The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) Seeks Communications Strategy

Mid-America Regional Council

Purpose:

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is requesting qualifications from a PR agency to develop a cohesive, overall communications strategy to build public understanding and support for regional green infrastructure (GI) plans and investments in metro Kansas City. The communications strategy should include specific recommendations for framing, messaging, branding and overall graphic look and feel.

The communications strategy will support outreach and communications to the general public and area decision-makers about environmental stewardship and nature-based planning, design and management in metro Kansas City.

Background:

MARC is a non-profit association of local governments, and the designated metropolitan planning organization for the Kansas City region. MARC is responsible for advancing its vision of sustainability through a broad array of programs and initiatives. Green infrastructure conservation and restoration constitutes a central policy goal spanning broad interrelated areas of responsibility, including transportation, air and water quality, climate resilience, and public health. The Kansas City region has a long history of GI initiatives. MetroGreen provides an umbrella framework as a regional, landscape-scale GI plan, calling for 1,144 miles of multi-purpose, natural and transportation corridors. Regional green- and complete-street policy and stormwater management guidelines advance site and corridor-scale GI practices. Other efforts related to native landscaping (Clean Air Action Plan; KC Native Plants Initiative), watershed management (stream protection requirements; Middle Blue River Urban Waters Federal Partnership), urban forestry (Regional Forestry Policy Framework) and climate resilience (Regional Climate Resilience Strategy) promote GI to advance varied policy goals.

However, professionals involved in GI planning have identified communications as a significant barrier to continued progress on this agenda. Several causes for lack of public and political understanding may be articulated. The agenda is inherently broad― it is advanced through multiple regulatory, disciplinary and community processes, creating a sense of complexity. The terms “green” and “infrastructure” themselves can be problematic. No clear constituency exists to advocate for GI, and, the benefits of nature-based solutions have not been well distilled. This effort, then, seeks to create a coherent, integrated communications strategy to support MARC community outreach and engagement efforts. The strategy will help demystify the “whats” and “whys” of GI by showing its relationship to the built environment, its role within the landscape matrix and the raft of clearly demonstrated benefits associated with GI.

Scope of Work:

Task 1: Review existing plans and data.

MARC and the consultant will review existing communications materials from relevant local and national studies and reports.

Task 2: Clarify target audiences.

Public communications are intended to build public understanding and support, to create new constituencies, and ultimately, to influence decision-making in support of GI investments and management. Consultant recommendations about targeted demographics would be a necessary first step, along with recommendations about specific actions we would hope each demographic group would undertake.

Task 3: Develop approach to GI framing, messaging and branding.

The consultant will recommend an overall strategic communications approach, including framing the issues, developing messaging for various audiences, branding, and creating an overall look-and-feel for graphic design. The consultant will advise MARC about how the MetroGreen brand and logo should be incorporated into future GI outreach and communications.

Task 4: Refine approach through stakeholder engagement.

Consultant will meet with MARC and targeted stakeholders to receive input on recommended approaches and determine what messages and visuals are most effective. One iteration of feedback is anticipated.

Task 5: Prepare and submit final report.

The consultant will prepare a final report that outlines the recommended approach/strategy (including key audiences, messages, proposed branding and graphic design) for GI communications. The consultant will provide vector artwork for all graphics.

Due Date:

February 16th, 2018

Address:

MARC Office

600 Broadway Blvd, Ste. 200

Kansas City, MO 64105

Non-profit PR firms include Ruder Finn and Hunter PR.

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