Request for Proposal (RFP) Marketing Communications Consultant/Agency for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Date Posted: Feb 12, 2020
Application Deadline: Feb 28, 2020
Start Date: Mar 02, 2020

Salary From: 15k To 25K
Province: Ontario
Region: Metro Toronto Area
City: Toronto
Employee Benefits: N/A
Organization's Field/Discipline: The Arts
Job's focus: Creative & Administrative
Job Type: Requests for Proposals
Career Level: Doesn’t apply

Organization Description

Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre is a leader in providing internationally renowned artistic, educational and recreational programming across a stunning ten-acre site at the heart of Toronto’s waterfront. For more than 45 years, Harbourfront Centre has celebrated the best in Canadian culture and the rich mosaic of cultures from around the world by curating thousands of events annually across its ten-acre site from music festivals to contemporary dance, to craft and design, to sailing lessons. There is something for everyone at Harbourfront Centre, year-round.

Job Description

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (TPP) is seeking proposals from qualified professionals, organizations or teams who are experts in brand communications and strategic communications planning, and who have direct experience working with arts and culture non-profits and institutions. The selected candidate will work closely with TPP’s Marketing & Communications team on a consultancy level to determine points of potential and communications tactics. The project will be three-phased, with required check-ins and approvals before moving to the next phase.
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (TPP) is Canada’s leading non-collecting, public art gallery dedicated exclusively to contemporary visual art from Canada and around the world. It is a vital forum for the advanced artistic culture of our time that offers an exceptional facility and professional support to a diverse group of living artists while engaging equally diverse audiences in their work. The Power Plant fulfills its mandate by generating: exhibitions that represent the range of advanced practice in visual arts; publications that provide in-depth explorations of contemporary art; lectures and symposia that encourage debate and further understanding; interpretive tools that invite visitors to question, explore and reflect upon their experiences; programming that incorporates other areas of culture at their intersection with visual art.
The Power Plant offers numerous opportunities for visitors to engage more deeply with its exhibitions each season through free public programming such as the long-running Sunday Scene series, artist talks, panel discussions, exhibition tours, art-making workshops for kids and youth, film screenings, performances and expanded access programs. TPP also hosts unique and thought-provoking fundraising events including Power Ball and Face to Face.
Located on the Toronto waterfront, The Power Plant offers three exhibition seasons per year, along with innovative programming and initiatives, relevant to its multifaceted audiences, often presented in partnership with other cultural institutions and organizations.


 The selected candidate(s) will work closely with the Marketing and Communications team at The Power Plant, and in consultation with all departments, to develop communications assets as well as a comprehensive and integrated marketing strategy that includes the development of goals, measures, evaluation tools and the identification of resource requirements.
The Power Plant is currently in the midst of a five (5) phase Marketing and Communications Strategy exercise:
  • Phase 1: Research & Insights (complete)
In late 2019,​​TPP drafted and disseminated a comprehensive communications survey to key stakeholders and our wider audience. The results have been collected and summarized for analysis.
  • Phase 2: Market Analysis (complete)
TPP has engaged an external insights firm to conduct data-driven market analysis, resulting in key market profiles.
The Power Plant is looking for an external partner to consult in the development and execution of the following phases (approach is subject to change per the selected proposal). Check-ins, rounds of revisions and approvals should be built into each phase.
  • Phase 3: Communications & Positioning Audit 
The Power Plant is interested in gaining a better understanding of its positioning across markets.
  • Review and analyze all TPP communications, including but not limited to:
  • Social Media (e-blast, visitor surveys, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo)
  • Donor, Member, Sponsor Communications and Outreach
  • Digital Archives (exhibition documentation, virtual tours, video interviews, programming, event documentation, digital ephemera)
  • E-Commerce for Gallery Shop and Ticketed Events
  • Current Website (architecture and hierarchy, ease of navigation, interface/framework, usability by visitors and staff to update content, SEO, SEM)
  • Press Releases
  • Printed Materials (publications, Program Guide, Annual Report, Family
  • Guide, etc.) 
  • Review and analyze organization history, previous research (survey responses, market analysis), additional documents, sub-brands
  • Gather additional information and feedback from key stakeholders
  • Identify and analyze key competitors and peers (local, national, global), including their marketing tactics, brand statements, etc.
Phase 4: Marketing & Communications Strategy Document

In conjunction with the 2019-22 Strategic Plan, TPP is looking to develop and implement a Marketing and Communications Strategy that acts as a guidemap for upcoming years, and strategically aligns all communications. The Marketing & Communications Strategy Document will be developed with the following considerations at top of mind:
  • Alignment with Strategic Plan​: All tactics have relevance to TPP’s core objectives
  • Alignment with Positioning​: All tactics support approved positioning statement
  • Supported, Actionable Strategy​: All tactics are guided by confirmed insights and have potential to translate to measurable enhancements 
The Marketing & Communications Strategy Document will include the following elements (subject to change):
  • Define Communications Objectives & KPIs
  • Define Organizational Challenges
  • Define Target Audiences
  • Define Key Peers & Competitors
  • Define Internal External Communications
  • Brand Persona
  • Brand Tone(s)
  • Positioning Statement
  • “About” Statements (including vision/mission/mandate)
  • Hierarchy for Donor Programs
  • Hierarchy/Language for Education & Public Programming
  • Define Key Tactics (considering accessibility and AODA compliance):
  • Affiliation with Harbourfront Centre
  • Social Media & Influencer Relations Plan
  • Donor, Member & Sponsor Outreach Plan
  • Traditional Media Relations
  • Digital Marketing Plan
  • Traditional Marketing Plan
This phase will require engagement and approvals from key stakeholders, including board members.

Phase 5: Roll-Out

Based on the approved Marketing & Communications Strategy document, the selected candidate would work with the Marketing and Communications team to implement strategic communications across touchpoints.
  • Make recommendations on the seasonal Program Guide, Family Guide and other potential editorial projects
  • Make recommendations for website restructuring and responsive redesign
  • Update language across printed/digital materials to reflect approved communications and hierarchies
  • Update all external communications, making sure they adhere to brand tone
  • Provide recommendations for e-commerce, documentation and archiving best practices
  • Work with the Marketing and Communications team to produce a Request for Proposals for website redesign and development that addresses the communications and digital media needs of TPP, as identified in the Marketing & Communications Strategy document
  • Train in best practices, if required
IV.       BUDGET
The Power Plant is a registered non-profit that relies on the generous support of patrons, donors and members. All pricing should be considerate of this, though the lowest budget is not the primary reason for selecting a bid proposal.
The proposal shall be organized and submitted with the following elements:
In 1,000 words or fewer, tell us why you’re the right partner for The Power Plant. Include your understanding of the project as well as any relevant experience and qualifications that address the needs outlined in this RFP. Comment on any areas that may make your organization different from competitors.
Please provide a brief overview of your organization, including the following:
  • Main contact information
  • History, number of years in business, relevant experience over the past three years
  • Company size, number of employees, employee bios of the team that would work on The Power Plant account
  • Services
 Please attach or provide links to three (3) relevant case studies, including the following information:
  • Client name
  • Date and scope of project
  • Services rendered
  • Any additional pertinent information
Describe in detail how your organization would meet the stated objectives of the RFP. Include any exceptions you take with the outlined deliverables and structure, a detailed description of your proposed methodology including specific planning tasks to achieve each of the outlined objectives, how you plan to engage with stakeholders, a Project Management plan and a timeline for project deliverables.

Additional Info:

  1. FEES
  • Provide a total project fee for the proposed services
  • Provide a project fee breakdown by phase for the proposed services
  • Outline billing and payment expectations, including timing and method of payment
  • Describe any remaining fees not previously detailed in the above, i.e. for ad-hoc services
Please list three (3) relevant professional references. Non-profit/arts projects are preferred. Please include the following:
  • Name, address, website of client organization
  • Main contact’s name, phone number and email address
  • A brief description of the work provided for each
  • Start date and date of completion for each project

Proposals will be evaluated by The Power Plant’s Director, Marketing & Communications Manager and select board members. In-person interviews with selected candidates will be scheduled as part of the review and selection process.
The successful Proponent will be selected based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated expertise and qualifications
  • Understanding of and ability to meet outlined objectives
  • Documented prior experience handling projects of similar scope, specifically with non-profit and arts organizations
  • Budget-consciousness and competitive pricing. The lowest budget will not be the primary reason for selecting a bid proposal
All proposals satisfying the requirements of this RFP will be evaluated to establish which of the providers best fulfills the needs of TPP and this project.
RFP issued 10 February 2020
Questions due 18 February 2020 at 5 PM EST
RFP submissions due 28 February 2020
Review of RFP submissions Week of 2 March 2020
Interview notifications 10 March 2020
Interview sessions Week of 16 March 2020
Selection TBC
Contract review and signing TBC
  1. This RFP in no way commits TPP to award a contract, to pay any costs in preparation of a proposal, or to contract for the goods and/or services offered. TPP reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals received as a result of this request, to negotiate with all qualified providers or to cancel this RFP.
  2. Any proposal may be withdrawn prior to the RFP opening time provided that the request is signed by the authorized representative. No proposal received after the time fixed for the RFP will be considered.
  3. The Power Plant reserves the right to seek supplemental information from any Proponent at any time between the dates of proposal submission and the RFP award. Such information will be limited to clarification or amplification of questions asked in the original proposal.
  4. All materials submitted regarding this RFP become the property of The Power Plant, within the context of the RFP. Any restrictions on the use of data contained within a proposal must be clearly stated in the proposal itself.
  5. Proponents must fully disclose, in writing, on or before the closing date of the RFP, any circumstances of any possible conflict of interest or what could be perceived as a possible conflict of interest if the Proponent were to become a contracting party pursuant to the RFP.
  6. All costs and expenses incurred by the Proponent related to the preparation of the proposal shall be borne by the Proponent. TPP is not liable to pay such costs and expenses or to reimburse or to compensate the Proponent under any circumstances.
  7. The Proponent must clearly and explicitly state whether the bidding entity is or is not a joint venture in accordance with the definition below: A joint venture is an association of two or more parties who combine their money, property, knowledge, skills, time or other resources in a joint business enterprise agreeing to share the profits and the losses and each having some degree of control over the enterprise. If the response to this RFP is made by a joint venture, the Proponent shall describe the precise nature of the joint venture. The Proponent must clearly and explicitly state any third party contracts that the Proponent intends to use throughout the contract if the Proponent were to become a contracting party to TPP pursuant to the RFP. 

The undersigned adheres to the terms and conditions listed above.

How to Apply:

Request for Proposal (RFP)
Marketing Communications Consultant/Agency
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
RFP Issued: 10 February 2020
Deadline for Proposals: 28 February 2020
Proponents must submit their proposal in a PDF format, adhering to all submission requirements, to Jaime Eisen, Marketing & Communications Manager, at​.
Proposals must be received no later than 5 PM on 28 February 2020. Incomplete proposals will not be considered. Please include “Request for Proposal - Marketing Communications” in the subject line.
All questions should be sent to ​​by 18 February 2020 at 5 PM.
Responses will be issued within one (1) business day of receipt.


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