USF Client Research and Audience Centered Communication Acquisition Report

Description

The client is Univerity of South Florida
Overview
Regardless of where in the world you are working or who you are working with, developing a comprehensive understanding of the clients, organizations, manufactures, businesses, and industry leaders that you work with is key to your professional success.
In the “Self Assessment 1” assignment you completed, you considered how culture impacts your perspectives, expectations, interpretations, and world views. In this assignment, you will conduct research about your assigned client to develop a comprehensive understanding of your client, including their background, interests, goals, professional and corporate culture, and, as applicable, their philanthropy.
Businesses are often conceptualized as one-dimensional entities who operate based on the single goal of making as much money as possible. While ensuring that a business is profitable is obviously necessary, businesses, like the people who run them, have varied interests and perspectives, as well as different beliefs about what is valuable or what expenses are worthwhile. For example, through their Innovative Learning program, Verizon (Links to an external site.) has recently begun working with Title 1 schools to integrate technology throughout the schools and disseminate devices to the students. Additionally, they are building high tech STEM labs in middle schools (and are soon expanding to high schools), and have worked with ASU to help develop appropriate STEM curricula and implement teacher training. In addition to accessibility and education, Verizon also has sustainability goals (Links to an external site.), goals for human prosperity (see their Reskilling and Upskilling (Links to an external site.) and Employee Volunteers (Links to an external site.) pages), and offers a variety of grants (Links to an external site.).
Similarly, your prospective clients understand themselves as fitting in with and being part of the communities they exist in in some way. As a professional, you must develop a comprehensive understanding of your clients’ values, perspectives, and needs in order to develop solutions that help them achieve their goals.
Purpose
To develop a comprehensive understanding of your client, including:

Your client’s history
Your client’s values
Your client’s goals
Your client’s needs
Your client’s goals and objectives
Your client’s cultural perspective
Your client’s identity, including:

how they describe their organizational identity
how they are perceived within the community
how their actions/policies/etc. support their projected and perceived identities

How your client is embedded in their community, including:

how they understand their role within the larger community
how community members understand their role within the larger community
how your client actually functions as part of the larger community, as evidenced by past, current, and future projects, etc.

As well as to develop audience centered communication competencies, including:

Audience appropriate openings and closings in emails
Clear, complete, and targeted messages
Understanding what the specific audience you are addressing needs or wants from you
Thinking about your message from the perspective of your specific audience
Organizing information and/or messages so it is easy for your specific audience to follow and understand your message
Using standard formatting to make your message clear, organized, easy to read, and professional in appearance

Objectives
Through the analysis of an assigned client, this assignment develops a foundation for achieving the following GenEd Human and Cultural Diversity assessment objective:

SLO1: Demonstrate the ability to see issues from the perspective(s) of other groups/cultures by describing the values and communication styles found in groups different from one’s own and the way in which those differences can affect styles of verbal and nonverbal communication.
Satisfactory: 1) Student demonstrates adequate understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another group/culture. 2) Student recognizes and participates in cultural differences in communication and begins to negotiate a shared understanding based on those differences
Exceeds Expectations: 1) Student demonstrates sophisticated understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture. 2) Student articulates a deep understanding of group/cultural differences and is able to skillfully negotiate a shared understanding based on those differences.

Assignment Overview and Prompt
For this assignment, you will respond to a prompt, which is presented as an email from your project manager, Maya Harris. As such, you will respond to the prompt as though you are responding to an email.
Because you are responding to an email from your project manager Maya Harris, it is important that you write your response as though you are actually responding to your project manager. 
PROMPT
Client Acquisition
Maya Harris
Tuesday, 6/8/2021 8:13 AM
To: You
Good Morning,
I hope you had a restful weekend and got a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather.
As I explained in the project review meeting last week, I want to acquire [your assigned client’s name]. As you know I’m interested in pursuing some new sustainability projects, and [your assigned client’s name] has expressed interest in moving in that direction. But we’ll need to come up with something innovative and inspiring to get their attention.
To get us started, each of the members of your team are going to do research and analysis on this client to figure out where they’re coming from, where they want to be, and where they see themselves in the future. Then, we will show them that we can help them achieve their vision of the future.
Get me a report on [your assigned client’s name] by next week. I want to know them by the time I’m done reading, and I want you living and breathing them by the time you’re done with your report.
I also want you to look into some of the sustainability accomplishments of similar entities, both domestic and abroad. This is going to help inspire us as we think through what we can do for our target client, and it will also help our target client get a look at the bigger picture. In your report, include 1) a domestic example of an entity that is very similar to our target client (same field obviously, but also similar in size, scope, issues they’re facing, etc.) who has completed or has nearly completed one or more significant sustainability projects, and 2) an international example of a similar entity (again, same field, as well as similar size, scope, etc.) who has completed or has nearly completed one or more significant sustainability projects. For both the domestic and international comparisons, make sure you include a brief background, quick comparison to our target client, and a few bullet points describing each sustainability project, costs, goals, and any reported impacts. This part of the report needs to really demonstrate the global reach of the kind of sustainability-based project we are seeking to develop.
I’m putting everyone on this individually because all of you need to know this client inside and out, and some of you will find things that others might miss. Plus, some of you will be more thorough than others and I want to know who those people are.
Looking forward to your reports.

MH
Things to Consider
Audience Centered Communication
Because the primary audience for your report is your project manager, Maya Harris, you must consider her expectations, preferences, communication style, requests, and perspective as you complete your report. Below are some things that you know about your boss:
What you know about Maya Harris:

The youngest of 4 children, Maya Harris lived in New Zealand until she was 15. At 15, her parents (from Ghana and Norway), both doctors who worked with Doctors Without Borders, accepted teaching positions at Stanford University in California.
Maya holds a BS in Chemistry and Soil Science (California Polytechnic State University), and a MA and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering (UC Berkeley).
Maya Harris has worked for: The DOD; Caltrans; General Motors; and Equipoise Corporation.
As a project manager, Maya Harris concurrently oversees 1-7 projects at a time, depending on project scope and client profile. The firm entrusts Harris with many of its most important projects.
Harris boasts a portfolio full of large, high profile projects and highly sought after clients. She is well known for her organization, thoroughness, creative thinking, and leadership.
She expects high quality, innovative, thoughtful, and thorough work from her teams.
She is always on the lookout for excellent team members, and has a knack for building symbiotic teams, improving her teams’ and firm’s competitive edge and rates of success.
Harris expects team members to be resourceful, reliable, and collaborative. 

Getting Answers to Your Questions
In professional instances like this, your superiors are likely to assume that you have knowledge that you may not actually have. For example, what information is she expecting in the report? How should it be formatted? What citation style should you use? Often times, co-workers or office administrators are great resources for answers to these kinds of questions, and many companies have specific format guidelines for various document types. But sometimes you’ll need to use your best judgement, and you must always take your specific audience into account to make your work shine.
In this case, we will assume that you’re new to the company, and aren’t really sure what to do. Thankfully, you have a friend who works for the same company, so you ask them for guidance. This is what they tell you:

Citation Style: The firm you work for, Engineering Solutions, uses IEEE citation style (Links to an external site.)  (as you suspected!)
Cite. Your. Sources. Even though you are expected to use your own words in this report, you must provide in-text citations for your information sources. All of your future bosses, clients, etc. don’t just want to know that you’ve done your research, they want to know where you got your information, and in many cases they’ll want to take a closer look at the information you have shared with them. So tell them where you got your information and data throughout the entire report.
In addition to including all of your references at the end, you must provide in-text citations throughout your report. Yes, you’re using your own words, but the main point of citing sources is to show where you got your information and ideas.
What to Include: Client research reports must always include:

Background and history of your potential client 

In addition to providing valuable information for your company, your team must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of your potential client that shows the client that you are invested in them, not just the money you’ll make if you win the bid. Review the sample proposal provided to you to see what this looks like in practice.

Information about the specific area where you plan to implement your project idea, including a history of the area, relevant population and demographic information, and information about the physical attributes of the area 

Your project location will most likely be in the Tampa or Saint Petersburg area (although you are not limited to these areas). Your Project Location Information section will include a history of the area as well as demographic information about the population, and the physical attributes of the area, including information about elevation, soil and drainage, flood information, weather patters, days of sun, etc.

Client values and/or goals, as publicly stated via mission statements/”About” info on websites, as well as via any relevant news articles

Instances of the client taking actions or implementing policies that support their value claims, such as a company who claims to have/support strong family values who also offers 12 months paid maternity leave to employees 

List of 3-4 recently completed, current/ongoing, and planned projects with a 3-5 sentence summary about each project, listed in descending order of recency
However, different project managers will want some additional info, too, and Maya Harris is well known for her thoroughness, organization, and planning. This means you’ll need to include the additional information that she specifically requested in her email.

Document Formatting: Concerning report formatting…. well, when your friend started explaining it to you your eyes glazed over, so they emailed you this empty shell document Download this empty shell documentthat has the general format they usually use laid out for you. Your friend even included some general directions for what you must include in each section!
But remember, you’ll need to add headings and subheadings for the additional information that your boss asked for in her email.
You can also change the style as you see fit, create a different cover page, etc.
Content Expectations: As a competent engineer, employee, and team member, you are expected provide a clear, well organized, and thoughtful report of your research. In other words, you are expected to conduct research about your client and, in your own words, summarize your research for your boss via this report. 
It is extremely unlikely that you will ever be asked to generate a report with the expectation that you’ll copy and paste the results of your Google search into a document, stamp your name on it, and call it a report. That kind of careless and lazy “work” is likely to be poorly received, and could be grounds for reprimand or even termination, depending on factors such as plagiarism.
You are expected to keep direct quotes to a minimum. Only use direct quotes when necessary, or if you are including the specific wording of a policy, slogan, goal, etc. and it is important to keep the exact wording used by the source.

*QUESTION PENALTY OVERVIEW*
This assignment has two overarching purposes:

to develop a comprehensive understanding of your client
and to develop audience centered communication competency.

As such, you are expected to carefully and thoughtfully consider all aspects of this assignment based on your understanding of your boss’s perspective and expectations (your boss is Maya Harris).
In order to aid your independent thought and communication competency development, teams’ average score totals (the total that will be shown on the score board, not your individual grades) will be issued a 5 point deduction for every instance where more than one question is asked per team, more than one team member asks a question, or a question is asked that is answered/addressed/linked in the assignment description/assignment document, or that can be answered fairly easily via internet research or group discussion. Therefore, it would be wise to discuss your questions and thoughts with your team members first, to only ask a question that is deemed very important by the entire team and unanswerable via internet research or discussion, and to specifically assign one person to ask the question on behalf of the entire team.

To be clear: This assignment is an INDIVIDUAL assignment, and is NOT collaborative; however, the question penalty will encourage independent thinking as well as help you simultaneously develop self- and team-reliance. 
The penalty is also based on your target audience’s preferences and characteristics; asking your boss a bunch of questions that you could probably think through and work out yourself, or with the aid of some group discussion or a quick internet search would reflect poorly on you and on your team. 
The penalty will affect your team’s overall standings, but will not impact your individual grade.

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Re: Client Acquisition
[Your Name]
Tuesday, 6/15/2021 5:00 PM
To: Maya Harris
[Include your email message here. First, include an appropriate greeting. Next, explain that you have
completed the report, that it is attached as a PDF, and then summarize the content of the report.
Finally, end with an invitation for questions or/and discussion, and an appropriate sign-off.]
[REPORT TITLE]
[Document title]
[Document subtitle]
Abstract
[Draw your reader in with an engaging abstract. It is typically a short summary of the document.
When you’re ready to add your content, just click here and start typing.]
[Your Name]
[Email address]
[Your Name]
i
[REPORT TITLE]
Contents
Client Background and History ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Project Location Information ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Client Values and Goals………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
EXAMPLE 1: Climate Action ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Goals ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Supporting Actions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
EXAMPLE 2: Family Values ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Goals ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Supporting Actions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Overview of Client Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability, Resilience, and Environmental and
Wildlife Preservation……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
Current Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability, Resilience, and Environmental and Wildlife
Preservation ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 2
Recently Completed Projects and Initiatives ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 3
Future Projects and Initiatives …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 3
References …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Take a look at this helpful tutorial on creating and managing your Table of Contents in Word [1].
[Your Name]
ii
Client Background and History
~1 – 2 paragraphs (sometimes up to 3 depending on the client)
For tips on using Microsoft Word styles, see this linked YouTube video [2].
Project Location Information
Include general location history, population and demographic data, and notes about the physical
attributes of the location; this section is usually formatted with the general history as a short paragraph
at the top, with a table including the data and topographical notes under that.
See these resources for tips on creating and formatting tables in Microsoft Word:
•
•
How to Create and Customize Tables in Microsoft Word [3]
8 Formatting Tips for Perfect Tables in Microsoft Word [3]
Client Values and Goals
This section will include an overview of your client’s values and/or goals, as publicly stated via mission
statements/”About” info on websites, as well as via any relevant news articles. Under the “Client Values
and Goals” heading, provide a short description of the client’s general values, goals, etc. as you
understand them.
Larger clients often have a broader set of values and goals, in which case you’ll write a broad overview,
then create a secondary heading for each stated value, with relevant goals in a tertiary heading under it.
For example, if your client claims to want to secure the future via climate action and have strong family
values, then your formatting will look like this:
EXAMPLE 1: Climate Action
2-4 sentence summary of this value, as stated by the client
Goals
•
Bullet point any goals attached to this value
Supporting Actions
Here, you’ll include instances of the client taking actions or implementing policies that support their
value claims. This is important for assessing how seriously the client supports their claimed values and is
pursuing their stated goals. It is also important for us to understand how the client takes action on their
stated values and goals, and can help us develop our project idea in a way that supports the client’s
values and goals logistically and makes them feel good about implementing the project.
EXAMPLE 2: Family Values
2-4 sentence summary of this value, as stated by the client
Goals
•
Bullet point any goals attached to this value
[Your Name]
Page |1
[REPORT TITLE]
Supporting Actions
In this subsection, you’ll include instances of the client taking actions or implementing policies that
support their value claims, such as a company who claims to have/support strong family values who also
offers 12 months paid maternity leave to employees, for example:
•
•
[Client’s name] offers 12 months paid leave for births and adoptions. If both parents work for
the company, they both get the benefit and can split it up, as long as all of it is used within 2
years of the birth or adoption.
o Unused PTO will be carried over into sick-leave, with the goal of giving parents increased
flexibility to stay home with their sick children when necessary
[Client’s name] also offers subsidized on-site daycare and preschool
Overview of Client Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability,
Resilience, and Environmental and Wildlife Preservation
[Provide a brief overview of this section that describes what is included in this section. ~3-5 sentences]
Current Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability, Resilience, and Environmental
and Wildlife Preservation
[Provide a brief overview of what your client is up to: e.g., “Rollin Oats Market1 is currently engaged in
three sustainability-based initiatives, including one project with the stated goal of enhancing wildlife
preservation efforts along the Gulf of Mexico. The client is poised to complete significant supply chain
changes that will put them on track to reach their carbon neutrality goal by 2027, a full three years
ahead of their initial target date.”]
[Include all current/ongoing projects and initiatives related to sustainability, resilience, and
environmental and wildlife protection. If you find that your client is not currently engaged in any
sustainability, resilience, or environmental and wildlife preservation based projects or initiatives, then
you will: 1) write a statement that explains this fact and that you have instead included a sample of their
other ongoing projects, 2) include their other ongoing projects, not to exceed 4 projects]
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title]
Project started: [date started]. Target completion: [date/year of target completion]. Anticipated cost:
[cost]. Brief (3-5 sentence) description of the project.
Recently Completed Projects and Initiatives
[Provide a brief overview of what your client has been doing for the past decade: e.g., “Rollin Oats
Market has consistently taken on sustainability-based projects since they opened in 1994. These
projects have served to situate sustainability as central to healthful living, which has subsequently
promoted and encouraged sustainable practices among their health-minded clientele. Since 2010, Rollin
Oats Market has completed four major projects and has implemented two smaller but highly impactful
initiatives.”]
1
NOTE: all statements about the goals and sustainability projects of Rollin Oats Market are made up – while they
are a health oriented grocery store that engages sustainable practices, I have no idea what projects they are doing
or planning.
[Your Name]
ii
[REPORT TITLE]
[Include all sustainability, resilience, and environmental and wildlife preservation related projects
completed from 2010-present.]
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title]
Project duration: [date started-date ended]. Total cost: [cost]. [Brief (3-5 sentence) description of the
project and what it accomplished.]
Future Projects and Initiatives
[Provide a brief overview of what your client has planned for the future: e.g., “The next phase of Rollin
Oats Market’s carbon neutrality plan is focused on energy. Beginning next year, Rollin Oats Market will
transition their fleet to fully electric trucks. After that, the company plans to persue a carbon negative
status. Although there are currently no definite projects planned, their goal is energy independence and
carbon sequestration.”]
[Include all known future projects and initiatives. If your client is the FDOT, limit projects to those that
are planned for the Greater Tampa Bay Area as well as those in other parts of the state that are related
to sustainability, resilience, and environmental and wildlife preservation]
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title]
[Planned start date: [date/year]. Anticipated cost: [cost] Brief (3-5 sentence) description of the project.]
[Your Name]
iii
[REPORT TITLE]
References
[1] M. Gunnell, “How to Create and Manage a Table of Contents in Word,” How-to Geek, 12 July 2019.
[Online]. Available: https://www.howtogeek.com/426644/how-to-create-a-table-of-contents-inword/. [Accessed 2 June 2021].
[2] K. Stratvert, “How to Use Styles in Microsoft Word,” 10 May 2020. [Online]. Available:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOVU6qQ2iOM. [Accessed 5 June 2021].
[3] O. W. L. Purdue, “IEEE Overview,” 2021. [Online]. Available:
https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/ieee_style/ieee_overview.html. [Accessed 5
June 2021].
[4] “Academician Help,” 22 February 2020. [Online]. Available:
https://www.academicianhelp.co.uk/blog/a-quick-guide-to-ieee-referencing-in-microsoft-word.
[Accessed 5 June 2021].
[5] Microsoft, “Create a bibliography, citations, and references,” 2021. [Online]. Available:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/create-a-bibliography-citations-and-references17686589-4824-4940-9c69-342c289fa2a5. [Accessed 5 June 2021].
Use IEEE style for the reference page. Of course as a professional engineer you’ve definitely used this
style before, but just in case you need a refresher, here’s a link to the Purdue IEEE Overview page [3]
(with links to the Reference List page, too).
Remember, your citations will be listed and numbered according to the order in which they appear in
the report. This is easy to do if you set it up in Word. This linked website offers step-by-step instructions
on how to use Microsoft Word’s reference tools to help you manage your IEEE references [4].
If you want some additional info, take a look at this Microsoft Support tutorial about managing your
references [5].
[Your Name]
iv
Re: Client Acquisition
[Your Name]
Tuesday, 6/15/2021 5:00 PM
To: Maya Harris
[Include your email message here. First, include an appropriate greeting. Next, explain that you have
completed the report, that it is attached as a PDF, and then summarize the content of the report.
Finally, end with an invitation for questions or/and discussion, and an appropriate sign-off.]
[REPORT TITLE]
[Document title]
[Document subtitle]
Abstract
[Draw your reader in with an engaging abstract. It is typically a short summary of the document.
When you’re ready to add your content, just click here and start typing.]
[Your Name]
[Email address]
[Your Name]
i
[REPORT TITLE]
Contents
Client Background and History ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Project Location Information ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Client Values and Goals………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
EXAMPLE 1: Climate Action ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Goals ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Supporting Actions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
EXAMPLE 2: Family Values ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
Goals ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Supporting Actions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Overview of Client Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability, Resilience, and Environmental and
Wildlife Preservation……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
Current Projects and Initiatives Related to Sustainability, Resilience, and Environmental and Wildlife
Preservation ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 2
Recently Completed Projects and Initiatives ……………………………………………………………………………….. 2
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 3
Future Projects and Initiatives …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
[Project/Initiative Name or Descriptive Title] …………………………………………………………………………… 3
References …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Take a look at this helpful tutorial on creating and managing your Table of Contents in Word [1].
[Your Name]
ii
Client Background and History
~1 – 2 paragraphs (sometimes up to 3 depending on the client)
For tips on using Microsoft Word styles, see this linked YouTube video [2].
Project Location Information
Include general location history, population and demographic data, and notes about the physical
attributes of the location; this section is usually formatted with the general history as a short paragraph
at the top, with a table including the data and topographical notes under that.
See these resources for tips on creating and formatting tables in Microsoft Word:
•
•
How to Create and Customize Tables in Microsoft Word [3]
8 Formatting Tips for Perfect Tables in Microsoft Word [3]
Client Values and Goals
This section will include an overview of your client’s values and/or goals, as publicly stated via mission
statements/”About” info on websites, as well as via any relevant news articles. Under the “Client Values
and Goals” heading, provide a short description of the client’s general values, goals, etc. as you
understand them.
Larger clients often have a broader set of values and goals, in which case you’ll write a broad overview,
then create a secondary heading for each st