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RFPs

Is the ‘Client/Partner’ Label Spin or a Serious Definition?

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If you work with new business pitches for any amount of time, you will see one of the hidden mysteries of PR pitching unfold in a matter of minutes: how an agency transforms from a vendor to a “trusted partner.”

This is the magical moment when PR agencies are no longer looked at as “hired guns,” but rather “extensions of the marketing team to help reach a common goal.” This is when value of opinion becomes a thing. This is when execution of big ideas become a thing. And this is when your retainer is no longer “a thing.”

Shouldn’t the same happen for clients from the agency perspective? And if so (and it really should, in case you’re wondering), when is that moment?

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Check These Boxes Before Issuing Your RFP

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Today we bring you a guest post from Tim Munroe, VP of business development at Boston’s Pan Communications, concerning the dreaded RFP–and some tips on how to make the process a more valuable experience for all involved.

Over my 20 years in public relations, I have seen many requests for proposals (RFPs) from companies seeking agency services. Candidly, most RFPs are simply boilerplate, copy and pasted and with little to no tailoring to a company’s specific PR needs.  Some are well designed; many are not.

Most RFPs don’t ask the right questions or supply the right information for responding PR agencies.   What’s worse: many of the PR RFP questions provide no real chance for PR firms to distinguish themselves from each other. That’s whole point of the RFP exercise in the first place, right? Find the differences in agencies and select the one that best suits your needs.  For the most part, RFPs often are watered down attempts to level the playing field for agencies, but do nothing to winnow down the field of responding firms.

Here are some thoughts on how to change this copy & paste approach and create a better RFP when looking for a PR agency.

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Something for Your Favorite Flack’s Christmas List: the Ostrich Pillow

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We have all been here. It’s a late night cramming for that huge RFP. The team just isn’t collaborating the way they should, arguing about page numbers on the proposal or something stupid like that. You can’t keep your eyes open and need to crash.

Have no fear, kids. Introducing the Ostrich Pillow.

Bringing sexy back, huh? Just yesterday, we opined about HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan’s advocacy to take naps on the job. Whelp, guess what said major domo should find in his Christmas stocking by that certain office brown noser?

Thanks to the story by Mashable, we discovered these options for the desk sloth:

The thoughtfully designed pillow has four holes: two for your arms, one for breathing from your nose and mouth, and one for your neck. It’s available in three colors: sleepy blue, sunset siesta and mellow yellow.

And then there’s this. Click on the story for another delightful picture that resembles someone who got caught cramming her head into the ass end of a Thanksgiving turkey. MEMO to Ostrich Pillow owners: Take the thing off before you look up to discover your picture being taken for Facebook.

(Photo via Mashable)

To RFP or not to RFP: What a Friggin’ Question.

RFPsI was trolling through AdAge last week—as is my routine for finding jocular pieces of information—and came across the article “One Small Fix for Broken RFPs: A Little Feedback, Please“ by Mark Simon.

The following was a lovely call out quote for me:

This isn’t about changing your mind or challenging your decision. It’s not an appeals process. All anyone wants is to learn from the experience so they can be smarter next time. Scottish author Samuel Smiles said, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than success.” Which is another way of saying: Give it to me straight.

To wit, the church said “AMEN!”

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) — namely, the governmental ones — are the banes of existence for every agency. Don’t get me wrong, they are vital to the economic foundation of most smaller agencies. One RFP can create a retainer that will pay for a year of overhead, but those heads need to get lobbed off and leap through rings of fire to pitch said RFP.

So, given what we know about RFPs and understanding popular opinion, to RFP or not to RFP? Pros and cons after the jump:

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Guest Post: Six Things To Consider When Including Research in Your RFP Response

To stand out against the competition during the RFP process, firms are adding all sorts of services to their proposal offerings, including research. Firms are also making all kinds of promises, some that are difficult or impossible to keep.

Today’s guest post is written by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research Americas, a global research and analysis firm, and author of Unleashing the Power of PR: A Contrarian’s Guide to Marketing and Communication. He looks at the role that research and evaluation can play in the RFP process and how firms can position the research services they plan to provide in their proposals.

Click through to read on.

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You Have Until May 6 To Respond to the AACS RFP

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) is looking for a PR firm to reach “Generation C” and build on its Beauty Changes Lives marketing initiative. They have a spokesperson (hair stylist Ted Gibson) and would like to use traditional and social media to reach audiences with a message encouraging cosmetology education and a better perception of the industry.

The job has a $5,000 monthly retainer budget. Interested? We’ve got the RFP, due May 6 (next Friday) after the jump.

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Volkswagen Seeking PR, Event AORs

Volkswagen of America has issued two RFPs for PR AOR and event AOR reports PRWeek. MWW Group was selected as the company’s first AOR back in 2006 and renewed the contract last year after “a review for a three-year, million-dollar AOR contract,” the story reports.

MWW has declined to participate in the review. “We are very proud of the work that was done for Volkswagen.  Our team won virtually every major industry award including many ‘Best of Show’ honors this year and we consistently exceeded all of the success metrics set by the client,” wrote Michael Kempner, CEO of MWW Group, in an e-mail to PRNewser.

PRWeek reports that the search includes both mid- and large-sized firms and Volkswagen reached out to firms about six weeks ago.

Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans Issues RFP

USACE.jpgThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (sub req’d) in New Orleans has issued an RFP seeking public affairs and community outreach services. The organization is accepting responses by September 8, 2010. Outreach Process Partners has been providing PR services since 2007. Its contract ends next month. The value of this new contract starts at $1.5 million for the first year.

The Army Corps of Engineers is investing billions in the New Orleans levee system, which failed when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Wells Fargo Agency Review in Progress

wells fargo.jpg.bmp Wells Fargo is in the process of reviewing (sub req’d) PR agencies for its Wealth, Brokerage, and Retirement Group.

The RFP is closed and 10 agencies are participating. Wells Fargo has not named the other agencies or given details about budget or timeline for a decision. PRNewser has reached out to the company for further comment.

Welch’s PR RFP Includes Eight Agencies

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Jackie Alosso, Associate Marketing Manager, PR & Advertising at Welch Foods, Inc. just told PRNewser the following in regards to the company’s recently issued PR RFP:

Within the scope of the RFP, there will be a heightened focus on using public relations and health professional partnerships to educate consumers about our inherently healthy and distinctively delicious Concord and Niagara Grapes, grown by our family farmer owners, and our rich heritage as an American brand.

We began speaking with agencies invited to participate in the RFP a couple of weeks ago.

A total of 8 agencies have been invited to participate in the RFP including incumbent Tonic Life Communications, as they are a valued partner.

These agencies are all proven strategic thinkers and results focused with expertise in Health & Nutrition, experience in agriculture and high quality food and beverages, and a sensitivity to co-op and / or family ownership structures.

The agency partner’s overall goal will be to drive and enhance consumer awareness of core message platforms.

RELATED: Welch’s Puts PR Up for Review

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