Longwood University Seeks Crisis Communications Firm

longwood university

Founded in 1839 as the Farmville Female Seminary Association, Longwood’s history has been one of constant growth and evolution. The institution had a series of names over its early history, becoming Longwood College in 1949, turning fully co-ed in 1976, and in 2002, becoming Longwood University. Longwood is a public 4-year institution offering more than 100 majors, minors and concentrations in the arts and sciences, business, education, and nursing. Graduate programs include business, communication sciences and disorders, education, English, and sociology. Longwood’s fall 2016 enrollment was 5,096 students from 25 states and 20 foreign countries. For more information about Longwood University, please visit the University’s website at www.longwood.edu. In 2016, Longwood University hosted the U.S. Vice Presidential Debate and contracted an outside public relations firm to consult on crisis communications planning and operations, media outreach and placement strategies, and responsiveness to media requests. The firm consulted on plans to highlight unique aspects of the University’s mission and strategic vision, namely its focus on citizen leadership, unique history spanning the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, and expertise of the University President on the office of the U.S. presidency.

Additionally, the firm served as an on-call consultant in crises or when sensitive issues arose that could damage the reputation of the University during a time of increased media attention. During the debate, the firm was on-campus, assisting with content generation, on-call consultancy, and implementation of the strategic plan.

Scope of Work:

A. Media Consultancy

Longwood University seeks a qualified firm to consult on matters of general media strategy and implementing initiatives in line with the University’s strategic goals and mission. The offeror must be:

1. Familiar with the higher education landscape and able to show consistent results in placing expertise or original content in top nationwide publications.
2. Experts on industry best practices, including implementing media and public relations strategies and crafting strategic communications plans.
3. Familiar with higher education policies and legislative agendas to provide current advice on University media strategies.
4. Have a proven ability to develop effective thought leadership strategies to define the University’s distinctive qualities and promote strategic initiatives.
5. Have relevant expertise relating to higher education events and major announcements to develop detailed planning and effective communications strategies.

B. Crisis Communications

The offeror must also be available to consult on crisis communications and have expertise and relevant experience in the field, specifically relating to higher education. The offeror must be able to provide:

1. Review and critique of existing crisis communication plans.
2. Timely consultation in times of crisis to advise and help craft communications strategies for the University.
3. Provide strategies to help de-escalate growing areas of concern, specifically relating to the higher education landscape.
4. Real-time assistance and monitoring of traditional media and social media channels.
5. Real-time consultation on developing internal and external messaging.

Due Date:
September 20, 2017


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