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RFP: Graphic Design, Creative and Strategic Communications Services Needed

The New Orleans Business Alliance is looking for creative marketing and design experts to help us grow the New Orleans economy.

The local public/private economic development organization plans to engage a full-service marketing agency or full-service virtual agency to assist with creative services and strategy. Together, we will execute key marketing deliverables for both short-term and long-term projects to meet strategic goals.

The consultant(s) will work directly with NOLABA leadership to develop and execute specific marketing/creative initiatives that align with the organization’s intentional, inclusive strategy.

Please see the attached Request For Proposal.

All RFPs are due by close of business on November 12, 2018. Direct all questions to Morgan Stewart, mstewart@nolaba.org.

Independent Contractor(s) Marketing and Consulting Services

thumbnail of RFP Marketing & Comm

As we receive questions from interested respondents, we will post them here.

Questions and Answers:


  • Are you looking for a heavy focus on media relations and traditional ad buying?
    • NOLABA has an experienced media relations team, but a small percentage of the winning team’s time would be expected to provide strategic input and assistance. In addition, NOLABA expects a modest budget for strategically-placed traditional advertising, but in the overall scheme, while this represents an important component of the overall strategy, it realistically represents a smaller percentage of time than a traditional media buying strategy.


  • What is the budget for the services provided?
    • We have a budget for reasonably priced, non-profit rates, for a year or more. We are not revealing details at this time.
  • Do you have any research that exists now that they may be able to share?
    • Some brand comparisons. Not sure of your context.
  • You reference a website redesign. What are some of the goals (conversions) they are looking for in a website? Will it need to process transactions (donations) or will it simply be an information portal? 
    • Overall, the website (as per our entire effort on the whole) must play an important role in marketing the city and attracting new business investment and job creation, while helping local businesses grow through the tools we provide. The ultimate conversion would be new jobs, business investments, local business growth, local small business growth, and higher earning opportunities for local residents. On that front, a critical conversion would be calls or inquiries from business leaders or brokers interested in bringing new jobs and investments to New Orleans. We must be successful in promoting resources to help our local small businesses, including a special focus on entrepreneurs of color, to develop and grow their businesses. Also, we must be a resource for redeveloping the Claiborne Corridor and other underserved neighborhoods. And, we must be successful in attracting citizens to our programs that can better their economic security through workforce/talent development.
    • Other website conversions like processing donations would be ideal. Most of the remaining “conversions” would be e-mail addresses, social followers, event management, form submissions (for events or business tools), etc.
    • Please confirm you’re not looking for a rebuild (design, programming) but are looking for some brainstorming / ideation about potential changes that could be made.
      • We currently use a website developer that many local marketing agencies use. We are not envisioning a new developer, nor are we looking for the agency to perform the programming. We are confirming that we are looking for brainstorming/ideation and messaging based on research and brand audits.
      • The winning firm must have an understanding and be able to help us develop and execute a data driven strategy (SEO, key word focused messaging, etc.) in addition to a beautiful, intuitive website.
  • Do you have an email database? If so, are you currently using it? What program do you use, i.e. MailChimp, Emma?
    • Yes. Mailchimp. We use it for announcements, and a semi-monthly newsletter.
  • Can you provide additional details on the following elements:
    • PowerPoint presentation design – How many do you anticipate needing designed throughout the year? Can this be a shell that will be updated by NOLABA throughout the year? Or will you need assistance with copywriting? 
      • We generally use a shell / template that can be updated by our staff. However, as an economic developer, you can imagine that there will be times in which a specially-designed presentation is needed for a) a potential project (business interested in moving to or expanding in NOLA) or b) special event with special partners.
    • Creative for Dept Specific Projects, Digital Products – What are you referring to?
      • Social media ads, digital ads for websites, e-mail products, logos designed for special products, “buttons” that lead website visitors to key pages.
    • Creative for Dept Specific Projects, Brochures – How many brochures are you envisioning? What is the purpose of the brochures? Will printing need to be assumed within the total budget? 
      • Printing is a separate cost.
      • We publish an annual report, and create brochures to promote the city overall as a business location, promote specific business assets (port, rail, office buildings, quality of life), sections of the city, tax incentives and/or business growth tools NOLABA develops (small business information tools, for instance), strategic neighborhood development and workforce development programs.
    • Creative for Dept Specific Projects, Signage – What type of signage are you referring to?
      • Examples would be signage displayed on site for the Economic Development Ambassadors Programs (our version of NORLI or Leadership Jefferson), or the upcoming BioMedical District Conference, or our New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge and Finale.
    • Creative for Dept Specific Projects, Creative products, etc. – We would need some additional detail here to determine what would need to be included.
      • Each year we attend key conferences that connect us to business leaders, decision makers and consultants that have led to our successful recruitment of retailers to NOLA. At this type of conference, we use a 1st class booth to meet with decision makers and market the city. We also are developing small business growth tools that will require print and digital marketing products (brochures and website “buttons” or ads).
  • Have you placed any traditional and digital media in the past? If so, what have you liked? Disliked?
    • We recently placed traditional advertising based on a standing commitment, and a high-profile event. And intend to do so again where appropriate, but with a limited budget. We like the exposure, need to hone our reach, and determine the appropriate targets and markets. The same goes for digital.
    • New Orleans is open for business. How best do we convey that message (and with what message through what channels and which markets)?
  • What does your team structure look like? How much are you planning to rely on an agency partner for implementation of a plan? How much will be handled internally?
    • Morgan Stewart, VP, marketing and communications, handles strategy, policies and procedures, department management, media relations and is mildly digitally capable. He has 30 years corporate marketing and communications experience with two Fortune 500s, including economic development experience with the governor of Virginia.
    • Dana Alsen, manager, marketing and communications, is our digital star in both practice/production and strategy. She manages all aspects of key projects.
    • We work to successfully implement inclusive economic development and deliver economic security for all New Orleanians. To be successful, we are and expect to be very active. However, we need to be intentional in our activity and result-oriented…with the measurements to back up our work.
    • We will want the agency to help us determine the best strategy based on research and experience designing the best messages. We also want assistance creating a plan to execute that strategy and assistance in executing it. That said, we expect the largest percentage of work over the course of the contract to be the creative piece (graphic design for traditional and digital products). We expect to manage much of the digital/social messaging execution in-house (i.e. scheduling posts), but fully expect to need occasional assistance with execution. We expect some assistance in content creation, messaging and SEO. We expect some issues to pop up be they marketing opportunities, crisis communications, unexpected opportunities to market our successes, or messaging (earned media or content on other channels).


  • Is this a public bid, or invite only?
    • We sent this out to 34 local agencies large and small (including 11 DBE or minority-owned firms). In that total number, we included a handful of specialists that may want to consider putting together a virtual team. We’ve already had a couple, large and small, decline.
  • How many respondents are you anticipating?
    • No idea.
  • Are you holding interviews / Q&A before receiving responses?
    • We will happily answer any questions. Prefer to respond to written questions for consistency.
  • Do you have a fixed / maximum budget / range yet for this project?
    • Basically, we have some room to maneuver but we aren’t ready to publish that.
  • Is this something that is definitely happening, or are you just collecting information at this juncture?
    • Yes, we recently lost our graphic designer and other strategic help.
  • What does the approval process look like for the RFP and how will your decisions be weighted?
    • A team here will review the responses and we will bring in our top choices for interviews/presentations. Decisions will be weighted by the following: branding creativity, strategy design and measurable results. Also, knowledge / understanding / experience of / with our mission as an economic development organization; samples of your work; your DBE designation or DBE participation; and, budget/cost.
  • When is your anticipated date to sign contracts and kick off?
    • If we could do it tomorrow we would, but realistically we would expect Jan. 1. If we can get started sooner, we’re all for it.
1250 Poydras St., Suite 2150
New Orleans, LA 70113
info@nolaba.org | 504.934.4500