An RFP for Congress

By Jeff Boedges, Co-Founder of SoHo Experiential

For years, SoHo has been working to help brands deal with baggage. And I’m not talking about the totally stylish, leather-trimmed, Gucci weekend kind of baggage either. I’m talking about the misperception, misunderstanding, price/value disconnect, “that’s-a-brand-for-my-parents” type of baggage. Baggage that is capable of dragging once-great brands down the drain of irrelevance. Over the years, SoHo has been challenged to help brands and categories struggling to reinvent themselves. The challenges these brands faced ran from the early days of whisky (yes, there was a time when you couldn’t give it away, and it wasn’t that long ago) to banking (anyone remember 2008?).

Lately, we’ve started thinking about how the image of a formerly great brand – the USA, has been tarnished by what amounts to bad “brand management.” Accordingly, we thought it would be interesting, and possibly productive, if we just treated our elected officials like clients treat agencies. So as many brands do from time to time, we’ve decided it would be fun to put the “Congressional business,” the whole enchilada, out for bid. I mean who better to create a brief than an agency?!

So without further ado, we humbly present the brief to all the agencies of the world, to replace the United States Congress.

Goal

Select an Agency to replace the existing Agency (Congress) that will manage the Day-to-Day Life Experiences of Americans so that they don’t change brands a.k.a. move to Canada (no offense Canada).

Qualifications

The new Agency must:

  • Be capable of understanding a very diverse Target Consumer set that is constantly changing – Spanish language a plus!
  • Be creative; we have a new set of challenges and throwing the same old ideas against the wall won’t get us where we want to go – think outside the box!
  • Be a team player! Yep, what’s true in the private sector is also true in the public sector, you MUST work with other Agencies to accomplish your goals.
  • Be able to craft an overarching strategy, that can flex to meet the vast majority of target consumers – not just small but vocal minority segments.
  • Be able to tell fact from fiction – a job most agencies should naturally be gifted at given the recurrent necessity to make something out of nothing..
  • Produce positive results and ROI: Solid data is mandatory – Agencies are strongly encouraged to stand by their results – this isn’t grade school and we know there will be learning along the way but don’t just make up results as you go along or blame the other agencies to save your contract.
  • Possess strong work ethic: the new Agency must be willing to work nights, weekends and holidays – this is the big leagues and the job is done only when the job is done.
  • Facebook experience a plus!

Objectives

  • Create an Experience for the Target Consumer that meets both their stated needs; including safety, access to the American dream and free speech. as well as unstated needs like improving the educational system so people can actually understand and thrive in an increasingly complex world.
  • Maintain the brand’s core values – including but not limited to “All men are created equal”, the “separation of Church and State” and of course that whole “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” thing we heard so much of in grade school.
  • “Drive Buzz” about America to the rest of the world; promote that we are an enlightened, empathetic people who care about the planet.
  • Must have an instantly shareable Social Media strategy.

Regions covered

  • The 50 United States and all US Territories except California which does whatever it wants anyway.
  • Must have a basic understanding of geography as demonstrated by successfully locating Russia, China, and the EU powers using Google Earth.
  • A deep understanding that Foreign Policy isn’t going to be effective by use of rhetoric, name calling, or stereotyping – though I do think the Pepsi Challenge as a way of teaching religious tolerance is a great idea!

Agency Philosophy

Please rank the following from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”:

  • When touting the benefits of Democracy, the USA is a brand I always think of first.
  • The USA is a brand I can confidently recommend to friends.
  • While I feel the USA is great already, I feel that it could be greater with more selective approach to its citizenry, I mean customers.
  • The Berlin Wall wasn’t an archaic means of oppressing a people; it was the birthplace of wild postings.
  • The Geneva Convention is where I can get the best deals on Swiss watches while drinking an amazing chocolate latte.
  • Too much choice is a bad thing, it just confuses people, what people want is less customization and less self-determination.

Key Competitors/Conflicts

Any agency that wins the business must be familiar with, and be free of contractual conflicts (non competes) with other competitive Brands:

  • China
  • Russia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Venezuela
  • Pepsi

Previous Experience

  • List any Experience you have Running another Brand/Country
  • May we contact any previous countries about your work?
  • Have any of your other clients suffered a military coup because of your work?

Top Five Clients

  • Give the names of any countries, or clients with GNP as large as a country that you currently service
  • Give the number of years you’ve held the account
  • Please give brief details of what you do on each piece of business by discipline. (E.g. run a Legislative branch via crowdsourcing, made new laws that pushed the envelope, set foreign policy that conveyed the message in a manner relevant to the local populations, run an impeachment proceeding against a federal or Chief Creative Officer, ratified a treaty with a foreign power or competitive agency, run digital media, PR, etc.)

Do you have any of the following policies? 

Answer Y or N for each.

  • Quality Control – Agency finalist will ensure proper execution
  • Disaster Recovery – What do you do when one of your programs is an Epic Fail or you are attacked by a foreign nation?
  • Equality and Diversity – Do you consider yourselves a big-ass wall building kind of agency or one that sees potential in new ways of thinking?
  • Social and Corporate Responsibility – In one Tweet or less, please explain what this means so that even a Gen Xer can get it.
  • Environmental – Do you practice sustainable business practices? Global Warming – scientific fact or marketing hype designed to sell boats?
  • Training – Are you an “Everyone Plays” or a “sink or swim” type?
  • Health and Safety – “Churn and burn” or “Grow from inside”

Budget

  • $3.999 Trillion all-in
  • Don’t let the budget constrain your creativity – Brand USA will attempt to fund ideas that “push the envelope”
  • Point of sale comes from a separate budget

Timing

  • Initial proposals must be received before November 8th, 2016
  • Final decision on the winning agency will be completed by November 9th pending any hanging chads in Florida