Creative Services Of City of Winter Haven – The Chain of Lakes City

Issue Date: September 7, 2022

DEADLINE: Sealed responses will be received by the City of Winter Haven until 2:00 P.M., October 12, 2022, at our online solicitation platform, Mercell, for: “Creative Services Continuing Contract”

The City is requesting responses from those qualified firms with previous experience in this type of work. Firms submitting responses shall provide evidence of their experience and expertise in similar work performed. Public Records – It is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency / Fla. Statute – 119.01(1). (Do not submit any documents that you do not want to be made public).

Questions concerning this bid must be submitted on or before 2:00 p.m., October 4, 2022, to Katrina Hill Questions received after this time may not be answered.

The responses shall be furnished in accordance with the RFQ, requirements, and any other documents prepared.

City of Winter Haven

Request For Qualifications


Creative Services Continuing Contract


1.0 Introduction

The City of Winter Haven is seeking the services of highly creative, responsive, and progressive service firms interested in providing marketing, advertising, promotions, web design, public relations, brand development, video production, photography, copywriting, social media content development, and other related services to the City of Winter Haven in a mix of media.

1.1 Background

The City of Winter Haven is located in Polk County, between Tampa and Orlando. The city is a full-service City with a City Commission-City Manager form of government. It has approximately 600 full-time employees who deliver quality municipal services to its 56,000 residents, plus an additional 35,000 people in its service area, totaling 73,000 citizens. The city has an operating budget of $210.3 million.

Winter Haven is home to LEGOLAND Florida; CSX, ILC; Polk State College; Inland Fiber; and Merlin Entertainments North American Headquarters. The city is about an hour east of Tampa and Florida West Coast beaches and an hour west of Disney World, Sea World, and other Central Florida destinations, including two major international airports. It has an upscale yet historic downtown shopping area,

mass transit throughout Polk County, many parks, and tree-lined residential neighborhoods.

Winter Haven is known as the “Chain of Lakes City” for its 23 lakes connected by

navigable canals. Additional individual lakes dot the area and contribute to Winter Haven’s lake-centered recreation, including fishing, boating, and skiing, which are all part of the City’s allure and brand.



The City of Winter Haven intends to develop a list of contractors whose qualifications have been deemed desirable to meet various needs of the City’s marketing, communications, advertising, public relations, content production, brand development, promotions, and related services.

The resulting pool of pre-qualified agencies will be used by City of Winter Haven departments, divisions, and units for marketing and communication services for specific projects on an as-needed basis. Services could include but are not limited to graphic design for print, posters, and promotional collateral; website

redevelopment; video production services; social media content; market research; brand and marketing strategy; branding strategy for events and projects; video production; and public relations.

Details for the scope of work will be dependent on individual unit marketing and communication needs as they arise. This solicitation is intended to qualify vendors for inclusion in a qualified vendor pool. Inclusion into the vendor pool is not a guarantee of business. There may also be small amounts of work, similar to this RFQ, performed outside of the Qualified Vendor Pool.


Criteria for selection include but are not limited to the following generalized


• Capability

• Process, Including Project Timelines

• Creativity

• Unique perspective

• Experience with local government or similar organizations

• Team Members

• Team Accessibility

• Preferences will be given to geographic location


• Provide thorough communication and timely deliverables

• Provide creative strategies/deliverables for optimum communication

• Personally interact with stakeholder groups and staff members

• Provide quality deliverables in a user-friendly manner


We will request a list of your firm’s expertise under each category applicable to

you. The ranking is based on the quality of services, not on the amount of services


2.3.1 Brand development services to assist the City in expanding and modernizing the current brand assets. This service should include minor updates to the existing core logo assets, development of consistent department-level logos, etc. The color pallet should be expanded and visual style guidelines developed. The process may include the development of an online brand toolkit complete with

document templates, business card templates, email signature templates, downloadable assets, presentations, and establishing the brand toolkit with the City’s Canva enterprise account.

2.3.2 Campaign development for specific initiatives throughout the City. This could be a new program, event, or public awareness campaign. Campaigns could include but are not limited to posters, emails, texts, social media posts, website information, direct mail, or specialty items.

2.3.3 Copywriting services include but are not limited to the storytelling of staff, projects, and initiatives; website copy; brochure copy; marketing taglines; and advertisements.

2.3.4 Digital Communications could include social media marketing content, blog creation and strategies, internal digital communications content and platforms, email, SMS campaigns, and emerging digital channel support.

2.3.5 Market research to study and learn the community’s overall perception, support of, and expectations of various City of Winter Haven issues such as project support, preferences, customer satisfaction, needs, and wants. The analysis should result in usable data and quality recommendations.

2.3.6 Public/Community relations to increase the level and quality of effective communication and assist with developing and executing a Communications Plan for effective and timely communication with the public.

2.3.7 Website Development

1. Project Mission Statement

The primary goal is to replace the existing website with one that invites and attracts the target audience and keeps them coming back for more information. Making sure the platform is responsive and accessible across multiple devices (including mobile and tablet). The new website will be easier for users to navigate, efficient for City staff to manage, and provide a wide variety of services to citizens of the

Winter Haven area. The contractor will provide the City with an information-ready, turn-key website that City staff can immediately begin using, managing, and editing as needed.

The contractor will provide a separate cost for the migration of content from the existing website.

A redesigned City of Winter Haven website will be the public face serving as its “front porch,” visually reflecting City values and character. The website will serve as a “Virtual City Hall” with 24/7 self-services for users to receive help and information they need from the local government. (i.e., file building permits, pay bills, complete and submit forms, etc.)

2. Website Design Scope of Services

The CONTRACTOR will redesign the City of Winter Haven’s municipal website, including a new design, a new website structure and a new or upgraded Content Management System (CMS). A final scope of work will be developed by agreement with the City and the CONTRACTOR. The following acts only as a preliminary scope to generally communicate the City’s expectations. Proposals for redesign of

the website and CMS should include or account for, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) Work in close collaboration with City of Winter Haven staff to create a highly useable, streamlined, and up-to-date website, designed and organized in a dynamic manner to meet current web design and technology standards that allow visitors to find information easily.

(b) Resolve challenges with the current site structure. The non-traditional navigation is confusing, and the site structure has resulted in multiple duplicate pages, which causes confusion and room for error. All departments should be pulled into a single City-wide site structure with flexibility for efficient updates as things change over time.

(c) Convey a sense of place and organizational culture consistent with the City brand, including any updated brand developed. The site should allow for flexibility in the design (color changes, multiple header images, easily updated page layouts, etc.).

(d) Create a robust recruitment section focusing on telling the story of the benefits of working with the City, the work environment, and the variety of positions available.

(e) Provide an integration with Seamless docs for forms.

(f) Provide a robust and easily updated contact directory of people and facilities.

(g) Demonstrate the City’s commitment to transparency and exceptional customer service through measurable objectives by increasing available self-service options for the public. Maintain the integration of current customer billing portals.

(h) Act as a marketing tool for the City of Winter Haven, providing users with news about City projects and events.

(i) Provide initial onsite training in Winter Haven to all website administrators at no additional charge, as well as access to supplemental instructional material with the availability of additional services as needed.

(j) Hands-on oversight as City staff migrates and consolidates existing content to the new website.

(k) Incorporate various specific needs of each department and the community as a whole into a cohesive design.

(l) Identify and provide web information management tools to comply with State of Florida Public Records retention guidelines, to include archiving all versions.

(m) Identify if existing eGov services should continue. If those services are to continue, provide for easy integration with the applications. If an alternative is available, outline that option.

(n) Allow for the integration of key tools including See Click Fix, Citibot, and Granicus.

(o) Allow for easy, dynamic page design to accommodate new communication needs over the course of the website’s life.

(p) Include emergency notification bar and pop-up capabilities for various communications needs.

3. Important Criteria

(a) Visually appealing – Design is fundamental. The inviting and exciting nature of Winter Haven should be conveyed from the initial impression given on the homepage. The redesigned website should reflect Winter Haven’s beauty, natural resources, expanding economic development connections, sophistication and unique charm, while offering an easy-to-use user interface.

All images must be professional quality and be Winter Haven specific. Design should allow for customization of header images and other key elements from page to page and section to section while maintaining key elements of consistency like fonts and color choices.

(b) Common theme – Each section of the site should have a unified look and feel that reinforces Winter Haven’s image. Each section of the site should visually relate, yet retain some degree of individuality that reflects the service, department or audience being served.

(c) Easily updated – Once the site has been completed and accepted by the City, the site should be easy to maintain by non-technical members of City staff.

The CMS should provide for at least page-level specific permissions, approvals, and roles, including creating and publishing as well as version control.

(d) Fast-loading pages – The website must be designed with a balance of text and graphics, so the average page loads in an acceptable amount of time on the average computer.

(e) Easy to navigate – The site should be easy to navigate, with information grouped and presented in a logical manner. During the initial phase of the project, the successful contractor will be required to develop a comprehensive site map, which shows the strategy for information architecture decisions. An

intimate understanding of how the organization relates to the community is necessary.

(f) Search engine – The site should provide a rapid search capability of the entire site, generating results of high relevance to users, and should include autocomplete.

(g) Future flexibility – The site should include a flexible design template that can

easily accommodate the addition of new functionality at a later date.

(h) Mailing lists – A mechanism should permit users to sign up (using a double optin system) to be on various mailing lists targeted at different topic interests.

Users should also be able to opt-out at any time.

(i) Content Freshness and Approval Processes – There should be a mechanism to filter new content through an approval process before publishing live and notifications when content has not been reviewed or updated after a defined period of time.

4. Requirements

(a) The new or upgraded CMS should provide improved functionality with no reduction in existing service from the existing site, using current technology.

Specifically, our current CMS system allows for the following: secure user and group administration, easy-to-use interface for maintaining and updating content, collaborative authoring, content approval and workflow, content versioning, document and image management, re-usable widgets and content, and unlimited page or content creation.

(b) Navigation management. The navigation system should have the following features:

(i) Content categories: Ability to sort site content into categories, making the content easy to target to different pages.

(ii) Drop-down menus: Ability for website users to quickly view, locate and navigate information.

(iii) Error 404 (page not found): Ability for website to display a custom Error

404 (page not found) page when the requested page is not available.


(iv) External link splash page: Website should generate an external link splash page for pages that take users outside of the City site.

(v) Link redirect: Ability to create vanity URLs, short URLs, and redirect links to pages on the City’s website.

(vi) Navigation control: Ability to add new pages or move pages anywhere within the website to make it easy and accessible for website visitors.

Ability to modify the default navigation settings, including but not limited to hiding/displaying navigation menu items and allowing the inclusion of menu items stored under different sites.

(vii) Navigation levels: Ability to use multiple levels and paths of navigation to the same resource.

(viii) New windows/tabs: A new window/tab should open when the user clicks on a PDF or on an external link (see “external link splash page” above).

For all other links, refresh the current/main window.

(c) Interactive components

(i) Calendar system (monthly, weekly, daily and yearly views): Ability for users to have the following features:

• Find events

• Recurring events function

• HTML editing capabilities, including ability to include photos and links

• Automatic archiving

• Integration with e-notifications and social media event pages

• Ability to create and assign filtering categories to events

• Ability to control which events to include on the homepage of the site

• Ability to apply different calendar formats, including monthly calendar and a listing of events

• Calendar event sort capabilities depending on types of events (i.e. meetings, special events, athletic activities, etc.) The calendar should can select the venue and organizer information and the ability for outside organizations to submit events for approval.

• Ability to add calendar event to personal computer

 Automatic RSS feed

(ii) Maps: Incorporate City’s Geographical Information System (GIS) maps and/or data to show aerial and street-level views of all City buildings, parks, community centers, etc. provide door-to-door directions, brief information and links to other pages within the site. Offer capabilities for specific uses like zoning.

(d) Community outreach, media and social networking integrating features for social media:


(i) Online Newsroom/Calendar: Ability to post news to a page or pages on the site. News should have the ability to be automatically archived at a predefined time after publishing and scheduled to be published at a future date and time. News headlines should have the option to be displayed on the homepage in an order defined by staff.

(ii) Notifications and subscription-based newsletters and text systems: Ability

to have people sign up for email newsletters and text subscriptions through existing tools.

(iii) Audio and video embedding: Ability to imbed audio and video into website pages.

(v) Integrated social media tools: Integration with social networking websites,

including the ability to selectively update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

and other social media networks with the CMS as staff updates the website.

(vi) Ability for site visitors to share site content through their social media

channels including, but not limited to, Twitter and Facebook, as well as the ability to integrate future social media tools

(vii) RSS Feed Reader: Ability for staff to set up feed readers for important City information

(viii) RSS Feeds: Ability for users to sign up to receive RSS feeds

(e) Integration of third-party sites and services; third-party tools, features and databases should have the same look and feel as the City’s website and the

links to the third-party websites should be integrated into the site’s navigation:

(i) GIS services. Integration with ArcGIS is already in use, but some optimization is needed to maximize app usability.

(ii) RecTrac – Parks, Recreation & Culture online registration service

(iii) Granicus, See Click Fix, CitiBot – citizen engagement tools

(iv) Weblink – MCCi link to public records already stored in the City’s Laserfiche records management system

(v) CGI Communications Video Tours of Winter Haven link on front page as required by existing contract

(vi) Smart Energy Water (SEW) platform – Water department billing portal.

(f) City Branding

(i) Consistent look and feel of the website: Throughout the website, the look

and feel should be consistent and convey the city brand, including but not limited to typography, photography, logo and other graphic elements and color scheme.

(ii) Enhance access to, and improve usability to promote City online services and resources


(h) Fully functional in both viewing and editing, with major browsers and operating systems on PC and Mac.

(i) Ensure implementation is functional with the current versions and one version back of major browsers and operating systems.

(ii) The site will be required to support browser versions that are more than

three years old where the older version still accounts for 10% of site’s Web traffic.

(iii) The site will not be required to support any browser that is no longer

available for download from the manufacturer’s website or whose manufacturer has ceased development.

(iv) The site will not support browsers for operating systems that are not currently supported by the manufacturing company, or whose manufacturer has ceased development.

(i) Functional (viewing and editing) with all major mobile devices. The website will be easy to use (for viewers and content managers) with all major mobile devices, including but not limited to:

(i) Tablets

(ii) Smart Phones

(j) Comply with Americans with Disabilities Act Section 508 and World Wide Web Consortium standards.

(i) Site should be accessible to those with disabilities. The final design must comply with all requirements of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2.1 (Minimum Level AA).

(ii) Site should have the ability to scale fonts to increase the overall size of the font on each page.

(iii) Cascading style sheets will be used to ensure consistency and separation of content and design.

(iv) Require users to place alt-tags on images and inline links that

automatically generate with photo and inline links.

(k) Search engine optimization (SEO) and site search functionality. The site

should provide for search engine optimization to allow the highest possible

ranking of the individual pages within the site from all major search providers.

(i) The site should be accessible by spiders for the purpose of indexing the site.

(ii) The site should be structured so that spiders can crawl easily.

(iii) The site should provide meta title and meta description tags that can be maintained by City staff.

(iv) The site should provide robust and prominent smart search functionality that allows users to type in a word or phrase to find information.


(v) The search feature should provide results for a single word, combination of words, or the exact phrase search using quotation marks.

(vi) The search feature should auto correct and/or provide results that best match misspelled words or phrases.

(vii) The search feature should provide “best bet” results.

(viii) The search feature should be able to search both HTML pages and

documents, such as PDF files and Microsoft Word documents.

(ix) Results will be returned in order of relevance based on the frequency of

the search words in the page content or metadata, and results can be browsed by category.

(x) Users should be able to browse search results within different content types, such as documents, event calendar and news.

(l) Data and file migration from the existing site, and integration into a new site.

Understanding that this RFQ allows the city to restructure and update its content, the City has a significant investment in the existing content and files.

Proposals should include the process for migrating the data and files from the existing CMS into any new or upgraded CMS. This includes integrating existing content into the new design, navigation structure, and site.

(m) Secure, fault-tolerant, and highly available hosted environment to support the site development and deployment to the public, including:

(i) Unlimited bandwidth for peak demands

(ii) Backup services with the ability to restore the site to a “point in time”

(iii) Site redundancy at multiple locations

(iv) Provide uptime level of 99.9% with a financially backed guarantee

(n) On-going technical training and design support, onsite, if necessary. Describe how your company will provide initial training for the City’s appointed content users at no additional charge. In addition, describe how you will provide ongoing support by job title, including project management, development, help desk support and training as separate items. Preference will be given to vendors that provide support as an unlimited part of ongoing services, within reason, rather than a pay-per-use system that discourages customer questions and interaction.

(i) Provide ongoing tech support services for issues with the site and any future development.

(ii) Provide optional maintenance and development service plans as needed.

5. Long-Term Management

Include a strategy for the long-term management and an outline of the firm’s

availability of the website’s architecture and CMS, including:

(a) Maintenance of website architecture.


(b) Technical support of CMS.

(c) Assistance with implementation of third-party software to the website.

(d) Potential re-design in three to five years.

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