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Centralina Economic Development Issues Marketing RFP

The Centralina Economic Development Commission (CEDC) is initiating a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for an agency to plan, execute, and deliver a new design for a web-based communications and marketing platform. This website will include interactive access to the 2017-2022 Prosperity for Greater Charlotte Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) with related community data and economic analyses of the nine county Centralina EDD Region. The engagement will also update the brand and mission statement of the Centralina Economic Development Commission in support of the new web portal asset.

The goal of the website design project is to offer a value-added web experience for all stakeholders that will also increase CEDC corporate visibility, value, and brand recognition. The final product should be a cutting-edge website to attract and support decision makers by delivering quality, up-to-date strategic data and benchmarking while providing excellent information delivery, interaction, and keeping visitors coming back for more.

Background:

Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG) is a State of North Carolina regional organization representing a nine-county area that includes Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union. CCOG is the second largest of 16 regional councils in the State of North Carolina and works with local governments, state, and federal agencies to meet the region’s needs on a wide range of governance issues, including, local and regional land use, environmental and transportation planning and administration, aging and workforce services, and economic and program development.

The CEDC was formed to serve as the local U.S. Commerce EDA designated Economic Development District (EDD) for the nine-county region to maintain eligibility for grants from the EDA and other federal and state sources. The CEDC also has the responsibility as the local EDD to create, manage and implement the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) initiated in 2004, renewed in 2007, 2012, and most recently 2017 in the series of required five-year updates.

Home to over 2.43 million people, Greater Charlotte MSA is among the nation’s fastest-growing mid-sized metropolitan regions composed of closely interrelated sub-regions that act together as a single globally competitive unit. Strategic growth is advanced within a multitude of exemplary organizations that exist on the individual county Economic Development Corporation level. These entities participate as a region within the overarching “Charlotte USA”, Charlotte Regional Partnership. The private sector business, public, state and municipal support has advanced the Charlotte brand and industry recruitment success on a national and international scale. The City of Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Chambers of the surrounding counties, cities and towns have played major roles in the success of the region’s economic health as well as the national recognition of the attractive high-ranking quality of life.

The CEDC EDD nine-county geographic area is identical to the Centralina Council of Governments’ North Carolina Region “F” service boundary. The CEDS analyzed the EDD’s current economy and proposed short and long-term strategies to support the retention and expansion of existing businesses, attract new business investment and create jobs, and grow employment across all sectors, supporting a diversified, expanding and sustainable economy.

The Centralina CEDS was incorporated into the North Carolina consolidated economic planning initiative, NC TOMORROW, a NC Department of Commerce sponsored program to develop a uniform statewide economic development collaborative plan. Under this program, all 16 North Carolina Councils of Governments prepare their local CEDS plans that are inclusive of four overarching strategic goals to allow a uniform process and structure for a statewide framework of the plans that will consolidate alignment of all 16 NC COG CEDS under a combined set of EDA, HUD and National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) priorities and principles.

The Centralina Economic Development commission and Centralina Council of Governments has developed a robust repository of economic, transportation, workforce, and community data that local leaders need to understand to make informed economic development decisions. The general public is more actively involved in local economic development issues than ever before and with new elected leadership continuing to change in 2 to 4-year term cycles, a modern and current platform for continuously updated and relevant strategic information consumption is mandated.

Given this significant turnover in regional leadership, and growing expectation among policymakers for information to be concise, visual, actionable, and useful, there is a growing need to translate existing data and information into a new type of integrated communication platform that will meet today’s needs. At the same time, there exists an opportunity to innovate the integration of collaborative data (economic, workforce, community) and plans to help identify new project opportunities and gaps that link to the CEDS and thus can be addressed and advanced as they evolve in real time. This would make the CEDS a much more powerful and valuable tool for regional use in approaching future economic realities.

Scope of Work:

The final rebranded website will integrate data content and area analysis from the new Centralina CEDS, but the consultant must develop additional counties reports with regional workforce, education, housing, transportation, and targeted industries data. The metrics will enable board members, the public, and appointed and elected officials to effectively and efficient find and evaluate information to inform future policy options supporting a more sustainable and resilient Greater Charlotte Region.

The final scope of services to be provided by the selected Consultant will be developed in partnership with the CEDC Board and partners. The scope may include the following elements:

1) Development of a Comprehensive Web Communication Platform

  1. Visually Rebrand Web and Communications Materials
  2. Identify and Orient Outreach Channels

iii. Reorganize Information

  1. Map and understand what information
  2. Research and Residual Plans Asset
  3. CEDS Plan Interactive Web Presentation
  4. Data Dashboards of following four Core Goal areas and Performance Metrics
  5. Infrastructure (includes Housing)
  6. Quality of Life
  7. Business & Innovation
  8. Workforce
  9. Connections to external research, practices and funding

vii. Communicating the value

  1. Creating the value-add through the platform

2) Creation of a Web-Based Outreach and Marketing Support Plan

Develop a web portal program that services the economic development stakeholder community recognizing today’s reality that dependencies require cross sector collaboration and the Charlotte region is a complex system with various subsystems. Because the “process” is as important as the “finished product”, stakeholder engagement is essential to success. To reach the goal of delivering an asset to support a globally competitive, locally vibrant and resilient Charlotte region of communities, the following steps should be included as part of the product creation:

  1. Stakeholder Interviews: Interview key stakeholders, including council\commission members, civic\chamber leaders, economic developers and key public officials to understand the various priorities, projects, issues and resources that are crucial to monitoring the economic growth of the region.
  2. Program development: Outline and present the 4 primary CEDS economic development goals as the foundational framework which also allows future additions based on new industry trends, new programs, additional partner organizations or additional funding opportunities.

iii. Metrics: Determine what metrics should be used to measure the effectiveness of the Economic Development Strategy’s implementation. Identify specific data points and data sources.

3) Website Functionality Requirements

  1. Content Management System (CMS) -‐ The website must be built on a content management system that allows for all areas of the site (webpages, images, blogs, forms, etc.) to be easily updated.
  2. Responsive Design -‐ The website must be responsive, so that it seamlessly adjusts to fit desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

iii. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) -‐ The CMS must include the ability to alter title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, and headers. The site must be built to be easily crawled by search engines.

  1. Social media Integration -‐ The site should include the ability for web content to be shared to social media networks. The organization’s social media networks must be linked to the website to allow for easy “follows.”

DELIVERABLES:

Task A: Centralina EDD\CEDS Web Update: The project deliverable will be an updated website and communications platform for the Centralina Economic Development Commission and the Prosperity for Greater Charlotte CEDS. Included is interactive CEDS web experience with specific data dashboards for coverage of the EDD Region and the individual nine NC counties of the District. The website shall be dynamic, rich in data and communicate the most up-to-date information and regional benchmarks in graphic form and also serve as multi-point portal for all CEDC activities.

Task B: Web-based Economic Strategy Outreach and Marketing Plan: Alignment and incorporation of all findings and work products into an interactive web portal information asset that serves as a CEDS based implementation resource for regional economic strategic plans and initiatives. Provide a concise and focus-driven tag line and mission statement for the CEDC.

Due Date:

July 31st

Address:

Centralina Economic Development Commission

9815 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100

North Carolina, NC 28262

Agencies to consider should include APCO Worldwide and Ruder Finn.

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