Lancashire seeks creative agency

Marketing Lancashire is calling for creative agencies to help promote the red rose county.

The invitation to tender, outlined below, carries a total budget of £100,000 - but interested parties must act quickly as the deadline for submissions is April 24.

Developing a Strategic Marketing Proposition for Lancashire: Project Brief

Overview The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has made significant progress since it was established in 2011, building a portfolio of major strategic work programmes including:
  • One of the largest Growth Deal allocations in the country, supporting a range of local economic development schemes;
  • The Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, a ten-year programme for jobs and housing growth, supported by major investment in the transport infrastructure;
  • Boost Business Lancashire, a business growth hub supporting thousands of start-ups and small and medium enterprises;
  • Lancashire Enterprise Zone, which is expected to create 6,000 jobs across two sites at Samlesbury and Warton, and extended by the recently announced Blackpool Airport EZ site; and
  • Growing Places, the LEP's £20M investment fund, which has leveraged over £100m in additional private funding, and is supporting the delivery of key developments in Lancashire, and is one of the most successful programmes of this kind.
One of the LEP Board's current priorities is to address the county’s long term under performance in positioning and marketing the Lancashire offer to potential new investors, occupiers and businesses, whilst supporting the effective marketing of the county as one of the UK's leading visitor destinations.

It also aims to enhance understanding of its role and impact among existing businesses and communities within the county. Lancashire has a global track record of innovation and industrial excellence, but in many respects now fails to present a coherent message, a strong identity or clear sense of economic purpose. The LEP is determined to change this in keeping with its ambitions to act as a catalyst for sustainable economic growth.

Although many local businesses and institutions within Lancashire are recognised as leaders and innovators in their fields, Lancashire, as a whole, has failed to promote these successes and systematically leverage key local assets and opportunities with a view to attracting other highly motivated businesses and investors to the area.

Given the significant progress made by the LEP in recent years in establishing Lancashire’s most comprehensive growth strategy, investment framework and delivery programme, which includes initiatives of national significance, it is clear there is a need to enhance the understanding of the LEP’s role and impact with local business communities, sectors and stakeholders.

Lancashire’s economic-base is also one of the largest and most important, in terms of rebalancing the UK economy, but its profile and capabilities are often under-represented in the development of new national policy developments and initiatives. This must be addressed with Lancashire’s role and contribution to new growth approaches such as the Northern Powerhouse better understood and more accurately portrayed.

To date the LEP has not invested heavily in its digital platforms or communications strategy and as a result are in need of a refresh and upgrade. Key initiatives such as Boost Business Lancashire, the City Deal, Growing Places and the Enterprise Zone have or are developing strong identities, and these and other priorities need to be framed in an overarching LEP communications strategy.

There is a requirement to overcome this profile weakness by investing more heavily in communications and PR management to ensure increased positive media coverage for Lancashire by targeting business, sector specific and consumer PR.

This brief from Marketing Lancashire is an invitation for an agency to submit their proposals to deliver a compelling Lancashire narrative and a 12 month media and communications campaign which will be a central part of the next phase of implementing the LEP's strategy in challenging perceptions and preconceptions and in repositioning the county. In brief we are seeking to appoint an agency to deliver:

  • The development of a compelling 'Lancashire story' or economic narrative, clearly setting out a strong identity and sense of place. This will underpin future place marketing and positioning by the LEP and also secure the support of its key partners, including Marketing Lancashire, Lancashire County Council and the county's other local authorities, who will find it sufficiently engaging to be able to deploy it in their own activities. It will also be effective in generating the endorsement and support of the private sector.
  • The requirement for an initial 12-month media and communications campaign, as part of an overarching strategy, to increase awareness of the Lancashire offer amongst key stakeholders and business sectors by employing a range of communication approaches, especially digital channels, appropriate to key target audiences with the potential to invest in or otherwise support Lancashire's growth. The agency(s) will propose and lead the delivery of a strategic campaign employing a range of channels appropriate to the target audiences.
They will work with Marketing Lancashire and the County Council to ensure the campaign is effectively coordinated with other planned activities and channels and to secure the sustainability of any new channels or initiatives that the partner may identify as out-lasting the duration of the contract.

The successful agency will be expected to demonstrate a strong emphasis on research and evaluation. Accordingly, proposals will clearly set out how this work will achieve a strong return on the LEP's investment, delivering on the objectives identified below.

Agencies are invited to tender independently, as a consortium or as a joint venture arrangement to deliver the project. If more than one agency is working together there will need to be clarity in how this will work effectively for the client.

Objectives a) Improve the positioning of Lancashire in a national context and the LEP/Lancashire in a regional context b) Establish a strong and clear economic identity for Lancashire that highlights key attributes and benefits by sector c) Identify key stakeholders and opinion formers regionally and nationally and transform them into supporters and influencers of “brand Lancashire” d) To stimulate interest, enquiries and subsequent inward investment to Lancashire e) Raise the profile of strategic investment opportunities which flow through the LEP f) Deliver a clear, strong identity and sense of place for Lancashire that highlights key attributes and benefits by sector g) Identify the key achievements and messages that best portray the Lancashire story through a multi-channel approach to target audiences h) Develop engagement and closer working relationships with the private sector in communicating a united and proud Lancashire that has a confident and ambitious voice i) Identify a suite of relevant marketing collateral and opportunities to showcase the Lancashire story regionally and nationally j) Develop a long term framework for PR and communications for the LEP/Lancashire

To ensure the above objectives are achieved in a way that is consistent with and supportive of the LEP's strategic economic plans, please refer to relevant strategic documents available through the Lancashire LEP’s website and Lancashire County Council.

Background With a population of 1,462,000, covering 1,200 square miles, Lancashire generates a £23.4 billion economy supporting 600,000 jobs. Lancashire's economy is central, in terms of its scale and capability, to delivering the economic ambitions of the North of England, as articulated via initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse.

The county has a strong and diverse business community that has evolved from its industrial heritage and which is not reliant on any one particular sector or employer. It has built a reputation as a national centre of excellence in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, environmental and energy-related sectors as well as positioning itself to support and deliver key economic development initiatives. Lancashire’s food and drink producers supply a significant percentage of the nation’s food and drink and the county’s visitor economy attracts 63 million visitors per annum, 23 million more visitors than our neighbour the Lake District, with Blackpool still the nation's favourite seaside resort.

A number of leading national and international businesses are successfully operating in Lancashire, with the likes of BAE Systems, Westinghouse, Aircelle, Victrex, Graham & Brown, Leyland Trucks, Merlin Entertainment, Daisy Communications, Thwaites, Beaverbrooks and Booths. With key companies and business clusters benefiting from the excellent transport links with major land, sea and air routes accessible from the region, and boasting one of the UK's best performing superfast broadband networks.

In Lancaster University, UCLAN and Edge Hill University, Lancashire has one of the strongest HEI clusters in the country, each with complementary strengths, which play a key role in improving local economic prospects and driving business innovation.

By targeting Lancashire’s top performing businesses and brands, by listening to the business community and enabling them to be involved in the development process, a clear narrative for Lancashire will evolve that will identify Lancashire’s compelling points of difference as well as nurturing a shared sense of ambition and generating a range of business benefits from the direct association with this powerful promotional story.

The LEP is a private sector led, private/public partnership. The board includes leading figures drawn from across the private sector, academia and local government. In terms of its political and administrative boundaries, Lancashire comprises 12 district authorities, 2 unitary authorities and the county council. The LEP's ability to work effectively across and beyond this diverse partnership is critical to its success.

The LEP is the lead brand behind a number of initiatives with an existing public profile, particularly the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, Lancashire Enterprise Zone and Boost Business Lancashire, and Growing Places investment fund. However, the LEP has not invested significantly in marketing or communications, up to this point, as the primary focus has been on developing the strategic frameworks and delivery programmes required, with the right level of partnership momentum, to advance its priorities. The LEP's limited support in marketing and communications has been provided primarily through the county council and, via Boost Business Lancashire, through a contract with a third party (Freshfield).

Marketing Lancashire is already established as the place marketing organisation for Lancashire and commands strong business and local authority support from across the sub-region. The organisation is designed to play a key role in delivering the LEP’s plans by projecting a strong, confident and ambitious voice for Lancashire encouraging growth and positive economic impact for the area by an increased engagement level with both the public and the private sectors.

The agency(s) will be expected to work with the Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire and Head of Communications of Lancashire County Council, and Director of Economic Development, who will represent the LEP, as the client, in monitoring the delivery of the contract, and they and their teams will engage in key aspects of the selected agency's strategy, both to support its implementation and to secure its future sustainability.

Developing Lancashire's Story Whilst Lancashire has many key strengths, there is both a real and perceived view that its economic success is undermined by a lack of identity. Lancashire is often perceived as fragmented, misunderstood or unknown or to many, not least because:

  • Until recently Lancashire has historically struggled to present itself as one, coherent unit, which recognises its distinctive local strengths
  • Lancashire is often portrayed as a fragmented and complex place, with many claiming and competing to represent its interests and with;
  • Lancashire often viewed as geographically too diverse and peripheral to be relevant to major national and regional growth priorities
  • Lancashire’s failure to punch its economic weight over recent decades, even though it is still the third largest economy in the North of England, is reflected in the area’s uneven performance, in terms of securing new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which is defined by Government as new foreign owned companies (FOCs) locating to Lancashire and/or expanding FOCs already in the area.
The key drivers underpinning success in attracting new FDI include proximity to new markets, the ability to cluster with like-minded businesses and supply chains, access to key skill pools, the density and quality of innovation networks, and the availability of high quality sites and business locations.

However, there is no question that Lancashire has a substantial and competitive offer for those seeking to achieve business growth. It has an array of quality development sites suited to a diverse range of business uses, excellent connectivity in a position at the heart of the UK, four high calibre universities, numerous leading schools and colleges, a wide range of business support led by the LEP’s own offer, and high living standards with many recreational opportunities and areas of outstanding natural beauty on its doorstep.

The development of Lancashire's Story will be a building block for tackling the gap in perception and be designed to:

  • Identify compelling points of difference that enable Lancashire to stand out in a very competitive environment in a macro/strategic context
  • Showcase evidential development of positive progress, recent and ongoing
  • Promote a shared sense of ambition and help to create a climate where things happen
  • Determine who is the 'place' for, what is the 'place' for, why is the 'place' different, what is the ambition of the 'place' and ultimately what is the story of the 'place'
  • Engage with the private sector, who become advocates of the story/place
  • Reduce any misunderstandings about what Lancashire is
  • Facilitate collaboration across the county
  • Portray a professional approach to communicating a clear identity and purpose
The LEP board, key stakeholders in the Lancashire business community and local authorities will need to be engaged as part of the development of the story. Creating a sense of ownership and building advocacy will be important to the approach taken. To help convey the story, it is anticipated the agency(s) will propose the brand architecture and hierarchy and development of a range of core marketing collateral and events to engage with key target audiences.

Media and Communications Strategy The media and communications strategy and initial campaign will harness Lancashire's story and take it directly to key audiences. It will illustrate, with examples, that Lancashire is a dynamic and progressive place with an important role in the country's economic future. The campaign is expected to employ a range of channels to reach key stakeholders. The overarching goal of this initial commission is to project Lancashire’s business and academic success and the area’s strategies for development, investment, learning, leisure as well as its housing and lifestyle offer to both mainstream and specialist audiences.

The agency will be expected to lead the development and implementation of a campaign designed to:

  • Achieve a sustained period of external communications activity to highlight Lancashire's story and generate conversation about it
  • Elevate the profile of key LEP initiatives to demonstrate Lancashire's ambition and ability to deliver
  • Attract interest from relevant parties who may engage in those initiatives
  • Build the reputation nationally and regionally of Lancashire and the LEP as a place for partnership and growth.
Although it is not the main purpose of the campaign to promote the LEP in itself, the impact and role of the LEP should be a recurring theme promoted at all appropriate opportunities.

The LEP's chairman and the Board of Directors are key figureheads for both the LEP and Lancashire, in this context, but the agency will be tasked with identifying additional Lancashire champions as ambassadors/thought leaders.

Equally, the LEP should not be considered an essential element of each activity within the campaign. Lancashire has many high quality businesses, together with their own figureheads and personalities who are strong advocates of Lancashire, which should be the focal point when this contributes to achieving the overall campaign goals. Although the campaign is not politically driven, the partner should be adept at understanding and managing political sensitivities, albeit this will be supported by advice from the client.

Account Management

Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire will be the principal lead “project officer” on this contract with whom the appointed agency will be expected to liaise with. To assist with briefing and knowledge transfer, the agency will be required to meet on a monthly basis with Ruth, although when appropriate this will be via teleconference, and will also be attended by Tim Seamans, Head of Communications and Martin Kelly, Director of Economic Development, at Lancashire County Council.

We are very keen to encourage a strong relationship with the project officer, but importantly we are seeking a proactive and innovative approach from the agency based upon frequent contact and briefings from the nominated officer, and an understanding of how the Lancashire narrative and our key messages are effectively conveyed into specialist media and target audiences.

A campaign inception report shall be prepared by the agency and approved by the project officer within three weeks of appointment. The inception report will set out an outline project plan with key timelines and outputs linked to progressing the brief’s requirements and establish agreed performance criteria against which the plan’s success may be monitored and measured.

The agency will be required to prepare and submit short fortnightly progress reports to the project officer, outlining the tasks and activities which have been undertaken over the preceding two weeks, and confirming tasks, activities and expected outcomes over the following fortnight.


The total budget for the term of the contract, exclusive of VAT but inclusive of all fees, disbursements, other expenses and local travel (ie within Lancashire) is £100,000. It should be noted that the direct, indirect and labour costs associated with the preparation of proposals in connection with this ITT are to be borne by those who are tendering for the contract. Neither Marketing Lancashire nor any of its agents or partners shall be liable for any costs incurred by agencies in responding to this ITT.

Measures of Success and Outcomes Please submit details of how you would measure the success of the Lancashire story and economic narrative as part of your quality submission.

We do not envisage that solely traditional, mainstream communication channels and media will convey our key messages. While conventional metrics will form a part of how the progress and success of the campaign is measured, we will attach importance to projecting key messages into specialist media and thereby accessing new target audiences. For this reason, we are asking you as part of your quality submission to submit details of how you would measure the success over the 12 month period.

Timeframes The proposed immediate timeline for the selection and appointment of the agency to deliver the contract is as follows:

  • Agency to submit proposal by 24 April
  • Agencies shortlisted and advised 30 April
  • Invited for Interview mid May
  • Agency appointed 31 May
  • Inception meeting in early June
  • First progress report to the LEP Board 16 June
Dates other than the proposal submission deadline may vary. Bids will be assessed under the direction of the LEP Chairman, Edwin Booth, by a panel comprising:
  • Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire
  • Tim Seamans, Head of Communications, Lancashire County Council
  • Martin Kelly, Director of Economic Development, Lancashire County Council
In the event that an interview be requested, the above representatives will also form part of the interview panel.

Your Proposal Your proposal should be presented in two parts; quality and financial. Any deviation from the specified structure and content of from these submissions may lead to its disqualification from the tender process. Section 1 - Quality submission A. Company details Please confirm the name of the legal entity tendering for this work, and its company / partnership VAT registration details. B. Disputes Is there any material pending or threatened litigation or other legal proceedings connected with similar projects against your company and/or any of its named supply chain members (sub-contractors) that may affect delivery of a future project? If yes, please give an explanatory statement, limiting your response to fewer than 250 words. Has there been any material litigation or other legal proceedings connected with similar projects against the Applicant and/or any of its named supply chain members (sub-contractors) in the last three years? If yes, please give an explanatory statement, limiting your response to fewer than 250 words. C. Understanding of the brief

Please explain, your understanding of the requirements of the ITT, expanding on the points made in this brief, to include an imaginative and structured methodology for ensuring successful delivery of both elements of the project through conventional and specialist media channels. Consideration should also be given to include:

 An outline project plan with clear timescales, based on work commencing in June 2015  A description of proposed research and insight activities in relation to core activities described in the brief  An overview of the proposed strategy for delivering the Lancashire narrative and the 12 month media and communications campaign  A detailed schedule of costs associated for each of the two elements within the brief  A clear description as to how the impact of these activities would be measured and return on investment demonstrated, including specific outputs and outcomes that serve the objectives described in the brief D. Capabilities and track record Please provide no more than five relevant project examples to illustrate the experience and competencies within both your company and proposed team which will enable you to successfully deliver the brief. Responses should clearly highlight the challenges, approaches and outcomes of each project. E. CVs Please submit CVs of no more than three of the key personnel who will be actively engaged on the contract on a day-to-day basis. Each CV should be no longer than a single side of A4. The CVs should clearly illustrate the particular knowledge and expertise that each team member brings to the contract, and should link into your proposed methodology, opportunities to innovate, and the contact base described above. E. Quality management Either: (i) confirm that your company is currently certified to a relevant quality management system such as ISO9001, or (ii) in fewer than 500 words, explain the quality management procedures which your company applies to client relationship management and delivering its contracts. F. References Please provide the names and contact details of two client referees who we may contact in connection with the tendering process, ensuring that referees are aware of the tendering process and are content to be contacted directly by the Marketing Lancashire without prior notice. The client referees should relate to projects of a similar nature and scope as this tender.

Section 2 - Financial Submission A. Financial Standing You are requested to submit your statutory end of year accounts for the three most recent financial periods for which fully audited accounts are available. Should the tendering company be part of a larger group please repeat the information for the ultimate holding company. Please note that Marketing Lancashire reserves the option to request a full copy of your annual accounts for the three periods requested. Marketing Lancashire may exclude applicants who cannot demonstrate sound financial standing. B. Fee proposal Tender evaluation criteria Linking into the methodology described in Section 1 of your quality submission, please provide a comprehensive breakdown of anticipated costs for each of the 2 elements of the brief i.e. the Lancashire narrative and the 12 month media and communications campaign. The contract will be awarded on the basis of value for money; proposed approach and outcomes; knowledge, experience and references, assurance of service levels, relationship management and addressing all elements of the brief. C. Tender evaluation criteria The contract will be awarded on the basis of value for money; proposed approach and outcomes; knowledge, experience and references, assurance of service levels, relationship management and addressing all elements of the brief.

Tender submissions should be sent to Ruth Connor, Chief Executive Marketing Lancashire, Farington House, Lancashire Enterprise Business Park, Centurion Way, Leyland PR26 6TW by end of business 24th April by hard copy and electronic copy to For any enquiries about the contract please call Ruth on 01772 426450.