The City of Garland has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for professional branding and marketing services.  The City is seeking a firm with the knowledge, ability, and demonstrable experience in brand management of an entertainment district, managed district, or destination consisting of multiple individual businesses and stakeholders. The chosen firm will assist the City in creating an overarching identity and vision for marketing and promoting the Downtown district and be responsible for proposing a strategy to attract new visitors, repeat customers, commercial investors, and residents to Downtown Garland.

The firm will be capable of assisting the City with developing its Downtown brand and increasing activity and awareness for it via social media, promotions, limited paid advertising, and the branding of elements of the physical environment. The firm will provide collateral production services in support of branding and marketing strategies. In addition, the firm will advise and provide strategies and recommendations on how to successfully position Downtown branding and marketing efforts that complement existing City of Garland and Garland Downtown Business Association (GDBA) marketing efforts.


Garland is the second-most populous city in Dallas County, Texas and the fifth largest in the 3 DFW Metroplex. The community has strong and deep roots that began in Downtown Garland, but has struggled with age and has witnessed development energy migrate to other parts of the region.

Downtown Garland is the cultural and government center of the city. It consists of a historic district at its core that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Contributing buildings cover a wide range of time periods, from 1897 to 1967 in historical significance, creating an eclectic mixture of architectural styles with visual interest but lacks a singular unifying theme. While the historic district provides a solid, authentic backdrop, the area continues to progress with new development and an expanding arts scene.

The established performing arts scene is anchored in Downtown by the Granville Performing Arts Center and the historic Plaza Theater, as well as the arts organizations that keep them active, including the Garland Summer Musicals, the Garland Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Theater, and the Company of Rowlett Performers. An emerging visual arts scene has recently taken root with murals and sculptures, prompting the creation of a Public Art Walking Tour. Substantial, additional public art is anticipated in the near future.

The City, as well as several non-profit organizations, host special events and 5Ks in the Downtown Square throughout the year, particularly in the spring, early summer, and fall; the largest event is the City’s annual Christmas on the Square tree lighting. An outdoor market sets up one Saturday per month for nine months of the year. An increasingly active Garland Downtown Business Association (GDBA) hosts several promotional events per year to draw customers into their businesses, including spring and fall wine walks. Additionally, the organization hosts a free community event in October, Trunk R’ Treat. Restaurants offering live music on select nights also offer entertainment options.

Downtown Garland is part of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone that was created in 2004 to spur revitalization of Downtown through Transit-Oriented Development radiating out from the DART light rail station and the bus Park-and-Ride. Catalyst projects such as the Oaks Fifth Street Crossing and City Center projects brought multi-family living and substantial improvements in public infrastructure, and refreshed City facilities over the past ten years. Additional public investments slated for the next three years include modernization upgrades to Central Library, streetscape enhancements, and a redesign of the public Square in the heart of Downtown. Following the influx of residents in these Downtown catalyst projects, additional private investment followed in the Downtown core, including a dozen locally owned restaurants, new retail shops, and another multifamily redevelopment of an abandoned bank building. On the outer edges of Downtown, a single family residential neighborhood also experienced grassroots revitalization and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Travis College Hill Historic District.

While the number of building vacancies has diminished in recent years, the growing number of small businesses need to increase marketing and promotional efforts to create a sustained growth in customer base for the district. With the anticipated reconstruction of the Downtown Square planned to begin in late 2021, aggressive marketing efforts need to begin in 2020 to offset potential drop-off in customer traffic due to construction inconveniences in 2022 and 2023.

Scope of Work:

SCOPE Among other things, the successful contractor will: Conduct a comprehensive investigative analysis of Downtown Garland, its institutions, residents, visitors, businesses, and stakeholders in order to:

· Identify key issues, conditions, influencers (negative and positive) affecting Downtown competitiveness;

· Analyze direct vs. indirect impressions of Downtown (i.e., those conveyed by residents, merchants, visitors, etc.); and

· Identify areas of differentiation between Downtown Garland and its competitors in the greater DFW area. Use the results of the analysis to:

· Recommend ways to exploit competitive advantages and address areas for improvement to effectively position and differentiate Downtown Garland from the competition as a destination, an appealing place to live, and a thriving opportunity for business investment;

· Establish Downtown’s identity and brand strategy;

· Identify relevant target audiences to support economic vitality of the Downtown district and the best means for reaching them;

· Produce brand collateral templates and a style guide for use in marketing and promoting Downtown as a destination, as well as daily merchant promotions and activities; Work with stakeholders on visioning and goal-setting in support of:

· Developing strategies and a roadmap for effectively marketing and promoting Downtown on a regular basis, including daily merchant promotions and programming, occasional special events, and general promotion of the district for name recognition and positive image association;

· Developing a specific marketing strategy for maintaining customer traffic during planned reconstruction and street closures in/around the Downtown Square from late 2021 into 2023;

· Develop a scalable media buy plan based on a three-tiered recommended budget,

· Facilitate stakeholders in identifying the best way to coordinate the marketing and promotional efforts of various entities and platforms in order to maximize effectiveness, minimize inefficiencies, and achieve the goals of each entity (ex: GDBA, as well as the City DDO, CVB, and Public & Media Relations departments);

· Provide input into the physical design elements of the detail design plans for the Square Plaza redesign, as it relates to the central theme/identity of architectural and environmental graphics elements (if project schedules allow for such coordination between the two projects).

· Detail specific recommendations for activities and projects that will enhance the programming for the Square/Downtown’s target audiences.


The chosen contractor shall furnish all the necessary services, qualified personnel, material, equipment, and facilities, not otherwise provided by the City, as needed to perform the Scope of Work as stated herein. Specifically, the contractor shall:

· Work with a steering committee composed of City staff, Garland Downtown Business Association representatives, and the Garland Chamber of Commerce to guide the project to successful completion.

· Remain mindful of Downtown Garland’s available/likely budget constraints and produce a plan that can be realistically executed within those constraints.


Strategic planning meeting:

The contractor shall schedule and hold a strategic planning meeting with the City of Garland within ten (10) business days of award of contract. Contractor 8 shall then provide draft of a detailed project plan within twelve (12) business days of the strategic meeting.

Project Deliverables:

The City recognizes that a rather unique and customized approach will be required to best implement and fully realize this project. To that end, the City invites respondents to prepare and submit an initial list of proposed deliverables. The City understands that this list may be subject to adjustment as both the successful respondent and the City work to identify a final scope of work that will be undertaken with this project. Proposed deliverables should be presented in an A La Cart Menu fashion, showing the total or unit cost for each menu item. All deliverables and resulting materials will become the sole property of the City of Garland.

Due Date:

Mar. 19, 2020


Electronic version of your proposal via Ion Wave


Name: Joel J. Wilson

Address: 2001 N. Fifth Street, Garland, TX 75040

Phone: 972 205 2427


Shift Communications and W2O Group are agencies worth considering.

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