketing efforts.
  2. Project Kickoff: Meet with City of Berkeley OED staff and key partners to discuss the insights OED has gleaned through recent local business interviews, surveys and focus groups, as well as ongoing discussions with key business network partners. Finalize a project work plan, including setting targets for additional fundraising or partnerships that may be required for campaign execution and goals and metrics to determine the impact of OED’s marketing and communications efforts.
  3. Message Framework Creation: Develop an overarching messaging framework that conveys the benefits of doing business in Berkeley, aligns with Berkeley’s four brand pillars (stated in Section I), and can be applied across multiple campaigns, led either by OED or its business network partners. This could include a creative concept and corresponding logos, slogans, visual elements, design templates, and samples or guidelines for how the messaging framework might be used for multiple sector-, industry-, or topic- specific marketing and communications campaigns over a multi-year period.
  4. Marketing & Communications Plan Development: Prepare marketing and communications plans that include: the specific tools, venues, platforms and/or media channels that will reach the target audience, costs and timelines, and the benefits and tradeoffs associated with selecting different options.

Within the first year, OED seeks specific marketing and communications plans designed to:

  1. Raise public awareness about the opportunities for – and value of – shopping locally and thus increase sales for Berkeley’s independent merchants with ground-floor establishments (e.g. the retail stores, restaurants, and personal service businesses that have historically been members of Buy Local Berkeley and comprise Berkeley’s commercial districts). Key audiences could include residents, prospective Berkeley business customers (including visitors), elected officials, and the business owners themselves.
  2. Increase the visibility of Berkeley’s unique innovation ecosystem, which includes biotech, hard tech, clean tech, and plant-based food companies, software startups, accelerators, co-working spaces, and research and development institutions and facilities. Key audiences could include local tech sector entrepreneurs and their employees, startup founders in other cities that are considering relocation, investors, residents, and elected officials.

The marketing and communications plans developed for these two (2) sectors should be designed to also increase awareness about OED and the business support services it provides. Subsequent marketing and communications plans could focus on other sectors (e.g. design,manufacturing) and thus might be considered in the development of these plans, although comprehensive plans for these sectors are not expected to be included in the current scope.

  1. Creative Content Development: Develop content that can be used for campaign execution, as proposed in the marketing and communications plan. Depending on the strategy and channels recommended, this could include press releases, photos, videos, events, testimonials, stories, quotes or other collateral development. The content should be designed for use by OED, any of its local business network partners, or other collaborative partnerships that have identified marketing as a priority.
  2. Campaign Execution: Execute the proposed marketing and communications plan, budget and vendor skills permitting1. Coordinate campaign production to involve key partners and collect metrics that capture the impact of OED’s marketing and communications efforts.

Due Date:

October 4th


City of Berkeley

Finance Department/General Services Division

2180 Milvia Street, 3rd Floor

Berkeley, CA 94704

Shift Communications and Coyne PR have California offices.

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