Syracuse Surge RFP for Communications Plan

Posted on October 30, 2019

Syracuse Surge

CenterState CEO seeks to contract with a firm to manage the development of a public relations and marketing campaign targeting the business community in an effort to engage them in a new city wide initiative, Syracuse Surge.

The proposal should incorporate the development of a strategic communications plan to include all or an appropriate mix of the following: a tactical plan (audience targeting, budgets, schedule), plan execution (message development, graphic design, short video, press materials, web copy, social media posts, etc.) and an evaluation approach.

The winning agency will demonstrate the ability to achieve the following objectives on time and on budget.

  1. Increase awareness and understanding of Syracuse Surge within target audiences.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the problem and plan to engage target audiences in creating a solution.
  3. Develop a strategic communications and community engagement plan including tactics and platforms that support the core messages.
  4. Itemize proposed outputs and deliverables, potentially including branding, a video, website, and other recommended collateral.


Syracuse Surge
CenterState CEO is a partner on a new initiative, Syracuse Surge, an unprecedented series of investments in tech infrastructure that will position Syracuse as one of America’s ‘smartest’ cities and a global leader in the New Economy. Surge was initiated by The City of Syracuse, which, in collaboration with Onondaga County and leading local institutions, is working with New York State to advance Surge to translate imminent economic growth related into shared prosperity among all residents.

A team representing Surge partners has begun to organize baseline communication needs, messaging points, and gather some data and feedback from community partners about the importance and vision for Surge. The Surge Communications team is now ready to enlist a dynamic public relations and marketing firm who understands the importance of engaging diverse stakeholders in a community-wide initiative. 

The overall goal is to educate and establish business buy-in and support for Surge. This project also seeks to broaden civic pride related to Surge as a strategy to bring Syracuse back from economic blight by mobilizing and celebrating its diversity and re-establishing itself as one of the nation’s innovation leaders. Surge also looks to translate messaging to the larger Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions as a recruitment tool to attract tech industry investment and business relocation to Syracuse.

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce, dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. CenterState CEO’s work occurs across four major divisions: Business and Economic Development; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Research Policy and Planning; and Economic Inclusion.

The Economic Inclusion Division at CenterState CEO, formed in 2015, is dedicated to creating thriving communities through increased prosperity for all Central New York residents. To do this work, the Economic Inclusion team convenes and supports partnerships between business and community leadership to address issues of poverty and economic disparity in the region. The work ultimately seeks to translate economic growth into economic opportunity, increased wealth, and improved quality of life within low-income communities.


RFP distributed

October 30, 2019

Questions due

November 5, 2019

Responses to questions posted

November 8, 2019

RFP submissions due

November 18, 2019

Interviews via teleconference begin

Week of November 18, 2019

Selection of agency

December 2, 2019

Begin work

December 2019

Deliver plan

January-February 2020

Deliver collateral and video

March-April 2020

 Scope of Services Required

  • Formalize a communications and community engagement strategy and plan, including tactics and platforms, refined core messaging and proposed outputs and collateral. 
  • Delivery of agreed upon collateral and outputs, potentially including branding, print collateral and video.
  • Consult with the Surge leadership team to ensure the essence of the city, region, and Surge are centered and reflected in product.

The budget for the project is $20,000.  

Application Instructions
Please submit the following materials as part of your RFP. Submissions should be sent in pdf format to Lauren Chyle, Manager of Communication and Collaboration, at, or mailed to Lauren Chyle, CenterState CEO, 115 W. Fayette St. Syracuse, NY 13202. All materials must be received by November 18, 2019.

  1. Executive Summary:
    Please describe your interest in and understanding of the scope of services for this RFP. Provide a brief introduction highlighting why you would be a good partner for Syracuse Surge on this project. Please include all necessary contact information (name, title, company and/or person proposing, address, email and phone number.)
  2. Firm Overview and Company Qualifications:
    Describe your organization’s history, structure, strategy and work.  Focus on your ability to be a good partner on this project. Please include a description of your firm’s diversity values. 
  3. Staffing and Team Qualifications:
    Describe the team that would work on this project, including a list of key team members.  Please provide bios, resumes or materials you think best highlight the strength of the team and why they would be good partners on this project. If your team includes multiple firms, please let us know how long you have worked together and the proposed partnership.  For legal purposes, we will need you to designate one firm as the prime contractor and all others as subcontractors.
  4. Proposed Solution:
    Please tell us how your solution meets and/or exceeds our needs.  Describe how you would deliver the solution outlined in the scope of work.  This section is a critical component of the proposal and should include a detailed description of your work plan and project organization. Be concise and creative. Use graphs, mock-ups, timelines, and links to your work to support your proposed solutions. Ensure that your responses propose a solution to all objectives in the Scope of Work.
  5. Experience/Portfolio:
    Please provide examples of work that demonstrate how you attracted community stakeholders to engage in a community movement. The example can include a visual, film short, and other collateral.
  6. References
  7. Proposed Project Budget



Evaluation of Proposal
Proposals will be evaluated by a team of Syracuse Surge marketing committee members based on effective use of limited budget for this project, experience, recommendations and history of performance, work samples, qualifications, recommended approach and staffing capacity.

Questions Relating to the RFP
All questions concerning this RFP must be submitted in writing via email to Lauren Chyle, Manager of Collaboration & Communication at CenterState CEO, at Questions must be submitted no later than Noon EDT on November 5, 2019. Responses will be sent and posted on November 8, 2019 at No questions will be accepted/responded to after the November 5 deadline. No phone calls please.

Teleconference interviews may be scheduled as part of the review and selection process. Only a select number of the respondents will be asked to participate in interviews. Interviews will be scheduled the week of November 18, after respondents have been notified of selection.


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