British Skydiving branding - Invitation to Tender (ITT)

British Parachute Association is rebranding to our new trading name of British Skydiving.

We've issued an open invitation to tender (specification downloadable as a pdf, below) for development of British Skydiving's brand personality and, from that, a visual identity.

The timetable

Please submit completed tenders exactly in accordance with the requirements set out in our tender specification and with 'Branding' in the subject line/title to tender[at] by no later than Wednesday 20 March 2019. We aim to acknowledge receipt of all completed submissions within three working days, so if you tender for the contract and don't receive our acknowlegement, please check with us.

Tenders will be considered by the branding working party of our Communications Committee who will invite shortlisted bidders to come to BPA HQ on Tuesday 9 April 2019 to make a presentation to them.

The branding working party will make their recommendation to the full Committee and thence to Council, to whom the preferred supplier will be invited to present on the evening of Tuesday 30 April 2019 (corrected date)

Questions and answers

Q1: Potential contractors' accounts and company registration details

Section 9.4 of the tender invitation document asks to include appendices of 'your most recent accounts, showing the legal status of your organisation and its registration/incorporation details'. In the case of a limited company, I would understand this to include a link to the appropriate company listing on the Companies House website. As a non-limited company (a sole trader), what information would be required and how would be best to provide it?

A:  A sole trader should submit accounts / information to show that the business is on a firm financial footing and likely to continue as a going concern.


Q2: Can we meet?  

I have been reviewing the call for proposals for the rebrand with interest. The document is very thorough and well put together which is great. However, we like to build relationships with our clients and feel like we can really buy into their goals and objectives. It’s impossible to do this over email. So, I wondered if we would be able to meet?  A proposal takes a fair chunk of time to put together, and while we appreciate this is definitely needed as you need to know what you would be signing up to. We’re certainly happy to do this. But before we commit a large amount of resource and time in producing a beautifully compelling document and hopefully exciting you guys into wanting to work with us… if we were then chosen and we didn’t get on, it would be an awful working relationship.  Would you be happy to have a chemistry meeting before we submit? We’d be happy to come to you and meet some of the team, or you’d be super welcome at our HQ if you’d prefer.

A:  As a third sector not-for-profit, our team includes volunteers such as volunteer Directors (we don’t have any directors on our staff) and Committee Members who are not based here at HQ. I once heard the term ‘distributed network organisation’ which sounds grandiose, but that applies to BPA, albeit that we are a small organisation with key people, though few in number, based all over the UK. However well our staff crew might get on with you and your team, we are but one stakeholder group, and our committees and their members have a distinct and different personality, not least as befits the more formal environment of committee meetings. Therefore, although we can appreciate that what you suggest may be appropriate for a typical commercial company, BPA is not that kind of body. Our type of organisation also means that we take pains to assure a level playing field for all bidders and potential bidders, so to have discussions outside our published procurement process for this work is something we can’t agree to, I’m afraid.


Q3: Is there someone we could call with a few questions?

A:  We prefer questions to be asked questions by email, please. Then, duly anonymised, we’ll post them with our answers on our ITT page - for the benefit of all potential bidders, As we have already started to do. This helps us with our values of openness and transparency.


Q4: Invitation to Tender

Is the initial process just an invitation to tender or is it a creative pitch? Are you requiring actual visual ideas for your new brand for 20 March or just a written tender which details: our company ethos and credentials, itemised costings, brand process/development, plan of work and timelines.  Section 6, stage 1 states the development of three visual identity options for British Skydiving, the three sub-brands and the 60th anniversary identity, then in Section 9 there is no mention of creative/visual options. 

A: Responses to the tender should put forward a compelling, structured, research methodology and process to develop a brand personality for British Skydiving and, from that, a visual identity for the brand that reflects its personality.


Q5:  Invitation to Tender

Are you imagining the visual identities being presented once bidders have been shortlisted or once a preferred supplier has been selected to carry out the work?

A:  The IIT/pitch is to be contracted to develop the brand personality and visual identity, together with the visual identity of the sub-brands including the 60th anniversary identity. We don’t want answers at the pitch. We’re looking for who we appoint to ask the questions and do the legwork to develop our brand personality. At that stage it will be time to get the creative juices flowing to formulate a visual identity (three visual identity options).


Q6: Website

Can we ask how far along in the design process the new website is? This will have an impact on the creative route of the visual identity. 

A: Our web contractors have recently [26 February 2019] asked us for a styling directive - colours, fonts, logos, etc. It’s likely to be ready before our new brand identity.  Some re-skinning may therefore be required once we do get our new brand identity.


Q7: Section 6 - Stage 2

Q7a: In section 6 you list a selection of media/collateral which the new visual identity will be used across. Do you have an audited list of the exact collateral so we can provide fully itemised costings for these?

A:  No, sorry, we don’t have this ourselves. At this stage, we are seeking only to call attention to the range of media and materials in which the new visual identity will be used.

Q7b: For example: Online/social/digital is very broad, are your requirements as simple as Facebook & Twitter assets or do you also require different size web banners, email templates for emailing members etc.

A: The new branding needs to be adaptable to fit a wide array of possible uses in e-newsletters and other digital media.

Q7c: Video: Are you requiring video to be produced within stage 2? If so we would need a detailed scope of the video requirements.

A:  This is up to the successful branding contractor. It may or may not be that a component of the visual identity of the brand is a form-up or form-ups for use in media that offer moving images.

Q7d: Signage: Signage sizes/proportions and how many versions of signs are needed.

A: Again, adaptability is the key. The biggest signs are banners (the kind of size typically used by supermarkets, for example) at our Affiliated Parachute Training Organisations and an aluminium sign on the front of our HQ building.


Q8: Stage 2 - Roll-out 

I have a question about stage 2, where the brand is rolled out to a number of items - and would like to find out more about what’s required at that point please. I appreciate that there are a number of different items required, but we’d need an itemised list of what you need so that we can supply the itemised quote that’s required in response. Can you provide more details on what’s needed at that point please? For example...

A:  We’re not looking for an itemised quote for roll-out, what we need is a brand toolkit of an identity that will work on our various media, physical and digital. Our purpose in the ITT was to highlight the array of different uses and media (from screen to signs to clothing to medals and trophies, and much else) to which we need to apply the branding.


Q9: What’s included when you mention online/digital/social?

We’d need more info on what you’d expect or need at this point please.

A:  An adaptable but consistent branding that works across the social media/digital platforms we’ve cited in our ITT, and others we may yet go on, or have yet to catch on more widely. As a basic example, the BBC is said to have changed its ‘blocks’ logo from slanted to straight because the new version worked better on digital.


Q10: Medals and trophies

I’d guess that for things like medals and trophies, our work would be minimal, so things like that wouldn’t be a major piece of work for us, but would like to confirm on that.

A:  Yes, we have established suppliers of trophies, medals and clothing, etc. All we are saying is that we wouldn’t want our die-stamper, embroiderer or whatever to come back to us and say “Are you having a laugh?  How do you expect us to get THAT on a medal/sweatshirt?”.


Q11: Signage, banners, flags, print etc

Signage, banners, flags, print etc - we’d need a bit more of an itemised list of what’s needed for each item; as signage alone could range from a number of signs to be used in a range of venues, to one sign for your office exterior, and we need more of an idea of the scale of each of these to be able to cost for them.

A: Here's an example of the current BPA sign on our HQ. We also have PVC banners, of a size similar to the ones often seen outside supermarkets, in our own identity or with our logo and the identity of an Affiliated Parachute Training Organisation. However, what we are looking for is a robust, adaptable, visual identity that can be used in times to come for signs we may not yet know we need, rather than one tailored to particular signs/applications. Again, adaptability is key.


Q12: Print costs

Would print costs come from a separate budget from the £15k? Maybe you already have your own bank of suppliers who print and produce the promotional material - if not, please can you confirm if any print or production is required and what that would entail.

A:  Yes, print costs would be separate and we’d envisage using our existing suppliers. Our Mag is produced under contract. We’d be looking for ‘office stationery’ perhaps - letter paper, compliment slips and business cards, if anyone uses these nowadays (!)  If you have a look at some of the wide variety of BPA Forms on our website, you’ll be delighted to know the contract doesn’t include a makeover of these! Adaptability of a new visual identity is, once more, key.


Q13: Stage 2 list

Essentially, we need more information on the stage 2 list please - so that we can establish if we can deliver all those items within the budget, and then provide a fully itemised quote as requested in the tender. 

A:  We’re looking for the identity as production quality (hi res, vector, colour, monochrome, etc, etc) source material we can provide to existing suppliers in most cases. It might be that in roll-out we may wish to retain our branding consultants to liaise with our existing suppliers to help to ensure they get it right - that’s another conversation when we get to that happy stage. Although the appointed branding contractor might want to come up with a few items to knock us off our feet!  The contract fee is to research, develop and discover the branding, and make it so compelling it gets approved by our Council. We’re looking to a big launch at our AGM and Expo at East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, on Saturday 25 January 2020. Roll-out is the next stage of the process. Our rebranding is not like a takeover - we shall still be registered with Companies House as British Parachute Association Ltd, so our old identity will still be legal, we won’t be sticking white labels over our old logos as they do at train stations when there has been a change of train operating company.  We expect roll-out may take a while. It may be phased, as we replenish stocks of physical items. We don’t like to waste stuff if we can help it.


Q14:  Demographics

Could we please request any information you may have on your target audience/members? For example, would you agree you appeal to a younger demographic or if more of a mix, do you have a percentage split? 

A: Our BPA Skydive the Expo attendance demographics tend to ABC1 18-35. The minimum age to jump in the UK is 16, and parents’ or guardians’ permission is needed for people aged 16 and 17. Some of our wonderful, perhaps even some of our most wonderful, members are way outside the ‘typical’ demographic. We challenge stereotypes. People from all walks of life, and all backgrounds, come together in the camaraderie of our family of skydivers.

Freedom of the skies is for all, we don’t differentiate (other than on safety grounds, so people at risk don’t put themselves and/or others at an unacceptable risk from jumping). We want skydiving to be seen as the structured sport that it is, not a once-in-a-lifetime-bucket-list-experience. And that’s a message to all demographics.


Q15:  Section 9 numbering error (now corrected)

The tender states on section 9, that we need to include in the submission questions 1-6 however there are only 5 points on section 9. Is point 6 missing?


A: That’s true, thank you for calling it to our attention. There are only five. There were only ever five.  I’ll correct it. Our apologies.



Q16  Do you require three visual identity options in our tender submission?

Could you answer the following query for us regarding the Invitation to Tender document?  I apologise if I’m asking a similar question regarding the initial tender document, but I’m still a little unclear. Along with a ‘compelling, structured research methodology and process to develop a brand personality’… do you also expect to receive 'three options of a visual identity’ (as requested in point 6, Stage 1) on 20 March?  Or would you expect the three options for a visual identity to be presented once selected?

A:  To clarify, we’re inviting tenders for the process of developing a brand personality for our new trading name of British Skydiving, and from that visual identity options that emerge from the brand personality.  It’s how you propose to go about this, your mechanisms of engaging with our stakeholders; and the process by which you propose organically to develop and advocate compelling and effective visual identity options from the brand personality that emerges, is what we’re inviting tenders upon. Actually carrying out the work will be the prerogative of the appointed contractor.


Q17:  Please can you confirm how many agencies you have approached?

A:  We’ve called our branding ITT to the attention of probably about 25 agencies etc, including some local or regional to us geographically, others with experience in sports branding. The open invitation to tender is on the public domain on our website and social media etc, by which it has of course also been brought to the attention of our own members.


Q18:  Please can you confirm how you will be selecting the successful partner to support this rebrand project. Are you able to supply a % weight criteria or score out of 10 which areas are priority for you. For example is price more of an influence to your decision over expertise in the sports sector? Is a proven process of delivering similar projects for NGB’s weighted equally to current client testimonials?

A:  All the factors in our specification document will be considered, we have not predetermined formal weightings at least at this stage. We’ve not restricted invitation to those with previous branding experience in the sports sector or with National Governing Bodies of Sport, though we would expect all potential suppliers to understand what kind of organisation, as an NGB of Sport, we are: and that we are a membership body based on a democratic structure.  Which means the involvement of a number of decision-makers, such as our Communications Committee and our Council (12-strong board of non-executive directors).

Section 5 of our tender specification sets out what has been holding back our rebrand. We say “we’ve learned (the hard way) that a new identity needs to grow organically from the personality of the brand.  Unless a new identity is based on a firm foundation, a clear rationale, it risks being more contrived than visceral.”  (We continue to bare our soul for another two paragraphs.)

Last year we unfortunately had a false start by going straight in at the stage of commissioning logo designs. We didn’t foresee that this wouldn’t work. (When our Communications Committee recommended a shortlist of designs to our Council, our Council did not do the expected thing of selecting one of the designs. Instead Council asked to see the long list.)  So it’s very likely that whoever emerges as our preferred bidder will have not only the technical skills to research and develop the personality of our brand, and from that the design and artistic skills to develop three visual identity options for us, but to persuade us of their compelling brand development rationale. 

Visual identity such as logos etc can be very much a matter of subjective personal taste. What we are looking for is the development of identity options that have a clear, cogent rationale behind them, that will help us achieve the British Skydiving strategic plan. To take consideration above and beyond personal aesthetics to persuasion based on fitness for purpose - that may help to persuade those of our members who may not like whatever emerges as our new visual identity (and inevitably there will be some), that it is built on a solid foundation and is fit for purpose to take our sport forward.


Q19:  With regards to budget, in the region of £15K is mentioned but are you able to share a definitive level of investment allocated to this project. A minimal increase or decrease could heavily influence a tailored approach for you.

A: We don’t have anything more definitive than what we say in the tender specification, which is ‘in the region of £15K + VAT’.  Which suggests that a minimal decrease or increase wouldn’t be an issue for us. The tailored approach that you mention is the key - understanding the journey we’ve been on, and the journey we still have to make to reach our destination.


A number of potential branding contractors have asked to see examples of some of our signage applications. Links to the sign on our HQ building are included among answers to questions on the left.

Another signage application is a range of PVC vinyl welcome banners personalised to our Affiliated Parachute Training Organisations, and bearing the 'BPA Approved' logo - which will of course become 'British Skydiving Approved'. Below are just a few examples.


BPA flag at the AGM, used on a table displaying medals and awards for presentation.

Updated 9 May 2019

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