Individual Essay Project on the NBA

Research, data, and interpretation are critical skills in helping build or manage a brand. So are feelings, intuition, and instinct. Each student will develop an independent, structured eight- to twelve-page essay that evaluates the core characteristics of a brand within the context of various cultural movements and shifts taking place today. The essay will include a recommendation for the brand on how it should respond or participate or shape public discourse around exogenous changes. For the final class, the instructor will group students by brand for a brief presentation of their findings.

Executive Summary – Write this last after you’ve assembled all research and assessed the brand and cultural influences. (~150-200 words)
Brand Analysis – Summarize research findings and points of view. (~1,000 words)
Core Purpose – What is the reason the company exists beyond making a profit
Vision – What is the story the leadership of the organization tells to explain “how” it will achieve its mission?
Values – What are the core cultural (internal) beliefs and philosophies the brand holds sacred?
Personality – What is the brand tone and voice for receptivity and resonance among their target customers?
Capabilities & Features – How does the brand measure its ability to achieve its stated mission?
Core Competencies – What are the related abilities, commitments, knowledge, and skills that enable the brand to perform effectively?
Competition & Benchmarks – With whom does the brand most directly compete with in the marketplace? Also, what other brands should the brand model or mimic for greater effectiveness?
Target Audience – What is the addressable population of its brand offerings and messages?
Needs & Objections – What are the unmet needs the brand hopes to fulfill? And what are the top reasons the audience may reject the brand or disbelief its commitments to customers and stakeholders?
Big Idea/Brand Essence – What is the evergreen, differentiating phrase that provides inspiration and focus for the brand?
Value Proposition – What is the set of functional, emotional, and social benefits of the brand? Specifically, how does the brand fulfill audience needs?
Proof Points – Why should audiences believe we do this best or do this within the brand’s mission? What supports audiences reasons to believe and to act?
Desired Outcome – What in the customers own language is the single statement most desired by audiences, customers, and stakeholders?
Cultural Analysis – Summarize trend findings and points of view. This section should be tailored to the brand you’re studying (the list below is a simple guide for your research and consideration). Note that not all of categories below are relevant for your brand and they’re not specific enough, so only write up analyses for the top three that may affect your brand. (~750 words)
Global – What are the global trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: COVID-19, globalism, climate change, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Social – What are the social trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: #metoo or #timesup, Black Lives Matter, healthcare and healthy living, organic foods, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Technological – What are the technological trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: autonomous cars, remote learning and business, social media manipulations, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Governmental/Political – What are the governmental and political trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: political polarization, institutional trust declines, regulation/deregulation or the threat of either, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Ethical – What are the ethical trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: social media responsibilities for governing hate speech, data privacy and usage, fair trade, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Economic – What are the economic trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: income disparity/wage gaps, UBI (universal basic income), etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Demographic – What are the demographic trends that might affect how your brand behaves in the marketplace? Examples: Aging population, urban flight, etc.
Summarize the top two or three. One sentence or two for each.
Provide a detailed analysis of why you selected these for consideration.
Trend Selection – Summarize how your brand and cultural analyses fit together. For this section, you should focus on one primary trend you think best addresses opportunities and threats facing the brand given the external cultural shifts in the marketplace. (~500 words)
Top-Down – How does your brand’s mission statement, strategy, and go-to-market approach fit with the primary trend you believe most important for the brand to address?
Bottom-Up – How does the brand’s current or planned product or service or positioning approaches relate to the primary trend you’ve identified?
Outside-In – How are other brands (competitors or benchmarks) tackling the primary trend you’ve identified? This is intended to provoke new perspectives on the subject.
Conclusion – Based on your findings and research, provide a strong perspective or recommendation on how your chosen brand should embrace, engage, and innovate it’s story for key audiences. (~250 words)
Appendix
Archetype, Subtype, Artifacts, Values, & Assumptions
SWOT Analysis
Brand Essence Wheel
Consumer Trend Radar
Consumer Trend Canvas

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