Project 4 Instructions Read all instructions thoroughly from beginning to end. All supporting documents will be uploaded. NazarOps Project Brief NazarOps has asked for our help in developing the communications part of their proposal to the DoD*. Tasks:• Review the existing NazarOps comms plan and transfer information to the New Communications Plan Template (this template will be in the uploads). • Add 2 PAGES of the following: o messaging directed at millennials and Generation Z, o at least one strategy for communicating with those publics, and o tactics related to the proposed strategy. • Revise the plan. • Write a 2 page memo to the firm explaining what you did and why—this will cement the firm’s trust in us. • Answer the 4 discussion questions below; 1 page each Client (prospective): NazarOps Technology Time: 2 weeks Briefing: As you know, NazarOps is pitching a product to the DoD in a highly competitive bidding process. The firm wants to create an immersive virtual reality simulator for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) that’s powered by an AI core that can randomize key scenario variables. The SecondSight Tactical Simulation System would give users practice in clearing a building, engaging in urban combat, etc. It’s a tool people in training can use to gain experience before time and money are spent on real-life drills. The initial application of the system would be for the infantry school, with possible add-on packages for armor and aviation. The communications plan is one relatively small part of the overall NazarOps proposal; it’s our job to make it as polished and comprehensive as possible to help the firm win the bid. I checked out the plan; it’s in fairly decent shape. My main concern is that it doesn’t address millennials or Generation Z at all, and we need those publics to generate a buzz for the simulator within the DoD and Congress. Without their buy-in, SecondSight doesn’t stand a chance of succeeding, and NazarOps doesn’t stand a chance against the other IT firms circling the RFP. I’m letting you tackle this project, but I’ll give you some guidance along the way. Reach out if you have questions. Good luck! . Here are the NazarOps profiles I shared with you in the last project. Read them now if you haven’t already; they provide valuable context. • NazarOps Technology Company Profile (will be uploaded) • SecondSight Tactical Simulation System Product Profile (will be uploaded) A Little More Context This project will familiarize you with the elements of a communications plan, how they relate to one another, and how to evaluate them. You’ll learn about messaging, strategies, and tactics, and develop some of these elements yourself in helping the client reach out to the younger members of the military. Before you revise the NazarOps plan, you’ll assess it and share your thoughts with the other junior account executives. Do this by Day 3 of the project so that you can get started on your research and revision efforts. Any feedback you receive, whether from Theresa or from your colleagues, will help inform your approach to the plan. Your main focus is the additional publics identified by Theresa, but you may find other areas of the plan that could stand improvement. Step 1: Assess the Communications Plan You’re going to review the NazarOps communications plan and share your preliminary thoughts with your colleagues. Do this within the next three days so that you can check your perceptions against others and get feedback before you begin your revision efforts. This step will involve a fair amount of reading as you learn about or refresh your knowledge of the parts of the communications plan. Knowing what the components of the plan accomplish and how they interact is vital; you’ll be working on communications plans of one type or other at each stage of your employment at Parabolic. Remember that, as part of the revision, Theresa wants you to add messages and at least one strategy with associated tactics for what she believes are two neglected publics: millennials and Generation Z. In your assessment of the plan, first verify Theresa’s finding: Are these publics, or audiences, absent from the plan? If you added them, how would this affect the plan? Although you may find other areas of improvement, your review should focus on the two target publics and the potential impact of their inclusion. Theresa sends an email to share the plan and guide you in your appraisal. Email FROM: Theresa Bauman, senior account executive TO: You SUBJECT: NazarOps plan Good morning! Attached is the NazarOps comms plan (Check uploads) My recommended course of action is to conduct two passes of the plan. The first pass is a gut check. Does the plan make sense? Will it work? Then, after reviewing the other materials I’m including here, read the plan more carefully. If you need to add a stakeholder group, does each part of the plan still work as-is? What might need to change? Do you see anything else that needs tweaking? The Communications Plan gives an overview of how strategic communications professionals use this type of plan, its components, and what it’s meant to accomplish. Here are some questions to ask whenever you’re creating, evaluating, or making changes to a communications plan. • Situation Analysis: What is the current situation? What internal and external influences and processes affect the client’s (DoD’s) ability accomplish its mission? This is largely based on a SWOT analysis, which assesses strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. The situation analysis helps NazarOps determine the problem that the communications team can help solve. • Goals: How do you know when the communications team’s work is done? Goals are often aspirational statements that describe an end-state. Make sure anything you add to the plan is aligned with the organizational goals. • Target Publics: Are all publics identified and present in the plan? Is there a strategy in place to effectively communicate your messages with each public? Will your products (tactics) enable your strategies? Review our resources on segmentation of stakeholders and other publics. • Objectives: Are the objectives SMART objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound? If you look at the evaluation plan, do the objectives align with the evaluation metrics? Are they written so as to produce the right kind of metric? The evaluation metrics should tell you whether you achieved the objectives. If they do not, what kinds of changes might need to be made? • Messages: Messages need to take into account the relevant publics and their concerns, interests, and cultural context. Are these the right messages to send, given the identified publics? Are there items to add or omit? What would you suggest regarding messaging (developing messages)? • Strategies: Do the strategies answer the question, “How will the objectives be accomplished?” Do they identify the desired result in the target publics (persuading, informing, etc.)? Is there a strategy for each objective? Is there a strategy that works for each target public? If you add new publics, can you leverage the existing strategies to some degree? • Tactics: Will the products created reach and be attended to by the target publics? Are there tactics for each public identified? Are there tactics for each strategy? • Evaluation: Will this evaluation tell you what you need to know about the achievement of the objectives and the attainment of the goal? Look at this in relation to the new publics you’ve identified. Note that the Timeline and Budget sections of the NazarOps plan are blank; just ignore them. NazarOps doesn’t want us to draft these until we have a contract with the DoD. I look forward to seeing your assessment in the Discussions area! Now that you’ve gone over the NazarOps plan a few times, considered Theresa’s concerns about target publics, and read about the components of a communications plan, jot down some notes to share with the other junior account executives. It’s fine to take a bird’s-eye view here and talk about the types of changes you would make rather than exactly what the changes would be. Your research in the next few steps will help you fill in the details. • First, note where you believe the plan is effective. You’ll be sending the client a memo later and you’ll want to provide some positive feedback. Be as specific as you can in referring to plan components or sections thereof. • Then, note where you believe the plan falls short or needs tweaking. For all your notes, explain the reasoning behind them. If applicable, draw from the historical, theoretical, legal, and/or ethical research you conducted in Project 3 and/or the documents you perused here in Project 4. Any evidence you can produce to justify your assessment will be useful in your memo to the client; the NazarOps COO will welcome any evidence of your field’s credibility that he can present to the still-doubting CMO. Discussion (1): Compare Notes on the NazarOps Communication Plan; 1 page Post your thoughts on the NazarOps communications plan. Be sure to include what you like about the plan as well as what you would change. Be specific: what components or sections of the plan look effective to you? What components or sections need additional work, and what would you add, change, or omit? It’s fine to go high-level here and say, for example, “I would add another objective to meet x aspect of the goal” without actually composing or posting the objective. Explain your responses. Step 2: Research and Prioritize Publics Now that you’ve completed an appraisal of the NazarOps plan, you can begin conducting research to inform your revision efforts. You’ll investigate your publics and also prioritize them to help NazarOps (and the DoD) allocate resources. In this project, you’ll conduct research to guide the firm in helping its prospective client meet goals and objectives—a much more common application of research skills in the field. Before you begin, review how research is used in strategic communications. The readings give you an overview of the role and importance of research in the field, and they delve into some methodologies you’ll use later on at Parabolic. Now, research the target publics Theresa identified (millennials and Generation Z) and how these publics access information. What are their media consumption habits? What are their preferred sources of entertainment, and what do they see as a credible source? Your research should help you answer the following questions: • Why should these publics care about the NazarOps simulator? What should we say about the simulator to these publics? How should we frame the conversation? What will the publics find relevant and interesting about our offering? (messages) • How do we approach these publics? Do we want to engage them? To inform or persuade them? To position the NazarOps product as “state of the art”? Through what outlets (channels) or individuals (influencers) do we want to reach them? (strategies) • What particular products will these publics find credible? How can we operationalize the strategies? (tactics) You’ll continue this research in the next step as you develop these elements of the plan, but start out by looking at demographic data, publications (not just communications-oriented, but IT, military, gamer, etc.), and other sources to get a general sense of your publics. Meltwater might assist with this; you’ll use it again in Step 3 as you start selecting your tactics. Refer to Using Meltwater for Research and Evaluation to learn more. After you’ve learned about millennials and Gen Z, consider them in relation to the other target publics identified in the NazarOps plan: DoD acquisition officials, TRADOC leadership, congressional staff, and the Texas congressional delegation. These stakeholders have been segmented by NazarOps, with strategies chosen tailored to their concerns and interests. Once publics have been segmented, it’s important to prioritize your publics so that you can determine where to focus your resources. Which strategies are most important to implement? If a strategy had to be cut because of time, budget, or resource constraints, which should it be? To prioritize publics and direct the flow of resources, it helps to consider the impact of the communications plan on each public—and the impact of each public on the goals and objectives of the firm. You may have noticed in your assessment of the NazarOps plan that the publics were not prioritized. Now that you know more about Generation Z and millennials, determine how you would prioritize all the stakeholders. You can consider Gen Z and millennials as one public. The situation analysis in the NazarOps plan can assist with this, as well as any analyses you performed in your own research. It may help to refer to the company and product profile located in Theresa’s memo in Start Here. Discussion (2): Prioritize Your Publics; 1 page Consider the target publics of the NazarOps plan: DoD acquisition officials, TRADOC leadership, congressional staff, the Texas congressional delegation, and the soon-to-be-included millennials and Generation Z (for simplicity’s sake, you can consider the new additions one public). How would you prioritize these publics in terms of the impact the NazarOps offer would have on them, and in terms of their potential impact on the success of NazarOps’ mission? Rank the publics as primary, secondary, tertiary, and so forth. Explain why you gave each public the ranking you did. You may find as well that you have no tertiary publics. Step 3: Develop Messages, Strategies, and Tactics You’ve performed some research on your two target publics, millennials and Generation Z. Now, you’ll develop messages, strategies, and tactics for these publics to add to the NazarOps communications plan. Messages As you plan your messages, re-evaluate whether the messages identified in the NazarOps plan are sufficient for the two new target publics. If not, could the existing messages be modified to accommodate the new publics? If you think new messages are needed, what would you add? What information will interest the publics? You might want to refer to the company and product profile in Theresa’s memo in the Start Here section. Write any messaging frameworks you’d like to include in the NazarOps plan. Note why you’re adding them—you’ll put this in your memo to NazarOps. Also note where you think the existing messages work for these demographics. Strategies Take another look at the NazarOps objectives, then conduct another review of the strategies. Will the existing strategies work for the new publics? Do you want to change these strategies or add more? If you want to include new strategies, consider the following questions: • How should the messages be communicated? In what context will they best be absorbed by your target publics? • Which influencers or channels should be used to transmit the messages? • What is the desired result of the strategy? To inform, persuade, engage? Thinking back to some of the communications theories you’ve studied, do you want your publics to change from one type of public to another? • Do your new or adapted strategies align with the objectives in the communications plan? Are any changes needed? If so, would you recommend that new objectives be added? The Parabolic material on engaging with the social media landscape should help you in considering channels. Use Meltwater to identify some of the appropriate media products or platforms for your publics—for instance, gamer publications and relevant influencers. Visit the Parabolic discussion topic Meltwater: Guidance, Questions, and Discoveries if you have questions or advice. If you would like to use another analytics tool or another means of searching, the discussion area is a good place to discuss alternatives. Write any strategies you’d like to add to the NazarOps plan. Note why you added them—you’ll include this in your memo to NazarOps. Also note where you think the existing strategies work for the two new demographics. Tactics As with messages and strategies, take another look at the tactics in the plan. Will some of these work for the new publics? If you created new strategies, or modified existing strategies, how would you put these into practice? Keep in mind that each strategy usually has several tactics. Ask yourself the following questions: • Should the communication of new or existing messages be timed in any particular way? • What is the best product to transmit the message? • What length should the product be? Consider the attention span of your publics. • What is the best form for your messages to take: testimonials, emotional appeals, statistics, stories, dramatic portrayals? Step 4: Compose a Tweet You’ve considered your messages, strategies, and tactics for millennials and Gen Z. Now, create an example of how you would put these into practice. Regardless of whether you chose Twitter as one of your tactics, produce a tweet based on one of your messages. Keep in mind tone, word choice, your intent (., to inform, persuade, engage, spur discussion), and your technique (., use data, tell a story, appeal emotionally). Discussion (3): Share Your Tweet (280 characters in length) & 1 page explanations, answer questions just below You’ve got your millennial and Generation Z messages, strategies, and tactics. One tactic was likely Twitter or a similar platform. Now, produce a communications product for this channel. Write a tweet of 280 characters that conveys one your messages. Remember, inverted pyramid and AP apply even in a product this Lilliputian. It will likely be difficult to trim your tweet down to size; prune until you’re left with a message in miniature tailored to your target publics. Also think about the particular attributes and functionality of the Twitter platform, such as the ability to geofence or target tweets based on gender, language, or age, and use those that you feel might be appropriate. 1 page explanation: Below your tweet, explain how you created it and state the original message that it conveys. How did you ensure alignment with an organizational objective? Why did you choose the words, approach, or technique that you did? What were your challenges? Step 6: Revise the Communications Plan You appraised the NazarOps communications plan, compared notes with your peers, developed some ideas for messages, strategies, and tactics, wrote a glimmering tweet, and came up with a brief career pathway plan of your own. Since your initial assessment, you’ve learned more about publics, messages, strategies, tactics, and the other parts of the communications plan. You’ve prioritized your publics. You’ve considered goals, evaluated the SMARTness of the objectives, possibly conducted some research on the situation, and reflected on whether the evaluation metrics make sense and align with the objectives. If you haven’t done so already, download the NazarOps comms plan (This Document will be uploaded). Save it and turn on Track Changes so that NazarOps can review your suggestions; the firm will want to carefully consider each change and accept or reject it. Go over the plan armed with all the feedback and new information you have. Revise and add to the plan as needed, keeping notes on what you do so that you can explain it to NazarOps in your memo. NazarOps has sent a pretty clean document, but if you find any errors in grammar, usage, formatting, or mechanics, make those changes as well. To indicate your prioritization of publics, create the subheaders Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary (if there are tertiary publics) in the Publics section of the plan and then include the relevant publics in those sections. Take Note Remember, you must use Track Changes when you revise the communications plan. NazarOps has to see your work to sign off on it—plus, this ensures the firm sees the value of your involvement! Step 7: Write Your NazarOps Memo 2 pages You’ve revised the plan. Now, refer to your notes to draft a succinct memo to NazarOps explaining what you did and why, including your prioritization of the publics. Discuss what you liked about the plan and be diplomatic about what you think needed changing; remember, Parabolic wants to partner with NazarOps on a large contract! If you can draw from your Project 3 research on theory, history, laws, and ethics to explain any of your changes, be sure to do this; the NazarOps COO will take this as further evidence of the value of contracting with your firm. Here’s our template; save this so you have it handy the next time we send notes to a client. Parabolic Business Memo Template (This document will be uploaded) If you need assistance, review guidelines on writing a memo to make sure your document conforms to professional standards. Discussion (4); Parabolic Lounge; 1 Page Reflect on your experiences revising the communications plan. How did your initial assessment change as you conducted your research and delved more deeply into the various parts of the plan? Consider the importance of research in strategic communications, not only in helping you identify the right publics, but in providing you with a more detailed understanding of those publics and in helping you select appropriate channels and influencers. In composing your tweet, did you see all the elements of the plan coming into play? Did you enjoy this part of the project? Also reflect on how you saw the theory, history, and possibly legal and ethical considerations you learned about in Project 3 playing out in this project. Share your thoughts with your fellow junior account execs. Unwind and process this project and the intense 10 weeks you’ve just spent. In addition to sharing your insights with your peers, you’ll be able to benefit from the wisdom of those seasoned in the discipline. You may also receive guidance based on your pathway plan; look out for any pointers that will help you as you grow in the field!
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