15% of grade
What’s in it for You? The ability to draw insights from past experience and apply them to new situations is a huge differentiator. So is the ability to clearly articulate your thoughts.
By now, you’ve done your fair share of PowerPoint presentations. And let’s face it: Written communication is still important in today’s business world. Don’t believe us? Maybe some of the world’s top CEOs will convince you. ← (Hint! READ THIS.)
That’s why we’re giving you the opportunity to practice these skills through a different approach to case study analyses this semester: Presenting your analysis as a thorough email/executive memo.
Instructions & How to Optimize Your Grade:
Imagine you are a digital marketing consultant. You’ve been hired to help an organization use digital and social media to build upon their strengths and opportunities and/or address their weaknesses and threats. The organization can be a current/past employer/client, your dream employer/client or even your fictional capstone leadership.
Your case analysis will take shape as a thorough email/memo to an executive within this organization. You will apply insights from the case and class discussion/readings to make strategic recommendations that will help this organization more successfully achieve its objectives.
At the top of your email/memo, please include the following formatting to help your instructors understand context for the submission:
- To: [Insert Executive Title, including Company Name]
- From: [Insert Your Name, Social Media & Content Marketing Strategic Consultant]
- Subject: [Insights from “Insert Case Study Title” – Insert Key Takeaway]
- Date: [Insert case analysis due date]
While there is no one particular style for a good case study analysis, there are some common elements to excellent submissions:
- Critical Thinking Counts: Apply our class discussions and readings. Do additional research to find relevant benchmarks/examples that you can apply. We want more than a repeat of what’s stated in the case or a reading; we want to see your unique thoughts and analysis. Take a stand and provide a clear point of view on the issue/opportunity you are addressing. Your analysis should provide some advice to the executive decision-maker.
Note: Do not repeat answers to each and every one of the class discussion questions verbatim in your email/memos. The questions and discussion are meant to inform your critical thinking for how to apply these concepts in a way that’s relevant to the recipient of your message.
- Format and Design Considerations: There is no page minimum or maximum for this assignment. In the past, successful submissions have ranged from three to five pages, single space (Arial / Times Roman size 11/12 font, for example).
Consider audience experience when writing your analysis. Use headers, bold fonts, bullets and other techniques to make your writing easily scannable.
You may embed relevant charts, images, links or screen grabs or include them in an appendix. If you use screen grabs, please include a link to the source URL.
- Notes and Citations: It’s helpful to see which citations applied to your thoughts. Cite specific details regarding key facts and issues of the case. Instead of general observations that apply to any problem, use details from the case study itself. Analyses, observations, and suggestions should be tied directly to those details. At a minimum, we will look for you to draw on the other readings in the course to inform and support your arguments. Higher grades will be awarded to those who use evidence from beyond the course, such as outside research. Provide a balanced perspective. Consider both the pros and cons of your opinion or recommendation.
See an example of a past memo that earned A+ grade: MIS 5603 Case Study Memo Example 2020.
MIS 5603: You’ll have flexibility to choose ONE case to analyze for a written deliverable. This will allow you to select the case that’s most relevant to your personal experience and goals, while also balancing your workload over the course of the semester. Your analysis is due one week from the date the case is discussed in class.
- Sept. 8: MIS 5603 Option A analysis featuring the Peloton case
- Oct. 20: MIS 5603 Option B analysis featuring the Glossier case
Evaluation Criteria: See the rubric on our Canvas site for details on criteria including assignment delivery, clarity, rationale, comprehension and perspective.
Case Study Discussion Dates & Questions
Remember! The questions below are meant to spark a lively discussion and inspire your critical thinking. Take notes on these questions as you read the case and come to class prepared to contribute your thoughts. Participation here is important: You may get ideas for your e-portfolio or case analysis assignments from your classmates.
WestJet: A New Social Media Strategy
Discussion Date: Sept. 1 (Content & Channel Strategy)
- What are the challenges and opportunities associated with employees who create social media accounts on behalf of the brands for which they work?
- How has social media provided WestJet a distinct competitive advantage?
- Aside from “how would it be supported” and “how would it be utilized,” what other questions do you think WestJet’s leadership would have about the addition of a new social platform? Address how the factors of softening revenue, demand environment and internal cost reduction may also affect decision-making process.
- Which platform would you recommend WestJet pursue (Snapchat or Pinterest)? Why?
Best Self or Best Company? Peloton Searches for a Voice [ANALYSIS OPTION A]
Discussion Date: Sept. 1 (Content & Channel Strategy)
- Peloton had many spokespeople, ranging from CEO Foley to avid customers who lauded the community they joined. Peloton instructors had public profiles and prolific social media activity. Which was most valuable to the company and why? Which platforms were most valuable?
- What role does social integration and gamification play in driving Peloton’s success?
- Can you draw correlations between how Peloton and other businesses use a sense of community to differentiate themselves? What stands out as unique or a particular challenge?
- How does Peloton’s advertising and paid media strategy resonate with its current and potential customer communities? What specific examples stand out, and what can they learn from the community reactions?
David Dao and United Airlines
Discussion Date: Sept. 8 (Audience Strategy)
- Why is transparency more important than ever for organizations? Consider the role visuals (photo/video) can play in accelerating or mitigating crises.
- What is the role of today’s CEO and/or executive leadership team in addressing crises that go viral online? How might this vary among privately and publicly held companies and/or regulated industries?
- How can organizations prepare their social media and customer service teams for crises? Think about adaptability and flexibility; authority and accountability; and the “customer is always right” philosophy.
- What infrastructure and resources are necessary for organizations to be present, listen and engage everywhere stakeholders are talking?
Building a Social Media Culture at Dell
Discussion Date: Oct. 6 (Operations & Governance Strategy)
- What impact did centralization have on Dell’s initial social media strategy? Why do you think Dell evolved that approach? How do you think Dell’s organizational structure influenced that evolution?
- What kind of investment do you think the Social Media and Community University takes? What alternative educational approaches might other organizations follow—and why?
- How important is it to tie employee and leader performance metrics to the use of social media?
- What do you think are the main differences between an organization that uses social media, and a social business?
Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand [ANALYSIS OPTION B]
Discussion Date: Oct. 13 (Campaign & Measurement Strategy)
- How did Into the Gloss’ blog content and social media listening strategy inform Glossier’s launch and product strategy?
- How did Into the Gloss’ social media community inform Glossier’s brand identity and future content strategy?
- How did Glossier move from a primarily owned media content strategy toward a more integrated strategy incorporating earned and paid media? What were the key elements, and how did they create opportunity?
- How would creating physical gathering spaces for the Glossier community in the form of pop-up showrooms add value to a business with an already-engaged online community? What risks did Glossier need to consider with this strategy?