UC DAVIS Issues Brand Strategy RFP

UC DAVIS Issues Brand Strategy RFP

UC Davis has national and world-leading expertise in many areas. We also realize public perceptions will not accept an institution that is seemingly ‘expert in everything’, especially in an era of negotiable facts and shorter-than-ever attention spans. UC Davis wants to retain the services of a strategic partner that will utilize and build upon existing public perception research to develop a brand strategy and comprehensive marketing campaign to help achieve our critical goals related to fundraising, reputation, advancing health worldwide, and our land grant mission of supporting excellence in teaching, research and public service. We have a new chancellor with a bold vision, a top-ranked health system that is evolving and innovating under new leadership, and a public fundraising campaign launching in 2020 — this is an optimal moment to differentiate UC Davis in the marketplace and effectively communicate the university’s amazing story to our targeted audiences.

Chancellor Gary S. May became UC Davis’ seventh chancellor in August 2017 and is in the final stages of developing a strategic plan and vision for UC Davis for the next ten years. The plan is the result of a months-long process with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community supporters to articulate a shared vision for the future of the university. The draft goals of the “To Boldly Go” strategic plan are as follows:

  1. Provide an educational experience that prepares all of our students to address the needs and challenges of a diverse and changing world
  2. Enable and support research that matters at the frontiers of knowledge, across and between the disciplines, in support of a healthy planet and the physical and societal well being of its inhabitants
  3. Embrace diversity, practice inclusive excellence, and strive for equity; and make UC Davis a place of excellence for learning and working by supporting a culture that values the contributions and aspirations of all our students, staff and faculty, promotes wellness, and cultivates the open interchange of ideas
  4. Support our community, region, state, nation and world through mutually beneficial and impactful partnerships that reflect a firm commitment to our mission while also increasing the visibility and reputation of the university beyond our borders
  5. Develop an intellectual and physical environment that supports the development of an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that extends the benefits of our research activities beyond the boundaries of the university

Bidders should assume that the brand development will coincide with the campaign launch. The months preceding the public launch also offer a “lead up” opportunity to enhance UC Davis brand perception and foster interest in our institution.

Scope of Work:

The following provides an outline of the anticipated scope of work and key deliverables. However, given the nature of creative enterprise, the scope and/or deliverables may be modified to accommodate creative needs and/or the needs of the university as the marketplace shifts during the life of the campaign. With this in mind, the following represents the forecasted project detail.


Research and Discovery:

  • Development, facilitation and reporting of a qualitative research study that includes key stakeholders and audiences
  • Constituent and competitive set research to ensure external mindsets, drivers and perspectives are understood
  • Analyze and apply insights from existing quantitative research to provide an updated evaluation and assessment of current perception and recognition for the institution by alumni, donors, current students and their families, prospective students and their families, faculty and staff, patients and clients, business and opinion leaders, the media and general public of the state of California. Additional quantitative research may be conducted if the agency requires it, provided it is planned for in the overall budget and timelines are not impacted
  • Comprehensive summary of the research findings, including an analysis of the data collected in each component of the research process and the implications of the findings for the institution’s brand position, opportunity areas and key messages
  • Develop and implement a detailed strategic brand identity audit and SWOT analysis. Assess the current UC Davis brand’s alignment with research findings, the strategic plan and external marketplace assessment; assess marketplace positioning of potential branding and visual identity
  • Interpret all collected data into actionable intelligence
  • Conduct 4 – 6 on-campus presentations to internal constituents outlining research findings and recommendations for messaging and branding
  • Test and validate proposed brand strategy and key messages

Positioning and Strategy:

  • Develop a brand strategy for the university, based on the research findings, that includes (at minimum) a brand definition, positioning statement, brand promise and articulation of distinct brand personality and attributes. The strategy must be cohesive and adaptable across the many UC Davis sub-brands (UC Davis Health, Athletics, schools and colleges, etc.) and effectively communicate the functional/emotional benefits of UC Davis for each of our target audiences
  • Logo/wordmark recommendations and/or development (if needed based on research findings). Recommendations for visual identity changes should be made with consideration of the financial costs and organizational challenges inherent in doing so across a decentralized institution
  • Build communications that are thoughtful, authentic and own-able for UC Davis
  • Conduct on-campus presentations to internal constituents outlining recommendations for brand positioning and strategy

UC will retain ownership of the results of phase 1 whether or not phase 2 will be implemented.


Based on successful performance in Phase One, UC Davis may opt to extend the contract to include Phase Two outlined below. The bidding for this section is for a master brand (winter 2020 launch) and the development and execution of the subbrand for the comprehensive fundraising campaign (fall 2020 launch). Bidders should describe any planned use of subcontractors.

Master Brand Launch:

  • Develop a brand style guide including brand incorporation strategies/recommendations for the professional schools, UC Davis Health and other entities with specialized messaging needs
  • Develop a brand marketing strategy and launch plan, including recommendations on targeting, advertising and other aspects
  • Create/deliver a strategic rollout plan from conceptualization to execution that includes 4-5 presentations to internal stakeholders and metrics for success
  • Provide full-service support for execution of a comprehensive major-research-university brand campaign including creative development and other deliverables deemed necessary according to the research and resulting strategy (website, campaign advertisement video (broadcast length), collateral, print and digital ads, design schemas for physical branding (e.g., signage), etc., and logo redesign specs, if deemed appropriate)
  • Conduct post-brand campaign launch evaluation/surveys

Fundraising Campaign Theme and Visual Identity (modeled after university brand identity):

  • Create a comprehensive campaign theme (aka name) and visual expression that is strategic, representative of the UC Davis brand and nimble for the life of the campaign
  • Once the basis of the creative is established, create a campaign brand manual to establish graphic standards, tone and other creative guidelines for internal rollout

Fundraising Campaign Execution:

  • Case statements – provide visual expression of both university priorities and school/unit/institute initiatives in print and digital format
  • Web platform – develop campaign microsite
  • Communications strategy and plan – built for the short-, mid- and long-term, a plan that accounts for all university and campus-wide development needs and opportunities, including regional outreach, while monitoring the plan to ensure execution. Incorporate individual guidance on campaign activation with each college/school/unit
  • Execute other marketing tactics, as prescribed by the plan and when direction is given by Development Communications, that may include:

o Collateral materials

o Event marketing for campaign launch and conclusion

o Digital tools and assets

o Social media content

o Development Officer toolkit

o Video content

o Email communication

o Targeting, advertising and activation

Due Date:

October 24th



APCO Worldwide and Ketchum PR have education experience.

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