Brief released for Douglas Smith student award 2017

A team of three Sunderland students won in 2015

The Douglas Smith Student Award is an annual award now in its fourth year. Its aim is to encourage young PR talent and, in order to qualify, entrants have the task of developing an international campaign brief (see below for details).

The award was created in memory of Douglas Smith, founder and patron of CIPR International and a great supporter of young and emerging talent. It aims to encourage the next generation of PR practitioners to think internationally and creatively and is awarded to students who demonstrate talent in communications and an understanding of global PR.

Students on BA and MA Public Relations university courses in the UK are eligible.

The prize

The winning individual or team will receive a cheque for a total of £1,000 and a small crystal trophy.

Deadline for entries is noon on 21 April 2017

The brief

One of the most interesting – and challenging – issues that any practitioner will have to deal with is a company merger.  And the merger of any company becomes more challenging – and more interesting – when it is an international merger.

This is the challenge we are setting this year.  It involves health drinks company VitDrink taking over a division of GoodNutri, a health food company.  Both companies have offices in the Europe, Asia and Africa, and sell their products across all those markets. Both companies are listed.  The takeover will involve the closure of some plants and redundancies.  It will also mean that some of the products will change.

The task will demonstrate your understanding of different types of stakeholders, different cultures, together with an ability to compile an active programme.  We’re looking for entries which provide good analysis of the stakeholders involved, and which take a creative but efficient approach.  We are also looking for an outline of how you would evaluate the success of the programme.

The task

The task is to develop a communications plan for the takeover.  We are not expecting specific knowledge on dealing with listed companies – you only need to be aware that no communication can be undertaken until the announcement is made on the relevant stock exchange.  However, we would like you to demonstrate an understanding of the different stakeholders that might be involved in such a takeover, how you might communicate with them, and what the preparation process is.

The plan needs to incorporate:

  • Identification and explanation of the groups of stakeholders with whom you need to communicate
  • The preparation you need to do
  • A communications strategy and plan
  • An outline of different scenarios which could endanger the takeover

You will need to think about:

  1. Research to underpin your campaign
  2. Statement of key communication objectives
  3. The different cultures of your markets
  4. The messages you want to get across
  5. Your audiences
  6. The channel/s of communication and why you have chosen it/ them
  7. A creative approach
  8. Apportioning of expected budget
  9. The anticipated impact
  10. How you will monitor and measure the results

Please note that marks will be deducted if you include AVEs In your submission.

Your submission:

Entries should be no more than 1,500 words, plus a 100 word award entry summary to be published should your entry be shortlisted.

Your entry should be submitted as a single pdf document of no more than 2MB. It may include some or all of the following:

– A written proposal

– A video (using a link)

– Images

– A PowerPoint presentation

– Social media

Entries should be submitted by noon on 21 April 2017 to:

Eva Maclaine Found Chart PR, FCIPR (

The entry should contain

  1. Your final submission
  2. Any accompanying material
  3. The Douglas Smith Entry Form 2017 (available from your course leaders)

How will this award be judged?
The Douglas Smith Award is judged by a panel of senior practitioners and academics over the course of Spring/Summer 2017. Winners will subsequently be notified by email.

Speak Your Mind