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The Douglas Smith Award 2017

Background to the Douglas Smith Student Award

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


  • 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 – Deadline Noon 21 April 2017

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

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.

Good luck!

And don’t forget the deadline for entries is noon on 21 April 2017.

The judges

Jason MacKenzie FCIPR

Jason is a President, Executive Board Director and Council member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).


He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the CIPR and the British-American Project. He is also a Founding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner and a Chartered Marketer.

Jason is a PR and marketing strategist and trainer and has addressed conferences across the world, from Mexico City to Tehran. He frequently judges leading national PR awards, including the CIPR Excellence Awards, and is a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University and guest lecturer at various universities and learning organisations.

Committed to continuing professional development, Jason holds CIPR, CIM, IPA and PRCA qualifications and an MA in Public Relations.

LinkedIn: jasonmackenzieuk

Twitter: @jasonmackenzie


Liz Bridgen is Principal Lecturer in Public Relations at Sheffield  Hallam University, UK. 


Her research explores the lived experience of public relations practitioners with particular focus on gender,  diversity, and technologies.  Liz's work has been published in the  Journal of Media Practice and PRism and she has written about PR practice for numerous books and websites including PRStack and  Comms2Point0.  She has  delivered refereed papers at various EUPRERA conferences and at the BCN Public Relations conference, Barcelona, and BledCom, Slovenai.  She is the co-editor (with Dejan Verčič) of Experiencing Public Relations: International Voices to be published by Routledge in October 2017.  Prior to moving into academia, Liz worked in PR in both the UK and Iceland.

Twitter: @LizBridgen

Clare Parsons FCIPR

Clare is Chair and Co-Founder of Lansons a strategic reputation management consultancy.


Clare Parsons co-founded Lansons in 1989 and during the last 27 years, has advised global businesses through to entrepreneurs and start-ups, on reputation management and communication strategy.  She has held leading roles in the PR industry and advised and supported the not- for- profit sector, serving as a board trustee in the medical, arts and diversity sectors.  Leading the agency’s international business, Leading the agency’s international business, Clare is PROI Worldwide’s chair elect (effective 2018-2020) following serving as Vice Chair, EMEA Region between 2010 – 2012. She currently sits on the advisory board of the National Business Awards, is a trustee of HighTide Festival Theatre and is a patron of JDRF, RSC and Almeida. Clare was recognised with the Sir Stephen Tallents award by the CIPR for her contribution to the industry, where she was made a Fellow, and has been named one of Real Business magazine’s Top 100 Women UK Entrepreneurs.

Twitter: @ClareParsons_


Paget Langford-Holt

Paget is the Founding partner of Grupo Albión which he founded in 1991 and its Chairman and Chief Executive.


Paget began his professional career in investment banking, working for ten years in the UK and Spain. A French and Arabic graduate, he previously worked at C.T. Bowring, Samuel Montagu and Kleinwort Benson. He was responsible for the bank’s operations in Iberia within the international corporate finance division in London, later moving to Madrid to set up operations for the bank. He founded Grupo Albión in 1991, a corporate and financial communications consultancy, which now has a leading position in Iberia in capital markets communications and investor relations in Spain and Portugal. With 40 professionals working from offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Bogotá, the consultancy has associate offices in the leading financial centres of the world. 

Paget is former Chairman of the GFC/Net (Global Financial Communications Network), and was for a number of years on the board of Worldcom Public Relations Group (EMEA).


Twitter: @plholt

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