Corporate Communication final project assignment sheet

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Assignment sheet for final class project: Corporate Communication and Reputation Audit

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Corporate Communication final project assignment sheet

  1. 1. Corporate Communication (PRAD 564) Corporate Communication and Reputation Audit: Final Team Project (worth 70 points)Important Dates • 4/26: Deadline to form teams and select public company for final project • 6/7: Team report and team evals due at start of class; final presentation day (also upload your final slide deck to class SlideShare.net account)Purpose of the AssignmentFor your final team project, your team will select a medium- to large-sized publicly-traded company toconduct a corporate communication and reputation audit upon. Using a triangulation of research methodsand information sources approach, you will assess how the company projects its image to the marketplaceand how the company is actually perceived by its stakeholders (i.e., in the minds of its stakeholders – dothe company’s “words and deeds” generally align?). More specifically, you will use the followinginformation sources to conduct this audit: 1) review the company’s website, including the sectionsdiscussing its reputation, brand, mission/values, CSR, media relations/online press room, employeecommunications, and any other relevant sources (i.e., its 10-K filing and official social media channels) 2)see where your company ranks on leading annual rankings of reputation, brands, and CSR (such asFORTUNE, Harris RQ, and RepTrak), 3) look up media coverage over the past year on your firm tounderstand the media’s portrayal of it, and 4) use Sysomos, a professional-grade social media monitoringplatform, to assess the social media conversations surrounding your firm and how it’s perceived.After analyzing the data and summarizing this information you will, 5) draw conclusions and offeractionable recommendations to improve the firm’s reputation and its corporate communication program.Your team will turn in a report the final day of class and make a timed presentation (15-20 minutes) onyour findings and recommendations. You will turn in your team’s typed, double-spaced report (using 11or 12 point font) synthesizing your findings at the start of class on 6/7. This report should beapproximately 10-15 pgs. (not including cover page, table of contents, and any figures/tables). Youwill also have uploaded a copy of your presentation to the class SlideShare account by this date.You are encouraged to use bolding, subheads, bullets, and appropriate tables/figures or lists to enhancethe readability of your report. The report should include a cover page, table of contents, andreferences. The reference style chosen (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) is up to you. Just be consistent.Your report should have the following clearly-labeled sections:I. Executive SummaryA good executive summary is a “summary of the summary” and should be written last after you havecompleted the rest of the report. The executive summary should run one page or less and summarize forthe reader the main findings and recommendations contained in the rest of this report. If you could onlywrite a few sentences about what you found through your research into your company and offerrecommendations, what would you say? This should go here.II. Company Website, S.E.C. Filings, and Official Social Media ChannelsVisit and carefully review your company’s website, including the sections discussing its reputation,brand, mission/values, CSR/sustainability, media relations/online press room, employee communications,
  2. 2. and any other relevant areas of the corporate site. Also visit the official social media channels (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) for your company, as well as major S.E.C. filings (most recent 10-K and proxy statement)This section of your paper should summarize and analyze how the company presents itself (i.e., itsprojected image) to stakeholders. Tell me how your firm seems to perceive itself based on this review.Here are questions to answer, which may help organize your thoughts for this section: • What seems to be the mission and values of your organization? • Based on the information on the website/social media channels/S.E.C. filings, what is most important to your company? • Does your company talk about its reputation? Its brand? Its image? Its mission and values? How does it describe itself (i.e., what is its projected image to its stakeholders)? • Does your company seem focused on social responsibility, sustainability and the environment? Where and what does it say about these areas? • What stakeholders does your company seem most concerned with? Customers? Shareholders? Employees? Government? Community? • Did you expect your company to say more about its reputation and brand on its website, S.E.C. filings, and official social media channels? • Is your company active via its official social media channels? Did you expect it to do and say more from a corporate communication perspective through these channels?III. Magazine Rankings of Reputation, Brand and CSRCarefully review and summarize if/where your firm is ranked on the major annual rankings of reputation,brand value, and corporate social responsibility. These rankings are closely followed by companies andstakeholders, and provide a measure of how your company is perceived by members of the public. TheReputation Institute provides a list of these rankings by publication: http://www.reputationinstitute.com/knowledge-center/list-of-listsIn this section, summarize which major lists (i.e., FORTUNE’s America’s Most Admired Companies,Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient, Reputation Institute’s Rep Trak, Millward Brown BrandZ,Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, Boston College and Reputation Institute’s CSR Index) your company islisted upon and provide context for this ranking (i.e., how does your company rank compared to its majorcompetitors/peers not just the rank on the overall list?).Here are questions to answer, which may help organize your thoughts for this section: • Which ranking list(s) is/are your company ranked upon? Have these rankings been improving, flat, declining in the past two years or more? • How does the ranking of your company compare to competitors/peers? • Does your company seem to rank well on one list or one type of list (i.e., reputation rankings vs. brand rankings vs. CSR rankings), but not another? • What about on specialty lists (i.e., best places to work – check the Reputation Institute above and also companies tout these rankings/awards on their own sites)?IV. Media Coverage of Your CompanyUsing major news databases (LexisNexis, Newsbank/Access World News, ProQuest) and free newssearch engines, review, analyze, and summarize the major media coverage for your company over thepast year (you can select calendar year 2011 or simply the past 12 months; just state clearly). Focus onwhat elite national media outlets, as well as the hometown paper of where your company is
  3. 3. headquartered, have had to say about your company over the past year. What have been the topics of thiscoverage? What is the media writing about? What publication or publications have been providing themost coverage? Summarize your findings here.Here are questions to answer, which may help organize your thoughts for this section: • How many articles were written about your company by elite media last year? • Which elite media outlets have written the most about your company during this time? • What has been the focus of this media coverage? What are the topics written about? • What is the general tone of this media coverage (positive, neutral, negative)? • Did you find any big surprises or warning flags/problem stories in this coverage?V. Social Media Discussion of Your CompanyUsing Sysomos (you will receive training in class and complimentary access by team to this professional-grade social media monitoring solution), you will assess and summarize the social media conversationssurrounding your company. Sysomos will allow you to get a sense for both the quantity and content(topics and tenor) of social media conversation surrounding your company. In this section, you willsummarize your findings based on your Sysomos monitoring.Here are questions to answer, which may help organize your thoughts for this section: • How much conversation is occurring on social media surrounding your company? • Has this social media conversation over time declined, is flat, or grown? • What are the topics that are associated with your company in these conversations? • What is the tone/valence of the conversations surrounding your brand? • What else did you learn about your company in social media using Sysomos?VI. Actionable RecommendationsThrough completing Sections II.-V. you have gained a detailed, multi-sided viewed of how your companywants to be perceived (corporate communication on company website/social media) and how it isactually perceived (magazine rankings, media coverage, and social media conversations). In this section,you will synthesize this information and offer actionable recommendations for how your firm mayimprove its corporate communication and reputation. This section should provide the reader with specificinsights and actionable steps/recommendations that the company may take based on what you learnedthrough your prior research. It is important that these recommendations are grounded in the findings ofprior sections.Here are questions to answer, which may help organize your thoughts for this section: • Is there general congruence (or a disconnect) between how your company perceives its brand and reputation and how it is actually perceived by the media, ranking lists, and through social media? • What would you change in terms of company policies/behaviors/actions that you believe would improve the company’s reputation and brand? • What would you change in terms of corporate communication practices that you believe would improve the company’s reputation and brand? • What specific actionable advice do you have for company management and the head of corporate communication that would build their reputation and brand? • Anything else you found through your audit that really stands out and that you believe company management and the head of corporate communication should be made aware of?
  4. 4. Presentation GuidelinesThe presentation should run 15-20 minutes and will be timed. The instructor will keep you posted onthe time remaining. The goal is to summarize your report findings and recommendations. Points will bededucted for going over the time limit; you may be cut off if you run over. The presentation order will beselected randomly unless there are volunteers. Given this time limit, I would recommend that you do notcreate more than 15 slides total (about one slide per minute) to build in time for “overtalking.”Only two team members need to present. The number of team members that will present is a strategicdecision that your team will need to make. The team will receive one grade.A team evaluation sheet will be used which could impact the grades of individual team members.SlideShare.net Account InformationSlideshare.net is a great way to share presentations. We will use Slideshare to catalog and share our finalpresentations. You will upload your completed slide deck to the class Slideshare account by the start ofclass on 6/7. Points will be deducted if you miss this deadline.Website: http://www.SlideShare.netUsername: depaulcorpcommPassword: depaulcorpcommPoint Allocation • The final report is worth 45 points and the presentation is worth 25 points.Final Notes: • Please include a cover page with the full names of all team members, the name of the assignment, class, date, and professor. • Please include a simple table of contents listing sections I. – VI. and the accompanying page numbers. • The report should be presented stapled, paper clipped, presented in a binder, or professionally bound, but no clear sheets. • A hard copy of your report and the uploaded slides are due by the start of class on 6/7. • Points will be deducted for making mechanical and grammatical errors, not following the report format, or not fully addressing the assignment criteria and page range guidelines. • Your team will receive one score on the report/presentation. Therefore, it is essential that everyone takes ownership of the final product. You will have an opportunity to provide feedback via peer evaluations, which could lower an individual team member grade. • The final report may not be submitted via e-mail. I will only accept hard copies.
  5. 5. • Reports turned in during the middle or end of class are considered a day late. Assignments will be deducted one letter grade for each day turned in late.Please see me with any questions. Good luck! Grading CriteriaFinal Report 45 points • Proper page length (15-20 pgs.) and formatting/layout (11-12 pt. font, etc.) 2 points • Table of Contents inclusion and quality 2 points • Mechanics (proper grammar, typos, punctuation, formatting, readability, etc.) 10 points • Part I. Executive Summary 3 points • Part II. Company website, S.E.C. filings, social media channels 4 points • Part III. Magazine rankings of company reputation, brand, CSR 4 points • Part IV. Media coverage of your company 4 points • Part V. Social media discussion of your company 4 points • Part VI. Actionable recommendations and advice for your company 8 points • Consistency of logic and clarity/quality of thought throughout report 4 pointsFinal Presentation 25 points • Complete presentation within time limit (15-20 mins.) 2 points • Successfully upload copy of presentation to SlideShare before start of class (6/7) 2 points • Professionalism and effectiveness of presenters and materials; level of engagement 5 points • Quality of summary of report findings and actionable recommendations 12 points • Consistency of logic and clarity/quality of thought throughout presentation 4 points ###

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