Branding · Consulting

Tips on writing a brand architecture RFP?

Stephen Johnston Building innovation ecosystems

October 25th, 2014

Looking for advice and tips for how to write a brief for a rebranding / brand architecture exercise to bring alignment to an increasing number of sub brands under our master brand. Examples of design briefs would be much appreciated, 

Also, if you have recommended agencies or consultants, would like to hear them. Experience in connecting tech with people / health care topics would be preferred. Bay Area would be nice as we're here, but not essential.  

Randy Wise Business and Marketing Leader | Customer Experience and CRM Expert | Solution Builder

October 26th, 2014

Is it brand strategy development or brand strategy implementation that you seek?  Approach and related services (agencies/consultants) will differ accordingly. 

Strategic considerations include validation, clarification and amplification of master brand ‘promise’, making sure to define how it manifests as a complete brand experience, and the framework for leveraging that master brand throughout the enterprise (brand architecture, rationale for sub-brands and product names, etc.).

Considerations for implementation are different in that they are informed by the above brand strategy and include identity development (tone, look, logo, etc.), actual sub-brand and product naming, internal training to drive desired brand experience, etc.  Implementation can also begin to address the ‘go-to-market’ aspects which include brand promotion and rollout of new brand elements across all facets.

Given these definitions, my recommendation is to be clear on your objectives first.  Then the RFP is fairly straight forward.  Being clear on what you want is the most important element of the RFP.

David Ph.D. Brand Strategist, Consultant to Tech, Energy, Financial Services, Hospitality

May 7th, 2015

Hi Stephen,

I'd divide the task into two separate asks:
  • Portfolio strategy should be linked to business strategy and built on defensible differentiators. 
  • Design briefs come once you have portfolio clarity They should be linked to the job the creative has to do to be effective. (The best design briefs focus on the job the creative has to do.)
The brief for portfolio strategy isn't that different from a good white paper. Provide a brief overview of the company. Outline the brands in your current portfolio along with your strongest known competitors and any competitive insight you have on them, on your consumers, on why you win when you do and and why you don't when you don't.  Outline the problem with this current structure. Provide whatever guidance you can about budget, timing, KPIs. 

The brief for design is similar but assumes that the strategy and positioning are sorted out and that the project is "design and align." Give a brief cut through the brands, their market stance (from above) the design thinking behind them (if any). What this should do is articulate the problem each portfolio element needs to solve, but take it a step further and make that explicit. 

Happy to discuss if you'd like. 



October 27th, 2014

You do not own your brand.
It’s not your logo or your tagline or who you say you are.
Your brand is a perception in your customer’s mind.

The good news is you can help shape their perception through stories. 
Scot Bedbury said, 'A great brand is a story that’s never completely told'

          You can tell your story on your
                        - web site
                        - in client testimonials
                        - your bio - it’s not your resume, it’s your story
                - on social media
                        - in blogs
                        - press coverage
                        - community engagement

People remember and relate to stories, not statistics.

Mark Lewis Product & Innovations Practice Lead at Slalom Consulting

October 29th, 2014

Stephen You may have already received a lot of advice on your request, but I want to offer assistance as I have been a brand strategist for the last 15 years. My advice is to make your brief just that, brief. The key sections should be: a) Business background b) Your strategic business/brand problem c) What you are asking for I'm happy to chat further about the specifics of the brief if you would like. 

Michael Kitson Creates disruptive commercially viable products using latest material advancements

May 6th, 2015

Consumer product channels are breaking down quickly.  Why deal through a mass merchant or even a small retailer when they confuse the manufacturer with something called a "Bank" (Exception Costco).  Where their profit margins only reduce value and significantly increase your risk.  There is no room for agents, distributors or wholesalers.  Do that yourself wherever possible.  The only advantage of a mass merchant is volume.  Go direct.  Go to the end user.  By going direct you can build Brand.  The other plus is that everything on the web is totally measurable.  You know exactly the ROI of advertising on the web.  No other medium can come close. 

Having said the above you need a Branding guru to plot the storyline.  Help create the perceived values of the products.  Test and retest.  Suggest Brand improvements.  Let your enduser dictate future products.  Hopefully this helps.  Disagree? let me know.

Sophie Halliot COO & Co-founder at LiPP

May 7th, 2015

Could you tell us more about your business? How developed you are? Why do you need a brand architecture? It would help to tailor the answer

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

September 12th, 2016

Marketing efforts do not follow well in an RFP format. What you need to write is a Creative Brief, and this will give any agency you approach the information necessary to develop comps or a pitch, whichever you are seeking. Since you're combining multiple sub-brands, the creative brief may need to be quite detailed.

Three things your agency should be able to answer to your satisfaction:
1) what are the opportunities I'm missing
2) why are my efforts today not bringing the results I desire
3) where do I stand in my industry

Some of this will come from what you're sharing with the prospective agencies, but anyone you have to teach your industry to is not the right agency for you.

You should expect to pay for comps, but discussing the opportunity initially should be on credit. Unless you intend to stand over their shoulder while graphical adjustments are made, it's not a requirement that your agency be local, though an in-person meeting can move things along more quickly when you're developing materials. Otherwise a video meeting or teleconference with screen sharing is sufficient in most cases.