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Original article by: Article by DesignRush Last Updated: March 25, 2022
A branding request for proposal (RFP) is an official document that announces a branding project (along with a detailed description and requirements) that's open for bidding to qualified vendors.
When a company needs to create a unique brand identity or successfully rebrand, they usually outsource the services of a professional branding agency instead of resorting to in-house resources. Doing so gives them an outsider’s perspective that can provide valuable insights into how the brand is or will be perceived.
The branding RFP summarizes all the important information about the project in a nicely formatted presentation. A well-organized RFP can grant you competitive proposals and allow you to compare different branding vendors that submit their bids in an RFP response.
The entire RFP process provides an objective framework to select the best provider for your branding project and successfully outsource branding services.
A branding request for proposal is the first step to finding the ideal vendor to deliver a successful branding or rebranding project.
Apart from being a useful tool for eliminating providers that don’t fit the bill, here are some other benefits of creating a branding RFP:
Get the best price for your project: Sending your RFP to various branding agencies will help you get more competitive proposals and therefore, the best price for your upcoming project.
Meticulously compare potential branding providers: This well-structured document will enable you to compare costs, services, portfolio, expertise, capabilities, results, team size and other criteria to select the most suitable agency that can deliver the best branding solution.
Save valuable time and resources: In general, the RFPs follow a very strict format and clear guidelines which will allow your procurement team to save time and energy researching the bidding branding companies.
A branding RFP is much like various RFPs for different services and specializations created by a company looking for potential suppliers. But only this time, it’s for those interested in procuring specialized branding services.
That said, these are the essential components you need to include when creating your branding RFP:
Company information and background
Marketplace and key competitors
Brand Mission, Vision and UVP
Existing branding issues and challenges
Project and RFP process timeline
Each brand RFP should adapt to the procuring firm’s specific business needs and project requirements. However, regardless of the types of services needed, all types of RFPs incorporate a set of steps to ensure an accurate briefing and a consistent RFP process.
These are the 8 essential steps to writing an effective branding RFP:
Start your branding request for proposal by providing accurate and detailed information about your company.
Prospective branding agencies need to discover what your business is all about. Try to provide an exhaustive description of what you do, your product or service offerings and how they address your customers’ needs, how long you have been in the business, what sets your brand apart, what stage you are in your business, etc.
Simply put, your business information summary should include:
A short history about your company
Brand Mission and Vision
Unique value proposition
Business values and goals
Business stage (start-up, industry leader, etc.)
Market and industry
Procurement Officer or Branding Project Manager
Links to your website and social media accounts
This section is about outlining the components you think your brand lacks. Be honest in why you think your branding is failing, from misguided messaging to irrelevance in the marketplace and everything in between.
Dive into aspects like:
Improper brand positioning
No competitive brand differentiation
Inconsistent brand messaging
Lacking brand authenticity
Breaking brand promise
Aim to clearly define the challenges your business is currently struggling with as well as potential issues you predict in the long run. This will help your future agency partner devise a relevant branding solution.
Defining your target audience is imperative for successful branding and it is the foundation for your brand positioning. Your brand audience is the group of consumers that your brand’s offerings are most likely to appeal to.
Share all the available information you have about your target audience in your branding RFP. Experts will use this valuable input as the groundwork for your branding strategy.
Include details about your target audience and their main attributes:
Buying behavior and habits
User Persona/Ideal customer
This is where you make sure the scope of work is clear and to the point. List the specific deliverables for your branding/rebranding project, including:
Social media analytics
Proposed branding/rebranding strategy
Logo design in different formats for multiple channels
Brand style guide:
Color palette and schemes
Other design elements
Brand identity templates:
Ingenious ideas for ad campaigns and marketing collaterals (digital and print)
If your company is struggling with explicitly defining the project deliverables, you may request prospective branding agencies a discovery phase in which branding strategists and designers will help you map out the scope of services needed.
You should also draft in your branding RFP what you expect from an ideal provider. This step will help you shortlist the candidates that meet your particular requirements.
These could be anything from:
Desired working hours and time zone
Expertise working for your niche or similar industries
Relevant work portfolio for your branding goals
A senior-level team of specialists and executive involvement
Willingness to collaborate with other third-party providers like marketing specialists
Availability for regular video calls or live meetings, weekly reports and updates
Flexible payment options or other financial considerations
Additionally, you can ask potential vendors to offer a few references from clients who have employed their services for branding or rebranding, alongside a summary of their project scope and contact information.
This section is dedicated to one of the most important aspects of a thorough branding RFP — communicating your project’s deadlines and the timelines for the entire RFP process.
Make sure to include the dates for:
The start of the project
The duration of your branding project
The separate milestones for different parts of your project
The brand RFP distribution to potential vendors
The interval during which you will accept and review the RFP responses
When you will choose the most suitable branding agencies
When you will announce the winning branding agency
Taking this step is crucial so that your potential list of agency partners can plan accordingly, develop strategies and submit their proposals within your timeframe. Also, try to specify if your proposed deadlines are fixed or flexible.
Include a realistic budget plan in your branding RFP as that will help you receive more accurate responses from vendors. It will also enable them to identify and propose the most important service offerings to help you reach your project goals.
When presenting your budget, be transparent and highlight your openness to negotiations. You may also share any budget constraints that you may have as that will also help you better assess the RFP responses from various providers.
Conclude your document by introducing the contact person for your branding RFP. You can also use this opportunity to reiterate the most pressing deadline for your branding project.
Branding RFP Template is useful for creating your own request for proposal from scratch, because it already contains all the essential fields and questions that just need filling out by the agency.
You can also download your copy of a free branding RFP template to the right on this page.
Here is an example of what a well-rounded Branding RFP Template should contain:
• What kind of branding agency do you seek
• What you want them to do
• When you need it completed
One or two paragraphs that explain who you
are, what you do, where you’re located, and who your target audience is.
Who are your primary competitors?
Why do you want to undertake a rebranding effort?
What are the major threats you face right now?
Where are the opportunities etc.
Share your anticipated budget, range, or not-to-exceed figure