Henderson State University, Branding & Image Campaign


Henderson State University (HSU) seeks a well-established, full-service marketing firm within the state of Arkansas to submit proposals to perform brand development, creative work, marketing strategy and implementation along with advertising, media planning, and media buying services, metrics and monitoring with the objective of increasing enrollment and enhancing brand awareness.

Starting Oct. 15, 2018, the campaign must be executed and show increased enrollment for Fall 2018, followed by foundational work to increase Fall 2019 enrollment.

The selected firm will establish a strong brand for HSU; and enhance the image of the university throughout the state and in bordering states, such as Texas and Louisiana, where student recruitment efforts are targeted and help rebuild student enrollment numbers. As the successful firm will know, branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product or service. It is communication of characteristics, values and attributes that clarify what a particular brand is and is not.


HSU has great stories to be told which can form the basis of the brand. For example:

  • HSU is consistently ranked as an affordable university that provides great value.
  • HSU is located less than 10 miles from a state park that includes the 13,000-acre Degray Lake which was formed by a dam across the Caddo River. Outdoor recreation opportunities are vast and include swimming, fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, camping, etc.
  • HSU is located less than 30-minutes from Hot Springs National Park, less than 1 hour from the state capitol of Little Rock, two hours from Shreveport, three hours from Memphis and four hours from both Dallas and Northwest Arkansas.
  • HSU has a nationally top-ranked teacher preparation program upon which the university was founded more than 125 years ago, the state’s only four-year aviation program, a biological field station located on DeGray Lake, and new majors including engineering and innovative media.
  • HSU’s D-II student athletes are high achieving both on the field and in the classroom with many recent conference championship appearances and wins and a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • HSU has popular fine and performing arts programs that includes The Showband of Arkansas and a summer band camp that is open to middle school, junior high and high school students.

HSU is recognized for caring faculty and staff and a “just right” feel when prospective students and the families visit the campus.

Scope of Work

  • Research/Trend Analysis Phase. The consultant will utilize recent research conducted by mStoner to help build a strong foundation for the HSU brand. Additional trend analysis may be needed going back at least 10 years to understand recent shifts that may help explain where HSU is losing market share. A tour of HSU and surrounding college campuses may be beneficial to better understand the college choices students are faced with.

It is the desire of HSU to include within this scope of work a survey of targeted groups, such as high school counselors and high school juniors and seniors considering college choices. The consultant will analyze the data and ferret out the best HSU programs and student successes in a way that will form the basis of the brand.

  • Development of the HSU Brand. The selected consultant must work with the University to develop the key elements that make up the brand, such as the vision, positioning, identity, character, and promise. Brand credentials need to be consolidated and key branding messages established.
  • Creative/Visual Image. The selected consultant must develop visuals that communicate the emotion and personality of the HSU brand. These visuals will include various forms of electronic, print, and media graphics that can be deployed in the marketing strategy and used throughout the University. The core elements are listed below. The design theme must be made to be transferable to all University departments with the creation of design templates.
  • General Presentation Folder with Inserts. Designs must be provided for a general marketing presentation folder with three insert templates. At a minimum, the folder should have a graphic design on the front, with two pockets on the inside using a standard die and business card slit. The contract must include the printing of at least 2,000 marketing folders.

o Electronic/Print Design Templates Focused on Academic Programs and Student Life. Design templates are needed for a wide variety of marketing materials that are used on a regular basis. The templates will allow the University to write content on an as-needed basis in a format that is consistent with the new branding. These templates include a trifold flyer on letter sized paper, a general student information flyer on letter sized paper, post card templates (front and back), 11”x17” poster templates, 20’x 4’banner template, and email marketing templates.

o Media Templates. Templates for print and electronic ads must be prepared, as well as a template for press releases.

o Professional Photography and Videography. High-quality images and video are required to help communicate the brand image. The contract must specify the budget devoted to photography and videography, and must include shots of various interior classroom settings and exterior activity shots.

  • Marketing Strategy and Implementation Plan. The consultant shall develop a marketing strategy and implementation plan that identifies efficient and cost-effective avenues to target both external and internal audiences as follows:

o   Potential students both in-state and in targeted recruiting areas out-of-state considering college choices, with an emphasis on high school students and young adults transferring from community colleges.

o   The general public for the purpose of enhancing the perception/image/reputation of HSU.

o   Current HSU students and alumni, so they are aware of successes of their fellow students and want to be associated with the University.

The implementation plan must include a recommended annual marketing budget.

  • Advertising, Media Planning & Media Buying. The selected consultant will develop an annual plan for advertising and media buying. The consultant will meet with university representatives on a quarterly basis to assess ad effectiveness and make adjustments as needed to the annual plan. The consultant also will be the university’s direct contact for cold calls and pitches from media sales representatives. The consultant will help screen phone calls and share information with the Office of Marketing & Communications. The consultant may meet in person with some sales representatives on behalf of the University.
  • Metrics/Monitoring. The consultant shall provide metrics and monitoring of marketing effectiveness on a quarterly basis and include recommendations for redirection of resources if it is determined that marketing initiatives are failing to produce desired results.

Due Date

September, 15th 2017 10:00AM



PR firms with education experience include APCO worldwide and Ketchum PR.


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