Creative tenders cover a range of services such as merchandising, marketing and filmography, to name just a few. While suppliers in other sectors may predominantly bid for places on frameworks, suppliers of creative services are often contracted to complete a specific project over a set period, such as the production of awards for a specific event. This means that regular tendering exercises are often unavoidable for suppliers wanting to work on government contracts or with large private organisations.
The evaluation criteria for creative tenders are split into price and quality elements, with product samples/designs sometimes required to demonstrate quality/competency alongside detailed written responses. The competitiveness of these markets cannot be underestimated, and it is important to prepare a highly detailed, bespoke bid for the contract you are bidding for to maximise your chances of success.
Types of tender questions to expect
Question sets vary depending on the buyer, location, size and nature of contract for creative projects. For instance, social value is an increasingly popular topic in public contract tenders and, whilst not as prevalent, is starting to pervade the private sector as organisations strive to increase their own social value offer via their supply chain. It is therefore important to take time to get to know your buyer and understand what will appeal to them in order to score the most points.
Drawing on our experience of recent submissions in the marketing and creative sector, we have identified common response topics that are often present:
- Case studies to demonstrate your experience and ability to meet requirements. When writing a case study, it is important to quantify exactly what you have done to give a sense of scope/scale, as well as articulating how you did it. Include reference to the size of the contract, scope of work, challenges/resolutions, customer engagement and KPI monitoring. The more detail you include, the stronger this will be, and it also provides an opportunity to showcase your individual image in the creative industry.
- Mobilisation and implementation plan – it is important that your plan aligns with that of the buyer. Make sure dates such as the award date, mobilisation period and start date are cross-referenced to ensure you are reflecting the requirements of the buyer. Where possible, include dates/timelines for key tasks, and assign roles and responsibilities to add an addition layer of credibility and assurance that the plan has been well thought through.
- Innovation – the buyer wants to know what you can bring to this contract to benefit them. Talk about your involvement in pilot schemes, knowledge of emerging products and how you maintain this awareness; how these products could be introduced to the contract you are bidding for; and the potential benefits, such as increased efficiency, better quality= and an increased life cycle.
- Quality control measures – when supplying goods such as branded merchandise in the creative sector, you need to explain how quality will be maintained. This is often something that is second nature, but by breaking it down step by step to demonstrate a comprehensive process, the level of detail will instil confidence.
- Product development and distribution – by maximising the focus on ‘how’ when writing these responses, it will provide evaluators with a clear and logical explanation of your proposed methods. While responses that focus primarily on ‘what’ you will do can meet the requirements, placing a stronger focus on ‘how’ will help the reader to visualise procedures and methodologies in such a way that any perceived risks are mitigated and the benefits of your approaches and selling points become tangible. For example, explaining how suppliers are selected through ethical channels and the processes you will use to monitor their performance will increase the buyer’s confidence in you.
Do not underestimate the importance of design
Unlike many other tenders that follow a standardised format, creative tenders, particularly those for marketing and merchandise, allow your brand and stylistic abilities to be represented in the formatting and presentation of the tender response document itself. It is important that the design embodies your organisation and reflects what you can bring to the contract::
- Where possible, use your own images/photographs to convey a message. Stock images are often generic and easy to spot.
- Do not over-fill the page. Condensing text and images can make it hard for the marker to read. Instead, split the text into manageable paragraphs, and use images, graphs and tables to support your message.
- Research the buyer to ensure your design will appeal specifically to them.
- Ensure your company branding, colours and image are maintained throughout.
- Design can also enhance the readability and impact of case studies and policy documents supplied as part of your bid.
Developing a highly stylised document provides a further opportunity to convey professionalism, added value, competency and commitment, without eating into word counts/page limits. This will often mean the evaluation panel already has a positive impression of your overall bid, before they even read the content.
For more support in completing a creative tender, contact our team today to discuss how we can help.