Status Report

NASA MSFC Solicitation 1: Office of Strategic Analysis and Communications Support Services

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2006
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NASA MSFC Solicitation: Office of Strategic Analysis and Communications Support Services

Solicitation 1

Draft Request for Proposal (Word)


2. 0 OSAC’s Communication Mission

OSAC is responsible for creating, preserving, and strengthening support for NASA’s vision and missions, and ensuring that analysis and communications are integrated and aligned with NASA and Marshall goals. OSAC’s Organizational Chart, Attachment L-7, shows communication functions and performance management functions as outlined below:

Communication Management:

OSAC’s communication mission is to develop, execute and guide a strategic communications capability to manage stakeholder relationships based on agency direction, program intelligence, and center strategies and priorities. OSAC will fulfill its mission by:

  • Building a communication system (people, processes, tools) that is recognized within Marshall as the preferred provider of communication strategy, products and services and as a critical capability to enable Marshall’s future
  • Enabling message-sharing and exchange to promote an accurate and positive representation of Marshall throughout NASA and the external community with communication products and services
  • Increasing the Center workforce’s knowledge about NASA and Marshall’s goals and objectives
  • Promoting inter-organizational information-sharing across the Center and with key stakeholders
  • Supporting accountability for communication within the Center’s workforce
  • Fostering two-way communication throughout the Center

The infusion of communications into daily activities is essential for organizational health and sustainability. OSAC’s mission approach is customer-driven, results-oriented and multi-faceted. OSAC is committed to helping Marshall achieve success through efficient, responsive and timely planning and execution of a continuum of communications products and services.

Performance Management:

OSAC’s overall mission also includes the Center’s performance management function. This function provides integrated analysis, planning, and evaluation of Marshall’s program, project, and institutional performance relative to Marshall’s goals and objectives. Performance Management efforts are not included in this PWS.

4.0 Strategic Research & Analysis

The contractor shall provide personnel with core competencies comprised of researchers and analysts to provide analysis and interpretation of the external environment and identification of relevant issues and trends important to NASA and Marshall. The strategic research & analysis function will serve as the foundation for the strategic communication program. Strategic research & analysis activities include: environmental monitoring; stakeholder research and analysis; audience research; measuring communication effectiveness; and benchmarking/identifying best practices.

4.1 Environmental Monitoring. The contractor shall support the strategic communications plan through continual monitoring and reporting of external program or technical environment factors that could potentially influence or impact organizational goals. The contractor shall develop effective strategic communication vehicles which deliver the knowledge gained from external monitoring and assessments. This effort shall provide Marshall with an increased awareness to foster effective decision-making.

4.1.1 The contractor shall provide environmental assessment services to improve program literacy and environmental awareness. These services will provide critical content and information to be incorporated into communication product development activities. Environmental monitoring services shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Synopses of Agency and Center management council minutes, reports and policy;
  • Biographical briefs on key stakeholder and annual external environmental characterizations;
  • External environment profiles or special topic research;
  • Alerts and news highlight services targeted to Center executives and management.
  • Notify OSAC management on a weekly basis of events, headlines, Agency developments and planned products, and pertinent articles that relate to strategic analysis, planning, and management functions;
  • Support the Strategic Research & Analysis “beat system,” to include concentration on Agency, legislative, political, economic, social, technological, and macro- and micro- event monitoring;
  • Develop daily packages that provide senior management with insight to Marshall external published activities that include sources from newspapers clips, magazines, clip services, internet, and other media venues (such as TV interviews, news releases issued, etc. ).

4.1.2 The contractor shall provide and maintain an integrated calendar of strategic events and external and internal studies and reports of interest to the Agency.

4.2 Stakeholder Analysis. The contractor shall provide research on stakeholders’ positions and needs that impact Marshall’s ability to accomplish its goals and objectives. Based on the results of this research, the contractor shall provide proposed recommendations, strategies, and products that integrate strategic research and analysis with Marshall’s decision-making process. This support provides a crucial interface with the Marshall end-users and is especially important for ensuring timely and appropriate feedback from the end-users for informed senior management decisions.

4.2.1 The contractor shall continuously research internal and external stakeholders’ positions and needs to capture critical stakeholder information such as significant trends, satisfaction measures, future requirements, technology developments, and value propositions. Results shall be analyzed and incorporated into executive summary reports for OSAC management and used to inform strategy planning and message development. Internal audiences include: NASA Headquarters, NASA Field Centers, and Marshall Employees. External audiences include: Congressional Delegations / Elected Officials / Executive Branch Offices; Aerospace Industry Primes and Contractors; Department of Defense (DoD); Local and Regional Communities; and International, National, and Local Media.

4.2.2 The contractor shall recommend and research topics relevant to NASA/ Marshall stakeholders such as governance, funding stability, budget processes and schedules, acquisition systems and program complexity, technology priorities, organizational structure and culture, and decision processes.

4.3 Audience Research. The contractor shall provide ongoing research and analysis of audience/stakeholders and their evolving needs and requirements for information. This support shall include evaluation and targeting of internal and external audiences to help maximize the communication impact within each group. Audience research and analysis will be critical in assisting OSAC in the development of effective communication plans and implementation strategies.

4.3.1 The contractor shall continuously research and analyze audience trends; segments; needs and requirements; preferred venues; current and recommended communication channels/vehicles; recommended communication frequency; and recommended communication tactics.

4.3.2 The contractor shall develop audience briefs, presentations, whitepapers, and profiles for NASA / Marshall audiences to support executive communications.

4.4 Measuring Communication Effectiveness. The contractor shall evaluate the effectiveness of key messages, vehicles, and channels to assist in the identification of any communication delivery obstacles; aid in the adjustment of a particular communications approach; or inspire new direction. The contractor shall develop, implement, and maintain a communications measurement system comprised of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to evaluate pre- and post- event message effectiveness and communication value. The system shall define forecasted, measurable outcomes to judge the effectiveness of communication implementation. The measurement of communication effectiveness shall be used as a building block for OSAC strategic planning and tactical decision-making.

4.4.1 The measurement system shall gauge the effectiveness of all aspects of the strategic communication program. Data sources may include measurement sources such as:Public & Employee Communications press and exhibits activity metrics; web based content feedback; campaign feedback; value analysis; focus groups, and a variety of surveys (climate survey, customer satisfaction survey, stakeholder survey, and internal communications survey). The contractor shall assist OSAC in the continuous refinement of data sources and attributes to include in the measurement system.

4.4.2 The contractor shall measure the effectiveness of communication services and products in areas such as:communications activities including results of ongoing communications efforts, tactics, and evaluation of new approaches; message effectiveness including awareness, comprehension and audience reaction; and response or action including level of agreement, debate or acceptance of communications messages, overall attitude of the stakeholder(s) and behavior change. Additionally, the contractor shall utilize measurement results to develop and maintain an accurate baseline of current Marshall communications services and products.

4.4.3 The contractor shall conduct pilot tests for any new instruments / tools used to measure communication effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Pilot tests shall be analyzed for reliability by the contractor and approved by OSAC management prior to implementation. The contractor shall assist OSAC in the administration of all system measurement instruments / tools.

4.4.4 The contractor shall provide communication measurement results, analyses, and proposed recommendations to assist in on-going improvements for strategic planning and communication product development.

4.5 Benchmarking. The contractor shall provide OSAC with process and best practices benchmarking on a wide variety of program processes and/or functions using a broad range of research tools and techniques. This information shall be used to assist OSAC in identifying best practice and process strategies for adoption and integration into an interactive and dynamic strategic communication approach.

4.5.1 The contractor shall identify and develop a broad range of benchmarking tools and techniques that may include informal conversations with customers, quantitative research, in-depth marketing research, surveys, questionnaires, process mapping, and focus groups.

4 5.2 The contractor shall identify and recommend organizations, such as government agencies and industry leaders, to be included in continuous benchmarking efforts that monitor the communication field’s state-of-the-art processes and practices. This information will be used to enhance the organization’s communication capabilities / processes and to establish a standard of comparison in Center and organizational assessments. The contractor shall also identify and recommend best-practice external entities with whom to establish partnerships.

5.0 Communication Strategy Planning and Message Management

The contractor shall provide strategic communication planners as a core competency for this effort. The communication strategy planning and message management function drives all communication service and product development / delivery activities and serves as a major cohesive element within strategic communications. The contractor shall incorporate the results of strategic research and analysis to assist the Government in making informed decisions for communication strategies, planning and message management activities. The contractor shall provide data and analysis that measures the progress toward accomplishing goals and strategies. Planning and Messaging activities shall include: communication goals & strategy, plans, key messaging, and channel relationship development.

5.1 Communication Goals & Strategy. The contractor shall assist OSAC by facilitating a common understanding of Marshall’s communication goals and recommending communication strategies. The contractor shall assist OSAC in communication strategy development to address existing communication needs and ensure communications are measured, effective, promote synergy, control cost, and maximize resources. This function shall enable the development of effective communication planning. The contractor shall provide proposed recommendations for the development and continuing enhancement of communication goals and strategies.

5.1.1 The contractor shall assist OSAC in researching, recommending and documenting communication strategies and goals that equip stakeholders to advocate for NASA and Marshall; facilitate partnerships with industry, academia, DoD, government agencies, NASA Headquarters, and other NASA Centers; increase workforce knowledge about program performance; engage information sharing; and develop a self-sustaining communication process to support integrating communication and dissemination.

5.1.2 The contractor shall assist OSAC in researching, recommending and documenting strategies for using emerging technologies to more efficiently and rapidly deliver media and other communication products in a manner compatible with the audience / stakeholder needs, requirements, and capabilities to increase coverage of Marshall programs and activities.

5.1.3 The contractor shall assist OSAC in researching, recommending and documenting a variety of outreach strategies that focus on educating and informing members of Congress and staff of Marshall related programs. This support shall enable the government to build relationships with Aerospace associations and industry organizations, work with members of Congress, congressional staff, and other Government officials to create forums for advancing Marshall objectives.

5.2 Communication Plans. The contractor shall develop comprehensive communication plans for OSAC and all of its customers that are designed to achieve organizational program goals and objectives. The communication plans shall unify multiple activities to form a singular purpose, promote accountability, and support efficiency by focusing communication efforts and maximizing resources. The communication plans shall support the organization’s mission and key program objectives and provide the foundation for integrated communication service and product development and delivery. All plans shall be maintained in a relational electronic archive for version control and reference. Communication planning shall be structured to support all functional sub-elements of communication service and product development and delivery activities.

5.2.1 The contractor shall ensure that communication plans are comprehensive and answer key questions such as: which segments of the defined audience(s) shall be addressed; which communication messages and vehicles shall be used to reach targeted audiences; how frequent shall communication occur to audience(s); which vehicles are already serving the defined audience(s); what communication tactics are recommended to reach each audience; and how the effectiveness of tactics will be measured.

5.2.2 The contractor shall assist in the analysis of complex situations and data to develop communication plans designed to achieve established goals and objectives targeted to NASA and Marshall stakeholders. Planning development shall include the identification of advanced state-of-the-art communication theories and techniques to implement in product development and delivery efforts.

5.2.3 The contractor shall assist OSAC in planning for a broad range of government and community outreach initiatives that educate, inform, and build relationships with key stakeholders. The contractor shall identify, research, and oversee the development of a variety of written and audiovisual communication products to support an integrated, regional outreach program to community leaders, news media, community service organizations, programs, and local and regional governments. This effort includes supporting the Center’s Speaker’s Bureau Program to include research, monitoring, and analysis of the greatest potential for speaking engagements as well as providing recommendations on the most appropriate speaker(s), topics, message, and products for the event. The contractor shall identify speech points of contact, event background information, past performance, and audience demographics. The contractor shall evaluate speakers and provide feedback to OSAC.

5.2.4 The contractor shall identify internal and external publications that are appropriate for inclusion in the public inquiries archives and other communication venues and channels.

5.2.5 The contractor shall research, recommend and document exhibit venue opportunities to support organizational goals and objectives.

5.2.6 The contractor shall develop and maintain a report matrix that documents the status of each communication plan and an OSAC strategic calendar for action and decision-tracking. The contractor shall monitor the status of Marshall and OSAC agendas to ensure that they are progressing on time and according to plan. The contractor shall alert OSAC management as accountability reports or deadlines come due.

5.3 Key Message Development and Management. OSAC generates and communicates key messages about NASA / Marshall’s progress and plans to provide an accurate and positive representation of Marshall to both internal and external audiences. The contractor shall assist the government in the development and integration of key messages and decisions that are consistent with NASA Agency direction; reflect understandable, repeatable core messages; and are credible to audiences. Key messages shall identify and articulate specific program objectives and themes to targeted stakeholder groups. The contractor shall establish and implement a key message development and management process that allows Marshall to effectively reach its targeted audiences. This includes continuously refreshing messages, creating new messages to maintain current and relevant content, and ensuring consistency of all messages.

5.3.1 The contractor’s message management process shall include:notification to communicators of new Agency direction; development, review, and approval criteria; capture and store capability; and distribution and publishing of key messages and decisions to Marshall management and communicators. The contractor shall infuse key messages into key Center collateral products and provide updates on a quarterly basis.

5.3.2 The contractor shall implement and maintain a key message tool or relational database to store and version control key messages and communication themes. Pertinent information may include:targeted audience, date implemented, revision dates and rationale. Additionally, the contractor shall develop and maintain a Communicator Corner’s website, a resource for communicators across the Center that promotes message consistency and currency.

5.3.3 The contractor shall promote key message sharing and exchange by transmitting critical messages and decisions from senior management to those who need it; incorporating key messages and decisions that represent the Agency’s vision and mission; implementing a broad range of communication vehicles to reach the Marshall stakeholders; and supporting extensive political and public outreach initiatives.

5.3.4 The contractor shall assist in the development and execution of effective communications by facilitating the creation of recognizable messages that accurately portray organizational-unique capabilities and attributes tailored to each Marshall stakeholders’ needs.

5.3.5 In the event of an emergency or crisis, the contractor shall provide immediate support to create, re-establish or re-direct key messaging as necessary to ensure that Marshall maintains the ability to effectively portray its capabilities, attributes, and intentions to its stakeholders.

5.4 Channel Relationship Development. The contractor shall assist OSAC in structuring tailored communication programs supportive of OSAC’s overarching communication plans based on channel strategies and relationships through informed media venues such as newspaper, radio, magazines, television, internet, sound bites, etc. The contractor shall strategically identify which target audience and media venues will be the most effective in furthering NASA and Marshall’s goals. Multi-channel integration, value propositions, and media placement / positioning shall be included in the overall channel strategy. The contractor shall provide recommendations on optimum media venues to achieve the most effective communication results and desired responses from Marshall’s stakeholders.

5.4.1 The contractor shall assist OSAC in channel segmentation based on relationship development and may include major themes such as commitment, cooperation, trust, and conflict management.

5.4.2 The contractor shall develop and implement various processes to collect information on customer perceptions of communication products and their relevant dimensions and value propositions as revealed by audience research. The contractor shall also measure media positioning effectiveness though a broad-range of techniques such as perceptional mapping, factor analysis, multi dimensional scaling, etc.

SpaceRef staff editor.