INTRODUCTION

We were thrilled when we received the Maine Technology Institute request for proposal. We have known about MTI for many years and worked with clients who have benefitted from MTI’s grants. It is exciting for us to compete for the chance to be a strategic partner. Thank you for considering Naretiv.

We love Maine: Some of us are transplants to the Pine Tree State; others grew up here. And as entrepreneurs ourselves with backgrounds in journalism, documentary film, marketing, and publishing, we recognize the incredible importance of MTI’s role in the growing and advancing Maine economy. Naretiv began three years ago accessing resources from organizations like MSBA and FAME. Since then, we have been lucky enough to enjoy some great successes here in Maine, and beyond.

All of this means we would love to contribute in any way to the future success of Maine companies, Maine’s economy, and job growth here in Maine. We hope we have an opportunity to help in some way in this endeavor through work with MTI. This proposal is designed to reply in detail to MTIs request for proposal. It unfolds as follows:

  • Naretiv’s background and relevant experience for this project.
  • An introduction to the Naretiv team.
  • Naretiv’s philosophy and process for a project of this nature.
  • Initial thoughts on the MTI audience.
  • Proposal for strategy and implementation of MTI’s 2018 marketing.
  • Timing and pricing.
  • Examples of relevant work.

BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE

Naretiv is a branding, marketing, and public relations agency based in Rockland.

We serve businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits across the state, as well as national brands in Boston and Washington, D.C. This work includes Maine organizations like Maine State Credit Union, the Island Institute, and Bangor Savings Bank — and also big companies outside of Maine like Oracle, one of the world’s most successful software and database companies.

We have extensive experience working with local and statewide nonprofits, quasi-governmental organizations, and municipalities.

The Maine Tourism Association chose Naretiv to work together with them and the Maine Office of Tourism to completely redesign, write, and produce the annual tourism guide to Maine, “Maine Invites You.”

Maine Media Workshops + College, a nonprofit with 2,000 students annually coming from 38 countries and all 50 states, retained Naretiv to manage their marketing efforts which included global print and online advertising campaigns, social media, e-newsletters, print materials, conference materials, and their marques catalog of offerings.

The Island Institute engaged our services to create Waypoints, one of their premiere publications, last year and again in 2018. Waypoints is a data-focused state-of-the-state report that highlights Maine’s successes and struggles in areas like sea-level rise, fisheries, employment, and education. Naretiv worked closely with the institute to organize and curate data, and then visualize the data as infographics to make it accessible to policy makers, thought leaders, and the general Maine public.

The nonprofit Maine State Credit Union — Maine’s largest credit union — chose Naretiv to conduct a full rebranding, and went on to hire Naretiv as their ad agency. This means that we regularly deploy state-wide advertising campaigns on behalf of the credit union to promote specific products and raise awareness of the brand.

We recently began marketing work with the Maine Venture Fund in hopes of helping them invest and contribute to Maine’s economic Maine’s growth. We’ve redesigned their newsletter and are in the process of redesigning their website, among other things.

Naretiv is proudly committed to keeping a significant percentage of our portfolio dedicated to these nonprofits.

THE NARETIV TEAM 

Mark Benjamin

Mark Benjamin

Partner

Mark establishes crisp stories for great institutions large and small, with sharp writing, slogans, and straplines. He brings 20-years of journalism experience in Washington, DC to his brand research, writing, and public relations. Before Naretiv, Mark wrote for TIME, Newsweek, Salon.com, Huffington Post, wire services, and many others. He has consulted for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” and appeared countless times on cable news and NPR. Mark occasionally dreams that he still has hair.

Ari Meil

Ari Meil

Partner

Ari focuses sheer talent and uncompromising perfectionism on fresh design, from iconic logos, to clean websites, and stunning collateral. He is deeply experienced and adept at constructing and deploying online and print advertising. He has extensive experience working successfully with premier Maine-based brands such as LL Bean, Down East Enterprises, Maine Media Workshops, the University of Southern Maine, and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Amanda Murray

Amanda Murray

Assistant Designer

Amanda designs print collateral and websites, and assists with copywriting, editing, research, and video production. She has been a curator with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and a documentary film producer and director with Wicked Delicate Films.

Caleb Lincoln

Caleb Lincoln

New Media Associate

Caleb writes original content for magazine articles, brochures, and other collateral marketing material. He smartly manages Google ad-word campaigns, assists with editing copy, and conducts in-depth market research.

NARETIV PARTNERS AND CONTRACTORS

While we are a relatively small and agile agency, we are also very proud of our ability to perform like a very large firm whenever needed. This means we cultivate a network of highly skilled photographers, filmmakers, and consultants for our various projects. Indeed, we frequently have several teams working for us at any given time. We do not yet know which outside experts we might ask to join us on this project. But some of our outside contractors have included:

Zack Bowen

Photographer

Zack oversees the Knack Factory photography division in Portland. Before his time with Knack Factory, he spent the better part of a decade overseeing the L.L. Bean photo studio, and he oversaw the development of their 15,000-square foot facility in Westbrook.

Suzi Pond

Filmmaker

Suzi is an awarding-winning digital journalist, producer and storyteller. Her journalism background includes staff positions at Boston and Philadelphia magazines, MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. In addition to numerous publications and websites, her work has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Whitney Walker

Advisor and Consultant

Whitney is a consultant who is a senior e-commerce, merchandising, and marketing executive with a record of achievement in apparel merchandising, e-commerce operations, and brand strategy execution. He was recently engaged as interim vice president of e-commerce merchandising & operations at Lands’ End. He is a former vice president of business strategy at Pacific Sunwear, a $1.4 billion retail enterprise, and an associate partner of retail industry strategy practice at IBM Global Business Services.

THE MTI AUDIENCE

We agree with the request for proposal that there is some confusion about what exactly MTI does. This is probably further exacerbated by the “institute” part of MTI’s name. So, we agree with the concept of amplifying the core message of the organization to potential partners, companies, and Mainers in general.

We also note that policymakers of all stripes in Augusta are a key niche audience. We hope to bring new ideas for how to educate those policymakers about MTI’s successes wherever and however it is appropriate to do so. Ideas off the top of our heads include:

  • Google now allows effective, inexpensive targeted messaging aimed at individuals in a physical location. This brings up some interesting ideas for areas of Augusta.
  • We are interested in ideas that may not have been considered before. What if, for example, MTI hosted a discussion about innovation for the gubernatorial candidates hosted by an unassailable moderator? This could provide MTI with a series of communications opportunities.

THE NARETIV PROCESS

We pride ourselves on translating strategic planning into strategic communications. This means understanding the larger strategy of an organization, translating that into a communications plan, and then bringing vibrant creativity to the execution.

In terms of communication, for a long-term contract like this one we typically like to establish a set meeting schedule with a client, preferably in person. This helps all of us keep tabs on our progress and our goals. Some clients also allow us to have some set “office hours” where we work out of their space. It helps us keep up to speed with the organization and understand it in more depth.

We also like to partner with clients to help establish what we should do for our clients, and what we should help our clients do for themselves: Some clients need us to write and produce their newsletter, for example, but only need coaching and help planning from us to conduct effective social media messaging.

1. The development of a fresh strategic marketing and communications strategy that strongly supports MTI’s recent strategic plan.

This will start with Naretiv really getting to know the MTI brand. That means interviews with staff and board, reviews of all previous marketing and communications materials, and in-depth research on MTI’s audiences. Once we feel like we truly understand the brand, the constituents, and the audience, we will draft a high-level strategic communications plan that will articulate precise communications and marketing goals that correlate to the strategic plan. This strategic communications plan will include:

  • A 30,000-foot view of MTI’s communications goals and strategy
  • A communications strategy for 2018
  • 2018 Advertising Plan
  • 2018 Social Media Plan

These plans will lay out guidelines, goals, and tactics for how MTI should best employ its own communications tools: print, broadcast, digital, video, social media assets, promotional materials, trade show exhibits, and more.

2. Establishing and managing MTI’s ongoing marketing and messaging.

Once the strategic communications plan is in place, Naretiv will execute tactics laid out in that plan. Naretiv will administer MTI’s print, broadcast, digital, video, social media assets, promotional materials, trade show exhibits, and more, all in direct pursuit of the new strategy. 

The specifics of Naretiv’s work with respect to ongoing marketing and messaging would include the following:

  • Print advertising: including budget, ad creation, and placement.
  • Production of digital advertising across a variety of platforms, potentially including social media, the Google Display Network, Google search ads, and perhaps a range of cable TV capabilities.
  • Video production, potentially including commercials. While all creative would be covered by this contract, this work would incur additional direct production costs for filmmakers, lighting, editing, and other components.
  • Design of new, on-brand trade show exhibits. This could include assets like 4ftX8ft pull-up displays, signage, booth plan, and specific trade-show materials.
  • Implementation of social media strategy that would direct the timing and suggest the general content of social media posts across chosen platforms.
  • General collateral design. This might include 4-6 4X9 cards, a general brochure, 4-6 posters, business cards, digital letterhead, MTI stickers, envelopes and branded folders.
  • Redesign of e-newsletter and email templates, and implementation of newsletters for the first six months.
  • Development of an annual report.
  • Review of MTI’s website and recommendations of aesthetic, structural, navigation, content, and style changes to better support the marketing strategy.

3. Advertising and public relations campaign.

Once we have established the nuts and bolts of marketing and communications strategy, we would concept and create a targeted ad campaign outside of the normal brand-raising marketing efforts listed above. Naretiv will work closely with MTI to decide on specific goals and targeting for this campaign, and then pitch concepts that dovetail with all the strategy and plans already in place.

Picture a distinct concept that we could deploy across all media for a finite period of time that communicates a strong message to a few important audiences. Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” or “Five Dollar Foot Long.” The campaign doesn’t have to be big, it can be tailored to any size budget. But it should be attention grabbing and unusual enough to get people noticing and talking about it.

A campaign like this often centers around one strong concept. It could include anything from print and online advertising, social media posts and video, mailings, and more.

TIMING AND PRICE

We suggest that MTI and Naretiv enter into a 12- month contract for $50,000, payable in equal monthly installments. The cost of advertising in publications and online, the creation of video and photo content, and all printing would not be included in this fee.

CONCLUSION

We hope this proposal is a thorough response to your request. We would be happy to answer questions at any time, so please reach out. We certainly hope we will have the opportunity to chat more with you about MTI’s exciting trajectory. And thank you again for considering Naretiv.

Jason Miller

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Andrea Flow

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Jack Cold

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Tom Pattr

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Tom Pattr

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Jack Cold

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