Fort Lewis College Issues RFP For Brand Identity & Website Redesign
We have recently conducted an extensive website audit of the main Fort Lewis College website (www.fortlewis.edu). The audit revealed a number of issues with the site, as well as, our brand identity. We are seeking one or more vendors that can help with these issues. Vendors may choose to submit bids on the brand identity project, the website redesign, or both.
Issues with our brand identity
While Fort Lewis College delivers a high-quality educational product and possesses a number of unique differentiators (a large Native American student population and a jaw-dropping location, to name a few), we have struggled with creating and maintaining a consistent, cohesive, and powerful brand. Branding efforts in the past by outside vendors have generally failed, as they either didn’t understand who we are, or didn’t complete the branding process through completion of roll-out. With a new president starting soon and enrollment numbers dropping, the situation demands a clear brand that can articulate FLC’s unique selling proposition.
Issues with the current website
While we find our current website clean, simple and fairly easy to navigate, a recent audit revealed that the information architecture can be disorienting and makes it difficult for users to find what they are looking for. The images and content are stale, not engaging, and/or do not reflect the FLC brand. And, the site does not offer the ability to provide a personalized experience for users, A/B testing, and other modern digital marketing tools.
Fort Lewis College is a selective public liberal arts college located in Durango, Colorado. We are committed to accessible and high-quality baccalaureate education, and our hallmarks are remarkably close relationships between students and faculty, the freedom of intellectual exploration, and the challenge of experiential learning. Our 3,200 students come from 50 states, 17 countries, and 145 American Indian tribes and Alaskan Native villages. With its rich cultural heritage, Fort Lewis College is a great place to learn and work. Fort Lewis College is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Durango, the hub of Southwestern Colorado, is a thriving multicultural community set along the beautiful Animas River Valley. Averaging 300 sunny days per year and situated at 6,500 feet between the foothills of the San Juan Mountains and the headwaters of the Colorado Plateau, Durango is renowned for its outdoor opportunities. In the winter, Purgatory Ski Resort, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Telluride Ski Resort, and Taos Ski Valley are all within easy drives, and backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are easily accessible. In warmer seasons, hiking, biking, river running, golfing, and fishing can be enjoyed right downtown. Durango itself is a small, friendly, historic town of 15,000, and is the seat of La Plata County, with a population of 50,000. Durango features numerous dining, shopping, and cultural amenities usually associated with larger urban areas, and is connected by major airlines directly to Dallas, Denver and Phoenix.
Scope of Work:
We are seeking a vendor or vendors to complete the following services. Vendors may choose to bid on the brand identity project, website redesign, or both.
- Website redesign and development, and content development in collaboration with our in-house content developers.
- Brand identity research, development and implementation.
o Recruit new students by helping them understand who we are and how they can fit into the FLC community. The site should increase conversions for requests for information, campus visits, and applications.
o Help retain existing students by increasing their engagement with the website and providing easy access to services and information they need to accomplish their goals.
o Increase engagement with alumni and the community to improve attendance at events and increase donations for fundraising campaigns.
o Discovery, Research & Strategy The chosen vendor will leverage and build upon existing website audit insights, findings, and strategic recommendations. The discovery document is available at: https://www.fortlewis.edu/webdiscovery2018
Additional research may include:
- Google Analytics review/enhancement
- Stakeholder interviews
- UX/UI review
- Content and competitive analysis
o Information Architecture Evaluation and Restructure The vender will improve overall information architecture by:
- Helping establish goals for the website that include recruitment, retention, and fundraising.
- Evaluating current information architecture, provide suggestions for improvement and develop information architecture outline for the new site.
- UX/UI Design The vendor will create new design templates for the main site as well as a number of subsites. This will include:
- Designing responsive, branded web page templates for:
- The Fort Lewis College primary site including home page and subpages
- FLC Foundation & Alumni
- Academic Departments
- All templates must be built off of Bootstrap or similar framework. They must be compatible with our CMS, Evoq Content 9.x (aka DotNetNuke).
- The selected agency partner will evaluate the site and strategically decide the total number of page templates that would need to be designed and developed.
o Content Strategy and Content Development The vendor will work with our content developers to create new content for top-level pages and academic program descriptions. This will include:
- Analyze top-level content and key programmatic areas.
- Review current on-page search engine optimization (SEO), help fix technical issues and provide strategy to address other SEO issues.
- Develop an effective content migration and website implementation strategy.
- Create and teach an editorial workshop for web contributors.
- Evaluate current site assets and recommend additional asset creation including but not limited to: infographics, images, videos, and photography.
- Style, technical, and/or content document to guide future development of the site.
- Find a solution that will find and replace outdated MS Word, PDF, and other documents and orphaned files.
- Develop a strategy to ensure all MS Word, PDF and other documents adhere to WCAG 2.0 level AA accessibility guidelines.
o Development & Testing Vendors will need to:
- Develop custom solutions or recommend third party solutions that include, but may not be limited to:
- Event Calendar – Campus-wide event calendar that will work for all departments across campus. Departments should be able to display their own events on their sites as well as the master event calendar. It should include filters and a search feature to make finding events easy for the end user.
- Forms – Form builder that will allow content editors the ability to create both simple and complex forms, including but not limited to, forms that require a signature, two-party authentication, and file uploads.
- Search – A website search feature that provides accurate results for the main Fort Lewis College site as well as related sites such as the Library, Center for Southwest Studies, KDUR Radio, Athletics and others.
- Donations – Provide a solution that makes finding funds and donating to them quick and easy. The process should integrate seamlessly with the Advancement and Alumni websites.
- Editor – Modify CK Editor so users will see the same styles in edit mode that they do while viewing the page. Users should also have the ability to add captions to images. Colors, fonts, and styles should be limited to the FLC web site style guide.
- Provide the front-end code, all original graphics files and the accompanying web applications needed to launch the site.
- Delivered templates need to meet all of the latest web standards and support at least two versions back in the main browsers across all common operating systems.
- Adhere to WCAG 2.0 level AA accessibility guidelines.
- Compliant with all applicable rules and regulations of Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Include strategies to optimize page weight at 1MB or less. All pages should score a 70/100 or higher on Google PageSpeed Insights.
- Support for troubleshooting issues with the site for one week after the launch.
o Follow up (Analyze and Optimize) Once the site is complete, we will need to set up a system to monitor it and ensure that is it performing as well as possible. This will include:
- Helping create goals and/or benchmarks that will allow us to monitor the site and develop a strategy for improvement moving forward. This could include technical performance and the ability of the site to drive conversions in our marketing funnel.
- Evaluating the performance of the redesigned site.
- Creating strategic recommendations and plans for iterative improvements.
o Articulate a brand that is uniquely FLC.
o Educate internal audiences about the brand and how they can become our brand ambassadors.
o Develop brand guidelines.
o Develop templates that will help departments across campus stay on brand.
o Discovery & Assessment Information gathered during this phase of the project will inform development of the brand strategic framework and creative execution, and would include:
- Conduct an overall project-planning meeting with Fort Lewis College.
- Conduct a comprehensive internal audit of the institution.
- Review existing external assessments to understand target audience perceptions.
- Assess and review current brand assets
- Perform a competitive analysis of peer institutions’ brand and market positions.
- Analysis of findings and recommendations for branding and marketing.
o Develop Brand Strategic Framework This phase will include development of target audience, brand positioning, brand promise, overarching creative concept and communications strategy. The framework should include but is not limited to:
- Prioritize target audiences and conduct an analysis of current versus desired positioning.
- Develop and refine the Fort Lewis College brand portfolio.
- Test the brand promise and message internally.
- Provide guidance and assistance in implementing an assessment process.
- Develop comprehensive creative brief and roadmap for creative execution.
o Creative Brand Concept Development
- Develop at least two brand concepts that will serve as potential directions for voice, look, and feel of creative.
- Develop and present mock-ups based on brand concepts.
- Create presentation of selected brand concept.
o University-wide Brand Roll-out Present plans for a campus-wide brand roll-out, as well as comprehensive marketing and communication plans.
- Plan a major on-campus roll-out event.
- Develop a presentation for campus-wide rollout of marketing and branding initiative that will engage the campus community.
- Assist in planning and implementation of an internal and external brand training process and brand guidelines for employees and vendors.
o Brand Execution
- Provide full-service marketing and creative support.
- The agency creative director/producer should demonstrate ability to provide variation in production output tailored to Fort Lewis College’s budget.
Agencies with education experience include Finn Partners and RF Binder.