Your goal in the Project Pitch, slides and conference call is to convince me of the following:
- This is a worthwhile project. The world needs this information.
- This is a timely project. There’s plenty of current “events” for you to discuss. People will care about this project because it is relevant.
- Most importantly: You care about this topic. If you don’t care, I won’t care. You need to convince me that your organization and your brand are authentic and that your mission is for real.
*Important Note: Your main goal in this project is to act as an organization whose goal is to inform the public about CSR in a specific industry. Do not pretend to be a company who is producing a product. Do not pretend anything, as students in a group, you have organized yourselves to produce this information, so you are (actually) an organization.
You will prepare for a long distance pitch presentation (via a conference call) with me by creating a formal (written) Project Pitch and accompanying slides to help guide your group’s presentation in the call. This will require you to do a significant amount of research and planning. The Project Pitch is our version of a “research paper” — though it is more like a white paper or business proposal than a traditional academic paper.
Your pitch, slides and website should be considered “strong drafts” by the time of our call, meaning that small mistakes and flaws in reasoning will be accepted and discussed. You should attempt to have your work as perfect as possible by the time of our call. *If your written Pitch and Slides are not complete and as perfect as possible by the time of our call, you will receive zeroes on these documents and you will not have the opportunity to revise or turn in a final copy.
- To practice a real-time presentation of a project via a conference call
- To write a formal, written project pitch
- To practice credible trade research
- To create slides that accompany a real-time presentation
BASIC REQUIREMENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS: PITCH
- Length: 4000-4500 words
- Format: single spaced text, 11 point font, block paragraphs (not indented paragraphs), use frequent headings and subheadings and bullet points to organize information (doc, docx, pdf)
- Visual/Design: Flawless images, should reflect overall organizational branding
- 2-3 graphs/charts that you create yourself from data
- 1 infographic that you create from data (I suggest using Piktochart if you don’t have InDesign/Illustrator experience)
- CMS style footnotes and bibliography are required. Click here for help.
- A minimum of 2 cited (quoted or paraphrased) scholarly or peer review sources, per group member is required.
- A minimum of 8 cited (quoted or paraphrased) credible additional sources, per group member is required.
Cover Page (1 page)
- Your cover pages should “set the stage” for your visual branding. This should look like your slides and website content.
- Use your organization’s title
- Include all group member’s names
Table of Contents (1 page)
- List all major heading, subheadings and on which page they can be found
Executive Summary (1 page)
Need help writing an ES? Click here.
Mission Statement and Topic Introduction (1 page)
- Topic Introduction (2 paragraphs): Give a brief explanation of why your group chose your topic and why it is important to you to get word out to the public about this topic.
Mission Statement (1 paragraph) Need help writing a MS? Click here.
Background Research (several pages — how many will be determined by formatting)
*This section should show strong evidence of your research. This means that I should see cited sources every few sentences and paragraphs.
Biggest Industry Problems with CSR (5-6 paragraphs/subheadings)
What problems does your industry have with CSR issues (labor issues, environmental concerns, women/minority issues, sustainability, etc.)? Dig back 10-15 years if you can, but also provide current information to give a full picture of your industry’s history with CSR issues. Citing specific cases/companies is fine here.
Industry CSR Initiatives (4-5 paragraphs/subheadings)
What industry trends are emerging to solve or create better CSR? Here I’m looking for more general information, though mentioning specific companies is okay (don’t go into too much detail that’s for the next section). For example, many coffee companies concerned with CSR buy fair trade beans –that’s a “trend.” You’re looking for similarities across the board in your industry for what’s being done to solve CSR-related problems (or avoid them altogether!).
Exemplary Company Profiles (1-2 paragraphs per company)
Choose 10-12 companies in your industry that have not only built good CSR practices, but whose businesses are based on CSR principles (so they do more than have employees do charity work/donate money, but their actual business is built on principles of CSR).
- Write a short profile of each company’s CSR practices, as well as a short bio letting me know what the company does/sells, etc.
Design Strategy (1 page)
Write 3-4 short paragraphs explaining your design strategy. Include the following:
- Justify your design choices (color, images, fonts, WordPress theme, etc.). Discuss how the choices you’re making connect to your mission statement and your group’s investment in the project itself.
- Explain what “feelings” you want your audience to have when they view your website, both about your topic and your information. What overall impression do you want them to have?
- Information about what WordPress theme you chose. Talk about page formatting, widgets, images, etc.
Social Media and Blog Content/Strategy (several pages — how many will be determined by formatting)
Audience Analysis (2-3 paragraphs)
This section should show that you’ve:
- Identified your audience clearly. Don’t say, “Everyone wears shoes, so everyone will care about our website devoted to CSR in the shoe industry.” That’s probably not true. Think about not only who buys/consumes things from your industry, but who will then also care about CSR. Think about things like race, gender, socioeconomic class. Yes, these are generalizations, but addressing a demographic often means working with generalizations.
- Chosen your platforms carefully. In this section, you’ll need to justify your choices in regards to social media platforms. Identify what kind of social media your audience uses and what kinds of social media your industry uses (most generally) to promote its products/services. Then make a calculated response in your choice of social media. Your audience should be familiar with your choice and use it often, but you should consider appropriateness as well. For instance, fashion-related companies often use Instagram to promote their businesses, but Instagram doesn’t allow you to promote your content (which is written copy) easily through links.
Social and Blog Content Summaries (2 paragraphs per group member)
Each group member should propose topics for their 3 individual blog posts. I should see a logical progression of information here. Include a list of articles you plan to link in your posts. It is okay to use bullet pointed lists, rather than traditional paragraphs, if you like.
Conclusion (1 page)
Write 1-2 brief paragraphs closing out the main takeaways I should gain from reading your proposal.
Bibliography (Does not count for “words”)
All of your cited sources should be listed here. There should be 10 sources cited per person, which means that depending on the size of your group I should see 40-50 sources.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS: SLIDES/CONFERENCE CALL
- Length: Minimum 15 slides, Maximum 20 — plan and practice your spoken presentation to take no longer than 15-20 minutes.
- Format: Google Slides (shared with group members and Allison). Call will take place on Google Hangouts so you can coordinate your slides with our call. Group members are allowed to be in one physical location, if you like. Some people like to schedule study rooms in Koelbel or Norlin.
- Visual/Design: Flawless images, should reflect overall organizational branding. Your presentation slides should reflect the same visual branding strategy that I see throughout your project (website, social media platforms, Project Pitch, etc.).
- Research: Should reflect the information presented in your Pitch
- Delivery: Conference call
Unlike your resume presentation, which is a standalone presentation, these slides are meant to accompany your conference call. One of the most important things to remember is that in a conference call (and to some extent in person), people’s attention tend to lag because there is no physical immediacy. Your slides should guide, but not distract from what you are saying.
Your slides need to correspond loosely to your Project Pitch, but should not repeat it verbatim. You should assume that I have at least glanced at your Pitch, and so I’m familiar with what you want to talk with me about, but not that I know the specifics. I suggest you use this structure to organize your spoken presentation and slides:
- Introduction: tell me about your investment in the project and your mission.
- Background: Explain why this is an important topic, with complex issues that people need to know about.
- Your Strategy: Tell me what your strategy is in design and content for making people interested in your website.
- Concerns: Voice any concerns about the project or its execution in a constructive way (you are asking me for my expertise and guidance here).
- Don’t crowd slides with text
- Use text to guide the presentation and keep it organized, but don’t ask me to “read” anything in depth — that will cause me to stop listening to your words.
- Use dynamic images that evoke the kinds of feelings you want your audience to have
- Practice your presentation. We will be fairly informal, but if you are going long, I’m going to cut you off.
- Everyone must attend our conference call
- Everyone must speak during the presentation
- Everyone must be able to answer any of my questions about your project. This means everyone needs to know the pitch backwards and forwards. (I may ask how certain ideas connect, clarification or more information about your project’s plans)
- Have your Project Pitch and Website open when we start the call. You should expect that I may refer to either document at any time during your presentation.
- Begin early. Do some initial research/Googling about your topic.
- Make a rough outline of what you want to say in your prompt and divide up the writing.
- Write your text for your Project Pitch. Just the text, don’t do any formatting yet.
- Have a real time conversation about what’s been written and plan what to say in the conference call.
- Write your slide text.
- Decide who will edit and who will work on design. Usually things go better if fewer brains work on the designing portion to keep things cohesive and more people take up editing work. I suggest that if you are editing that you consider making an appointment with The Online Composition Hub to make sure that your text on both the slides and Pitch are perfect.
- Have a meeting of some kind over the weekend before turning in your slides and Pitch to make sure everyone is happy with the final results.
- Prep for our call and complete the call.
- Revise all documents with my suggestions and turn in final copies.
This is going to be a very time intensive project and you need to get a lot done quickly, but you have each other to split up the work. Don’t leave your presentation and document design until the last minute, as these are usually the most time consuming parts of the project.
- Slides due at time of CC
- Final written Pitch due 4/1, to D2L Dropbox
Final Project Pitch:
___ 25% Content Delivery: All directions have been followed and requirements have been met. Your project is submitted in the correct formats to the correct locations.
___ 25% Content Quality: Your pitch is convincing, well reasoned and well researched. You are using your credibility to persuade your audience that this is a worthwhile project and that your organization is invested in the topic.
___ 25% Document Design: Your design reflects your project’s mission, your organization’s standards for how you want your project to be received. There are no fuzzy pictures or unprofessional fonts. You have used the design knowledge you’ve gleaned from Dave Underwood’s lectures to format your document for usability and attractiveness.
___ 25% Style: Your text is flawlessly edited. Your text has a “unified” voice, meaning that it sounds as though your “group mind” wrote it, rather than 4-5 individuals. You have developed a tone and “voice” that is consistent throughout your brand.
___ 25% Content Delivery: You have followed all directions and fulfilled all requirements.
___ 25% Content Quality: Your slides reflect your Pitch, but do not regurgitate it verbatim. Your slides guide your audience’s attention, but do not distract them with unnecessary reading.
___ 25% Document Design: Your slides reflect your organization’s brand and show that you understand good principles of design, as taught to you by Dave Underwood’s tutorials and the other design tutorials we’ve consumed. There is no inconsistency in font size, color, etc. because different people worked on different slides.
___ 25% Style: There are absolutely no errors in your slides. There is no inconsistency tone, sentence length, format, etc. because different people worked on different slides.
___ 50% Content Delivery: Every group member attends call on time. Every group member speaks during your presentation. You have a designated “Driver” who will guide us when it’s time to change slides (you have practiced this method). You are in control of the presentation and I don’t have to prompt you or help you get going.
___ 50% Content Quality: You are conversational and friendly, but professional. You have treated this as a professional moment wherein I am a decision maker and you are asking for my approval. You may pretend you need my say-so to publish your website. You are convincing, polite, authentic and enthusiastic about your topic. All group members are equally knowledgeable about the content of the Pitch, though I will assume you each have areas of expertise.