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My response to Jay: Don’t be concerned with constraints, they only constrain you!

Students have boundless energy, even around the holidays.  Some even use break time to continue their educational experience.  Jay Dawkins, our former student body president and current senior class president, is one such student.  Jay and I have traded email messages about our strategic communications planning process for a few months now and his commitment to work with us on the project and the involvement of students across campus has been great.  He even spent time reading the Building Brand Momentum book during the past few weeks.

With that in mind, I’m using Jay’s energy and determination to kick off the new year for strategic communications planning.  I’ve got to admit though, I’m being lazy here and merely reposting an exchange we had recently over research and creativity.  Hope you enjoy.


In reading the brand momentum book, it put a lot of emphasis on data early on and got me thinking.

-Do we have before/after data from the LGA branding efforts? (anecdotally, LGA’s campaign results page on their website simply says:
“reactions to the work have been excellent.” http://lgaadv.com/#/capabilities/casestudies/)

-As far as prospective student/parent/high school influencer data, do we have anything?

-I was reading some of your thoughts on the role of a leader fostering creativity.  Will these constraints/scope be laid out formally or through discussion at our upcoming meetings?

The response to Jay:

Jay:  I have copies of several surveys in my office.  I can forward them to you for review or you can touch base with Lauren (Gregg)  or Bethany (DeGenova) to get copies. The surveys are all about opinions before any marketing so we really don’t have much work that looks at the effectiveness of the campaigns.

NOTE:  We hope to post these surveys on a “research and background information” Web page soon.

As far as creativity is concerned, there are no constraints.  People should feel free to think of the wildest things they can imagine.  You never know where the next great idea will come from.

When I was working on the campaign at Florida we had a couple of themes based on our research, “The University of Florida, an unparalleled university experience that lasts a lifetime,” and “Brightest minds under the sun.”  Both were okay and very collegiate, but tough to build an external campaign around.  We kicked around a lot of ideas, most of them typical to higher education.  Things like “It’s performance that counts” and “Where tomorrow’s leaders meet today.”

Then we asked ourselves just what do we create at UF that nobody else creates.  After — again — the typical things like, graduates, students ready for the real world, tomorrow’s leaders, etc., we said we produce Gators…a city of Gators, a state of Gators, a nation of Gators…The Gator Nation…The University of Florida, The Foundation for The Gator Nation.  Talk about a leap.

So don’t be concerned with constraints, they only constrain you!

Happy New Year.


P.S. — If you don’t mind, I’d like to post our exchange on the Blog.  You raise several good questions and issues I want to deal with and my response is a good way to get into some of that.

DONE!  And thank you Jay Dawkins for your Passion and commitment to NC State.  I’ve got a feeling that 2010 is going to be one of those years that we all tell our friends about 10 years from now.  New strategic communications plan, new marketing campaign, new Chancellor.  Little things to some, but things that will impact the future of this great university for years to come.

Passion Rules!

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1 comment

1 Craig McDuffie { 01.05.10 at 7:09 pm }

More on data gathering as part of the design thinking process of problem solving… I was just reading the “ethnography primer” from the AIGA Web site (www.aiga.org/content.cfm/ethnography-primer) and wondered how it might apply to developing NC State’s communications/marketing strategy. It seems like the large, diverse group of volunteers you have assembled could also function as ethnographers, observing, gathering information and reporting on what makes NC State people unique. Do we have a little time to look at ourselves for answers? What do we already do that makes us a Wolfpack?

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