Live Case – Project

Building a cohesive branding and marketing strategy

A Collaboration Between

Project Synopsis

Challenge: Lack of cohesive branding and marketing strategy means local stakeholders may not be aware of the work we do

Opportunity: Building templates and implementing strategies to create a cohesive branding and marketing presence
Reviewing and evaluating social media strategies, including content, channels

Local stakeholders, including government officials, journalists, activists, and community members, associate our name and branding with our work. We aim to be the first resource that comes to mind when someone is in need of services that we provide. Parents for Peace & Justice recognize that brand awareness increases opportunities for us to provide services to the communities and individuals we serve.We need your help increasing brand alignment, cohesiveness, and awareness. The Parents for Peace & Justice Board has tools in place to easily comply with brand standards. Activities we suggest for this project include but are not limited to evaluating assets including letterhead, logo, slogan, and website copy for unison in messaging and design; developing prototypes and recommendations for strategies and content.

Project Topics


PR & Communications

Company Information

CompanyParents for Peace & Justice
HQChicago, IL
StagePre-Revenue Startup
Hiring PotentialN/A

Company Overview

Parents for Peace and Justice (PPJ) was formed in 2013 by co-founders Elizabeth Ramirez, who lost her own son in an unsolved killing, and Robert Torres, who was touched and inspired by Elizabeth’s story -- and by her tireless passion to help others who suffered a similar fate.  PPJ, headquartered in Belmont Cragin, serves families affected by gun violence in the predominantly Latino neighborhoods of the Northwest side of Chicago: Humboldt Park, Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, and Logan Square. PPJ’s approach is three-pronged:
  1. Violence Prevention: addressing the violence before it happens through activity-focused youth programming 
  2. Healing Support: helping families cope with the enormous loss that results from violence
  3. Victim Advocacy: advocating for justice through vigils, media campaigns, and legislative advocacy
In recent years, Chicago’s crime rates have been making national headlines. Between 2015 and 2017, Chicago homicides surged by 58%, driving America’s overall spike in homicides. 2020 was been a particularly violent year in Chicago, with murders up by more than 37%. Violent crime remains disturbingly high in socio-economically disadvantaged areas of the cities, meaning the impact is felt most sharply in the city’s most marginalized communities. The immense grief caused by violence compounds with every new act, leaving a hurting community in desperate need of resources and relief. While local and state authorities work to address the issue at the policy level, Parents for Peace and Justice works on a grassroots level to fill in the gaps and help meet the community’s most immediate and urgent everyday needs. PPJ’s signature programs serve hundreds of children and adults in LatinX communities across Chicago. We provide:
  1. Mental health resources, including support groups, counseling, retreats, and workshops for mothers, fathers and siblings who lost a loved one to violence,
  2. Athletic camps and career workshops for children affected by gun violence, with mentorship from professional athletes and business leaders,
  3. Advocacy training for families learning to use their voices for positive change.

Experiential Learning Program Details

SchoolNorthern Illinois University (NIU)
Engagement FormatLive Case - Think "Hackathon" or Case Competition with a whole class of students! This learning format allows educators to deliver experiential learning to students at scale. Students are often split into groups to work on a live case (or a series of cases) from a real host company that directly relates to key learning objectives.
CourseBusiness in Action, Spring 2022 (Doughty) – Parents for Peace & Justice
  • All Undergraduate
Students Enrolled40
Meeting Day & TimeTues/Thurs
Student Time Commitment4-7 Hours Per Week
Company Time Commitment1 Hour
Duration13.14 Weeks

Program Timeline

Touchpoints & Assignments Due Date Type
Project Reveal

Project Reveal

Students are introduced the the project topics
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
Students Submit Project Preferences

Students Submit Project Preferences

Use this process to  elect your preferences and be assigned to project teams. [INSERT LINK]
February 2nd, 2022 Event na
STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

STUDENTS! Take the Project Kick-off Survey!

Take a few moments to complete this KICKOFF SURVEY before the project begins!
February 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Project Launch

Project Launch

[NEED TO COORDINATE with organization to schedule videoconferencing meeting with class]
February 21st, 2022 Event na
Milestone Deliverable 1 Due Milestone Deliverable 1 Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above.
March 7th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

STUDENTS! Let us know how you are doing!

Please take a few minutes to let us know how the project is going for you using this TEMPERATURE CHECK SURVEY
March 9th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 2 Deliverable Due Milestone 2 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
April 6th, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

STUDENTS! Let us know how the project is going!

Take this short survey to let us know how the project is going for you! [INSERT TEMP CHECK LINK]
April 11th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Milestone 3 Deliverable Due Milestone 3 Deliverable Due
Please upload your deliverable using the link above
May 2nd, 2022 Submission Required submission-required
STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

STUDENTS! Take a short survey on YOUR learning experience!

Please take a few minutes to complete this SELF ASSESSMENT SURVEY on your learning experience with this project!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

STUDENTS! Let us know about your observations and experiences working with YOUR PEERS on this project!

Please take a few minutes to complete this PEER EVALUATION SURVEY!
May 4th, 2022 Evaluation evaluation
Official Project End!

Official Project End!

Note: Schedule a time for student final virtual presentations to industry partners.
May 4th, 2022 Event na

Key Project Milestones

  • March 7, 2022 - Deep-dive into the Organization

    • What is the organization’s brand, including their history, mission, vision and goals?
    • What is the organization’s relationship to the community? What geographic area, subpopulations, etc. are served by the organization?
    • Who is the target audience of the brand? Resist the temptation to list only a few subpopulations and consider the categories and groups the organization aims to reach, connect with, etc.
    • What community, group, and individual needs does the organization meet, and how? How are their programs and services defined and organized?
    • Take inventory of the organization’s communications: website, brochures, emails, newsletters, annual report, fundraising appeals, mailings, social-media outreach.

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Infographic overview of the organization and current challenge (internal); communications inventory; questions for industry mentor

  • April 4, 2022 - Define the status quo and ideate solutions

    • Define the status quo by analyzing the organization’s current communication:
      • Does the material visually represent your organization?
      • Is there consistency in color, design, and layout?
      • Does it all look like one family, and does that family accurately represent your organizational
      • Are the messages compelling and interesting, and do they move people to action?
      • Do they tell your story in a way that makes you excited to share your story?
      • In addition to these criteria, what other factors are important when evaluating the quality of a non-profit’s branding strategy? What criteria are often used?
    • Brainstorm:
      • What is the brand promise of this organization?
      • What central messages can be used to establish an emotional connection with the target audience? To describe the benefit of the organization to individuals, groups, and communities?
      • What are the talking points? Strive to develop one set of talking points for each target audience that includes the following elements:
        • Who we are (description)
        • How we do it (programs and services that deliver your work)
        • Why you should care (specific to each audience)
        • What you can do (call to action, tell me how I can help)
      • Given your understanding of criteria used to evaluate non-profit brand strategies, what other ideas do you have for elevating the organization’s brand?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Communications assessment; Brainstorm recommendations for brand promise, central messages, and talking points for each audience. Presentation to obtain feedback from industry mentor.

  • May 4, 2022 - Present curated resources, prototypes, recommendations

    • What adjustments or updates are needed to improve the organization’s brand? For instance:
      • Photos, symbols, images
      • Messaging
      • Consistency
    • Can you provide examples or prototypes to support your recommendations?
    • How should you recommendations be implemented across different communication channels? Target audiences?
    • What communication channels do you recommend for increasing brand awareness, and why?
    • Can you provide estimated costs associated with your recommendations?
    • How can the organization evaluate the strategy you recommend?

    Suggested Deliverable:

    Branding Strategy Playbook & Prototypes; Presentation

Academic Mentors



[email protected]


Jason Gorham

[email protected]


Scott Rosenfelder

[email protected]


Neil Doughty

[email protected]


Elois Joseph 

[email protected]


Jenny Redisi 

[email protected]

Assigned Students

There are currently no students assigned.