Hennepin Theatre Trust Rebrand Launch Campaign

Organization background 

Hennepin Theatre Trust (the Trust), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the Hennepin Theatre District (the District) in downtown Minneapolis and education programs that reach every corner of the state. Our historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming.

Outside our theatres, we connect people to arts and cultural experiences such as the iconic Bob Dylan mural, large-scale banners and live arts and cultural events throughout the District. The Hennepin, our arts and cultural event center, provides affordable event space to nonprofits, community groups and visual and performing artists. Our newest theatre, the Dudley Riggs Theatre, is home of The Brave New Workshop, the nation’s oldest continuously running sketch comedy and improvisation group.

Hennepin Theatre Trust celebrates diversity in all its aspects, ensuring equity and establishing a safe and inclusive environment for all. We continue to examine ourselves and our structures to ensure we are free of bias and inequitable practices. We work to create welcoming spaces that invite people to be their authentic selves.

Hennepin Theatre Trust is a forward-looking organization that is currently in a state of dynamic growth and opportunity. By redeeming the City-issued bonds for Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres last year and welcoming a new President & CEO this summer, Hennepin Theatre Trust is poised to accelerate our work as a major performing arts center in driving the vitality of the Hennepin Theatre District.

As such, Hennepin Theatre Trust is engaging in an organizational-wide rebranding project as well as a website redesign with outside agencies. The projects are currently ongoing and slated to conclude in the early summer of 2024.

Project overview

Following the delivery of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s new brand and website, we seek to launch our new identity in a bold, dynamic way that reflects the future of our organization and our commitment to the community, inspires audiences, increases awareness and drives revenue.

Hennepin Theatre Trust seeks a firm or individual to deliver the following three items, upon selection following this RFP process and the award of the contract:

  1. A plan for a comprehensive marketing campaign to launch the Trust’s new brand identity. The plan should include recommended strategies and estimated costs of implementation. The plan should also include recommendations for measuring the success of the campaign.
  2. Along with the campaign plan, the Trust requests a menu of service options that the firm or individual can execute on behalf of the Trust, as well as the costs of those services. As the Trust has internal public relations and marketing teams, we seek to complement the work of our internal teams with the services of the selected firm or individual.
  3. The Trust also seeks recommendations from the firm or individual on continuing to build awareness after the campaign concludes.

Desired outcomes for campaign

As a result of this project, the following positive outcomes will occur:

  • Hennepin Theatre Trust’s new visual identity makes an impact and is noticed—attracting new audiences, inspiring existing audiences and improving brand recognition.
  • Hennepin Theatre Trust’s programs, venues and communications are brought together visually as one organization, with one unifying message and direction.
  • The project helps cultivate a strong organizational identity and value proposition that the average Minnesotan can articulate.
  • There is an elevated perception of Hennepin Theatre Trust as a nonprofit preforming arts center that drives vitality in downtown Minneapolis, spurs economic growth and is dedicated to the civic agenda.
  • Increased awareness, engagement and revenue from ticket sales and donations in measurable results.

Our audience 

The Trust’s diverse impact on the community and varied programming attracts a broad group of people. They include:

  • ·Primary: Primary audiences include ticket buyers, community leaders, elected officials (local, state and federal) that represent the Trust, program participants (Spotlight Education students, educators, teaching artists, artist cohort members), press, donors, corporate sponsors, job candidates, renters, event planners or other parties searching for an event space.
  • Secondary: Secondary audiences include performance rental agencies, Broadway Across America, friends and family members of Trust program participants.
  • Tertiary: Tertiary audiences of the Trust include the Board of Directors, foundations and philanthropic organizations, Government boards and commissions, elected officials (local, state and federal) that don’t represent the Trust, potential corporate sponsors and partners.

Scope and requirements 

The Trust seeks a firm or individual local to the Twin Cities metro area with extensive experience in marketing and advertising, with experience successfully launching rebranding for similar cultural organizations preferred. The Trust seeks a partner with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, ability and belonging, as well as proven ability to connect with diverse audiences, to ensure that all people in Minnesota know they are welcome and valued in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s mission.

The selected firm will work closely with the Trust’s Director of External Relations in building the comprehensive plan for the rebranding launch and campaign. The firm will be given access to—and is expected to seek input from—Trust staff, leadership, Board members, audiences and stakeholders as needed throughout the project.


$20,000 for the development of the plan; budget for execution of the plan (including implementation and agency fees) to follow.


Eligible respondents must:

  • Have experience providing services similar to those described in the “Scope and requirements” section listed above.
  • Provide qualified personnel who have experience in related projects.
  • Be able to meet project timeline expectations with quality and on or under budget (provided scope remains largely the same).
  • Describe how they support diversity, equity, inclusion, ability and belonging.

Evaluation criteria and proposal format 

We will award the project to the firm or individual that best meets the business objectives listed above. Please address the following points in your proposal:

  • Agency overview:
    • Your mission and organizational values
    • Brief summary of your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Description of services you provide and why you are uniquely qualified
  • Process and approach:
    • Description of how you would approach this project
    • Summary of how you typically work with clients (degree of collaboration, etc.)
  • Schedule:
    • Proposed project schedule
  • List of assumptions
    • List of requirements considered critical to the project’s success
  • Budget:
    • An estimate of the cost for the initiative including your fees
    • Any nonprofit discount or pro bono work
    • Outline of assumptions that go into the costs and describe any services not included in the cost estimate, but are regularly incurred on similar projects
  • Project team:
    • Brief bios and role descriptions of each team member on the project. Include relevant experience.
  • Relevant experience:
    • Two short case studies describing similar projects
    • Three client references
  • A list of any clients that may pose as a conflict of interest

Tentative timeline

The solicitation process for this RFP will proceed according to the schedule below. The Trust reserves the right to revise this schedule or any portion of this RFP by published addendum on the Trust’s website.

  • Publication of RFP: November 21, 2023
  • Q&A Forum: Tuesday, December 12 at 10 a.m. CST. The Trust will hold a 30-minute, virtual meeting for firms who wish to hear more about the rebranding project and ask questions. Please RSVP to: [email protected].
  • Proposal due date and time: Noon on Thursday, January 11, 2024
  • Post-proposal interviews: January 15 through January 26
  • Expected award of contract: January 29
  • Expected brand campaign: Summer 2024

Criteria for selection

  • Experience in launching rebranding campaigns
  • Breadth of connections and knowledge of the Twin Cities market
  • Project approach
  • Total cost
  • Reputation and client references
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, ability and belonging
  • Terms and conditions

Terms of contract

This RFP does not obligate Hennepin Theatre Trust to enter into a contract or award any work, nor does it obligate Hennepin Theatre Trust to pay any expenses related to the preparation and submission of proposals.

The Contract shall commence upon the execution of a contract by the Trust with the Awarded Contractor, with option for renewal at the Trust’s sole discretion. The contract term may not be extended except by amendment signed by the parties.

All prices are subject to negotiation with a Best and Final Offer (BAFO). The Trust may accept or reject any or all proposals and may issue a separate RFP for the services after rejecting some or all of the proposals. The services covered under this provision shall conform to the terms, conditions, specifications and requirements as outlined in the request. Any resulting contract may be amended only upon the issuance of a written amendment showing the revision(s) prior to the services being provided as agreed, approved and signed by both parties.

The Trust will accept only written questions and requests for clarification email to the attention of the personnel below. Inquiries and comments must reference this RFP. Send direct written questions to: [email protected]. Questions submitted to the Trust will be answered within two business days after receipt.

This project brief, and any information supplied by Hennepin Theatre Trust or any of its affiliates in connection with the preparation of a proposal, is confidential. It must not be disclosed, reproduced or used in any way by any agency except for the sole purpose of responding to this project brief. Likewise, all information that vendors provide in proposals and during negotiations, if held, will be regarded as confidential. Hennepin Theatre Trust will not disclose your proposal or interview results to other potential partners at any time without your express written authorization.