»Questions and Answers Relating to the University’s RFP for Public Relations Services

Submitted 2/24/2014

  1. How many estimated agencies/consultants will be submitting proposals?
    a. The RFP was sent to five firms. Other agencies/consultants may discover the RFP online and will be allowed to respond as well.

  2. Under "Web Site/Visitation," will we be working with Chapman's website team on strategy or should we include SEO, web development services as budget item?
    a. The selected firm will work in concert with Chapman’s web team on strategy, SEO, and web engagement, but should not plan to provide SEO/web development services as a budgeted item. The selected firm’s involvement should focus on analysis, input and recommendations.

  3. An electronic version (pdf) of the RFP can be found here


Submitted 3/4/2014

  1. Is the RFP was open to all firms, or are you looking for firms specifically located in your region?
    a. The RFP is open to all interested and qualified firms, although it is likely that more weight will be given to firms located in Southern California or that display strong familiarity with media in Southern California.

  2. Could you clarify the budget range provided in the RFP?
    a. The budget parameters (Option A and Option B) are foundational guidelines and reflect annual allocations. The two-year contract would represent twice those amounts.

  3. Could you clarify what services should be included in proposed budgets?
    aProposed budgets should be comprehensive. Any additional compensation required during the course of the contract would be considered extraneous expenses and would necessitate client pre-approval and an amended contract. 
  4. Given your robust internal marketing staff, how much of the project implementation could this team take on in order to maximize resources as much as possible?
    a. The University’s marketing team is already stretched to accommodate current workloads. Proposals should anticipate that project implementation will be handled primarily by the vendor, although augmented and supported by CU marketing/PR staff when feasible.

Submitted 3/11/2014

  1. What does success look like?
    a. The University conducts surveys of prospective students and their parents every odd-numbered year. Success would translate into measurable awareness among those audiences of science-identified education at Chapman University.

  2. Are there other universities that you feel have been able to successfully achieve similar results?
    a. Yes. Many institutions have made the successful transition from liberal arts college to comprehensive university.

  3. Who do you see as Chapman's new and/or existing competitors related to the University's new focus on the sciences?
    a. Historically, CU has recruited extensively from Southern California, the Bay Area, and the Northwest. Science programs, however, are attracting students from a much wider geographic footprint. Our competitors vary, depending on the specific science program.

  4. There's mention of recent faculty hires with national reputations in their respective fields that will help add credibility and stature.  Can you share the name and background on some of the more well-known new faculty to which this refers?
    a. This information can be gathered from the web sites of our science colleges, from the University’s internal newsletter, or from the University’s award-winning quarterly magazine.

  5. Do you have a multi-year business plan that has specific milestones for the new push into the sciences that you can share?
    a. The University has a five-year strategic plan that can be shared with the vendor ultimately chosen as PR partner. However, Chapman is known for its entrepreneurial and nimble organizational culture. Milestones and business plans are often quite fluid.

  6. Are there desired budget parameters for this engagement?
    a. The RFP includes two optional budget parameters. Those should be considered as guidelines for submitting potential budgets, but should not be limiting factors if a larger budget is considered necessary.

  7. Who are the spokespersons for the university and/or the new sciences effort?
    a. Chancellor Daniele Struppa is a great spokesperson for the University’s expansion into the sciences. President James L. Doti remains the University’s primary voice. Mary Platt, director of communications and media relations, often serves as the University’s spokesperson when responding to media enquiries.

  8. What is your current strategy to drive awareness/media coverage of Chapman University?  What works?  What doesn't work?
    a. Our current strategy relies primarily on purchased advertising in a variety of media in Southern California. The University has historically skewed to print media, but we are working hard to transition to a more electronic-based advertising strategy. For direct-solicitation efforts (recruitment), online has proven most effective. For generating general awareness, a combination of print and out-of-home seems to be garnering the most attention. 

  9. How does the current marketing team work together?
    a. The current team works extremely well together; however, our goal is to create a more integrated and synergistic approach to all our marketing efforts. We haven’t yet achieved that goal.

  10. There’s mention that Chapman has an in-house team. Would this team be involved in execution of the plans that an external agency is developing or will the agency have sole responsibility for execution?
    a. A robust combination of internal and external execution would be preferred.

  11. Can you provide background on the areas of expertise with the current five PR professionals on-staff?
    a. Four of the five have decades of experience in journalism/print writing. Two of those four are focused primarily on producing internal and external publications, both in print and online. The remaining two are more skilled in media relations, with many years of experience in the Southern California market. The fifth member of the team is in a junior role and is at the beginning of his career.

  12. Are you currently working with a PR agency?  And if so, is that agency also responding to this RFP?
    a. Chapman is not currently working with a PR agency.

  13. How will this agency relationship compare to previous agency relationships, if any?  Broader scope? More strategic? More integrated?
    a. We are seeking a strong relationship that provides guidance, assistance and, in some cases, control of public relations opportunities. I anticipate developing a simple strategic plan with the selected agency, and then turning them loose to achieve the goals identified in that plan.

  14. What type of experience and personality are you looking for in your day-to-day lead?
    a. Chapman’s organizational culture is entrepreneurial, nimble, and flexible. That can be both a positive and a negative. We would be looking for a lead who demonstrates flexibility, very strong organizational and project management skills, strong familiarity with Southern California media, a working familiarity with sciences (earth, environmental, health, behavioral, pharm), proven expertise in generating awareness of a new product, and a great sense of humor.

  15. How involved are the actual students in your marketing efforts?
    a. Aside from a handful of student workers, there is very little student involvement in marketing.

  16. Can you describe the level of relationships you have with select SoCal media?
    a. Positive working relationship with most print and television media in SoCal. However, we daily face the challenge of parting the Orange Curtain and getting LA media to cover stories here.

  17. How does Chapman University see the role of social media compared to traditional media?
    a. The University has a strong presence in social media. Our web team redesigned our homepage to acknowledge and reward social media activity. We are currently working with the campus community to generate high-quality social media content worth sharing.

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