State university systems set to show off their brands

WASHINGTON: Two Southern higher education institutions are seeking an image makeover to overcome a competitive financing environment and show off contributions to their states.

WASHINGTON: Two Southern higher education institutions are seeking an image makeover to overcome a competitive financing environment and show off contributions to their states.  

North Carolina State University is searching for a firm that will help it clarify the school's brand promise to internal and external audiences and improve its position against peers both regionally and nationally, according to the RFP documents. Both are new accounts.

“In an environment of decreased funding and increased competition, we need to ensure that our communications are as strategic and effective as possible,” said Brad Bohlander, associate vice chancellor and CCO at the university. “North Carolina State is a hidden gem.”

The work will include analyzing the university's campus-wide communications structure, collaboration, and effectiveness and providing recommendations for improving buy-in. The winning firm will also be required to vet media relations efforts across campus.

Bohlander said bidders for the account are in the process of pitching budgets. The deadline is September 25.

Meanwhile, the Alabama Community College System Marketing and Branding Committee is looking for a firm to implement an integrated strategic marketing plan and branding campaign to broaden public awareness of the system.

It's “critical” the project conveys a single, unified system message for its 21 community colleges and four technical colleges, according to the RFP.

Once the outreach effort is launched, elected officials, key stakeholders, and industry leaders must recognize the ROI that Alabama's community colleges provide toward the growth and health of the state's workforce and economy.

“This would be a good time to launch a marketing and rebranding [initiative] so those  individuals responsible for allocating funds understand who we are and what we do,” said Janet Kincherlow-Martin, chair of the committee.

The system, which serves about 300,000 individuals each year through a variety of associate and career technical degrees, competes for funding with both K-12 schools and state four-year universities, Martin said.

The winning firm will be asked to launch an advocacy campaign, assist in a system website re-design, and develop a 50th anniversary effort. The deadline is September 21. Like North Carolina State's agency search, the committee is allowing vendors to suggest a budget, Martin said.

Earlier this year, state officials in Iowa released an RFP for a firm to create a campaign highlighting the benefits of its universities. 

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