The branding process is all about creating a positive perception of your company. It aims to combine different elements such as logo and mission statement and make a seamless theme throughout all marketing communication channels and align it with your customers’ expectations.
Assuming you don’t have an in-house team that can tackle this important task, you will need to partner with one of the branding agencies that can answer all your business needs and provide a consistent brand experience to your customers.
A big part of hiring the right partner agency is writing a request for proposal (RFP) that will convey all the right information needed for vendors to make more valuable formal bids.
We are here to simplify this challenging task for you with our five easy-to-follow steps for writing an effective branding RFP.
1. Introduce your business
2. Explain your current branding challenges
3. Ask the right questions
4. Include a budget scope
5. Set the timelines
Let’s examine these steps in more detail!
Introduce your business
The first step in writing any kind of RFP is providing detailed information about your business, such as:
- Your company’s short history, along with your values and goals
- Your brand vision
- The current business stage (startup, a leader in the industry, etc.)
- Your current revenue
- Market and industry you are in
- Competitive environment
- The details of your branding project manager
- Links to your website and social media accounts
This opening section will help your potential partner agencies understand what your business is all about and create a more tailored bid.
Explain your current branding challenges
The second step in your RFP should provide the reasons why your business needs branding agency services. Try creating a list of branding aspects you think need improving. These aspects can be:
- Brand positioning – your brand position doesn’t target the right audience.
- Brand differentiation – your brand doesn’t stand out from the competition.
- Brand messaging – your audience is not sure what your business is all about.
- Brand authenticity – your search engine optimization (SEO) and digital strategies are not working.
- Brand promises – your customers don’t receive what they expected from your company.
Whatever the reasons behind your need for branding or re-branding, make sure you explain them to the bidding agencies. This will help them know if they are the right agency for you or not.
Ask the right questions
In this part of your RFP, you should include questions that need answers. Those answers will later help you decide on which agency to choose for your branding.
There is no standard RFP questionnaire, but we have designed a list of questions that can help you get a general idea of what you need to ask the bidding agencies:
- What are some industries you have previously worked in?
- Do you have any experience working in our industry?
- Can you provide any case studies?
- Which channels and strategies will you use to achieve our branding goals?
- Do you outsource any parts of your business processes?
- What tools and software do you use?
- When would you expect to see the first results of your branding strategy?
No matter what questions you are going to ask in your RFP, you should always finish with: – “Do you have any questions for us?”
Include a budget scope
Companies are always facing this dilemma: should we share a budget or not?
You might think that sharing your budget will cause the vendors to artificially raise their prices, but in reality, sharing the budget range will ensure your search process results in finding the right agency for the job, and here is why:
- It will save you time evaluating agencies that find your budget too low or (less often) too high.
- The vendors will take you more seriously and will submit a bid that will bring the most value to the proposed budget.
- You will find out if you are asking too much in your scope of work for the desired budget.
Bear in mind that bidding for the RFP requires serious work from your potential partner agencies. You will ask them to prove themselves on so many levels, so it’s only fair to provide them with a budget range they will be working on.
Set the timelines
Your RFP should include the following timelines:
- Start date – when are you going to release your RFP and how. Are you going to send emails directly to hand-selected agencies, design a temporary website for this purpose only, post it as an announcement to a notice board, etc?
- RFP responses time – before you set the deadline for response return, make sure that the vendors have enough time to ask their questions and know how much time they have to submit their proposals. The timeframe between the start date and responses is called “a period of questions.”
- Response evaluation – set the timeframe for reviewing the bidding proposals.
- The selection date – provide the bidding vendors with the date you will make your final decision. Besides informing the selected agency of your choice, make sure you inform the agencies that didn’t make the cut too.
You can also set the time for meetings, conference calls, or vendors’ service demonstrations.
Providing the timelines in your RFP will ensure that the selection process runs smoothly and that everybody involved knows what to do and when.
Whenever you need to outsource any of your business processes, you will need to write a powerful and practical RFP.
Always start by introducing your company and follow with the exact reasons behind your branding RFP.
Make sure you ask the right questions and be transparent with your budget scope to ensure you select the agency that will best suit your needs.
We hope our article helped you understand the importance of an effective branding RFP and, more importantly, provided you with useful tips on how to make your next RFP stand out.