Archive for January, 2010

| posted by Joe Hice |

Lady Gaga says: Do different Proud

Take a cue from Lady Gaga; Do Different proud, Not Meek. One thing we can all learn is how to do something full out. If you’re going to be different, then be different. To do it half way just takes away from doing it at all. It falls short of its intended purpose. Stand behind your bubble outfit or burning your lover and your bed with your bra that fires sparks. Don’t talk about it or the why of it all. Just create. Just do.

How are you doing things differently? Is your creativity bound by something, and if so, why?  As I’ve said before, don’t let the constraints constrain you.

Passion Rules!


| posted by Joe Hice |

Going from here at NCSU

Today’s Op-Ed piece from the News & Observer’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jim Jenkins highlights the opportunities at NC State University now that Randy Woodson has been selected to be the new Chancellor.

“Randy Woodson is a most fortunate fellow, and he seems to know it. The new chancellor at N.C. State University included in his remarks upon confirmation by the UNC system’s Board of Governors some gratitude and some humor. It was a polite, gracious and low-key beginning.”

Read the rest of the story here:

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Is NC State University a Branded House or a House of Brands?

Been having a good conversation with David Green over at the College of Veterinary Medicine regarding branding strategies for NC State and other universities and it occurred to me that the discussion is similar to those I had at Harley-Davidson and Sea-Doo back in the days.

The discussion was around branding strategies.  Brand strategies typically fall on one end of a branding continuum often referred to as a brand spectrum. At one end, you have a “branded house” strategy, where the “big” brand is firmly established and plays the driving role across all product offerings.  At the other end is the “house of brands” strategy where  the larger brand is behind the scenes and often unnoticed.

Harley was clearly a branded house. The products (motorcycles, motor clothes, accessories, etc.) were closely tied to the Harley-Davidson name.  At Sea-Doo it was the other way around.  Sea-Doo was owned by Bombardier Inc. and you rarely, if ever, heard that name in marketing.  You had Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Lear Jet, Challenger, etc.  All were/are part of the Bombardier family of products.

You can probably think of other consumer brands and put them in the appropriate brand buckets.  Apple is a branded house.  All of its products shout out “look at me,” we’re from Apple.  General Mills on the other hand, house of brands:  Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Green Giant.

In higher education, there are few examples of the extremes, but many universities slide toward either side of the spectrum.

Duke is a good example of a university that is closer to the house of brands.  As David pointed out, Duke has an extremely strong brand, but it’s not monolithic. For example, news releases reference the college/ center/or institute; it’s not just a Duke professor.  NC State, on the other hand, is closer to the branded house side of things.  It’s the NC State college of … education, design, physical and mathematical sciences, humanities and social sciences, etc. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Purdue wants provost finalists by Feb. 1

If you thought our search for Chancellor Woodson was accelerated, check out this story from West Layfatte about Purdue’s search for his replacement.

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In the next three weeks, candidates for the next Purdue University provost will be found.

The breakneck pace of the search committee announced Monday to find a replacement for Provost Randy Woodson is to keep the university on track as it pursues its strategic plans and faces budget issues.

“Is it unusual? Yes, it is,” said Rabindra Mukerjea, Purdue executive director of strategic planning. Mukerjea is providing support for the committee and serves as the first point of contact for prospective nominees. “We need to find someone very quickly because we are in the midst of the strategic plan. I think the internal search is very appropriate. We have a lot of talent on the campus.”

The 12-member committee has been asked to zero in on internal candidates.

Last week, Woodson was named the chancellor at North Carolina State University. He is expected to start that job by May.

The provost, which also holds the title of executive vice president for academic affairs, works with the president on overall leadership and is responsible for recruiting, hiring and reviewing deans and department heads, among other duties.

Finalists for provost will be announced Feb. 1, and public presentations will follow. President France Córdova’s goal is to present the top pick at the Feb.11 board of trustees meeting. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Chancellor Woodson "in the news"


Just couldn’t resist when I saw this photo.  Speculation about The Man in the background on the right (Chancellor-elect Randy Woodson) generated the banner headlines.

Welcome to N. C. State Chancellor.  You, your wife and family will love it here.  Can’t wait to get down to work!

Passion Rules!

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P.S.  Great photo. Credit Roger Winstead of N.C. State’s University Communications office.


| posted by Joe Hice |

Now…Chancellor Woodson selection is news, good news on campus

Yesterday’s blog about the Chancellor Search sure raised lots of discussion.  Some claimed I was a genius, others a fool.  I claim neither, or either, because the discussion that followed was great.

Some of those outside the university thought I was unfair to the media.  They believed the paper was just doing it’s job.  Honestly, I don’t disagree with them. Today news happens at lightning speed and is reported even faster.   I just have a problem when the best you can do is four unnamed sources.  Guess that’s better than one or two unnamed sources, but if the news is so important that you banner it across the top of the front page of the paper, shouldn’t you at least have one source who is willing to fess up?  I think so, but then I’m not in the news business and I don’t have to sell newspapers everyday and compete against the likes of TMZ, Stossel, Facebook and Twitter.


But  a media critique was not the purpose of my blog.  I like the N&O and the reporters who cover our industry.  I was just trying to illustrate the difficult position those in university communications find themselves in when something like this happens.  My focus was the internal audience, us.

Sure, we all heard the rumors and saw the story.  We couldn’t refute it because we didn’t know if it was true or not.  But because the story was about a decision that only University of North Carolina President, Erskine Bowles, could make, only Erskine Bowles could confirm  and he hadn’t done that.  In fact, he was on record stating that he would not announce his recommendation until Friday (today.)

In our excitement (the news reported in the paper was really, really good) a couple of us posted blog, Facebook and Twitter links to the newspaper story, but in doing so, we provided additional cred to the report…a report we wouldn’t confirm…but couldn’t deny.  I’m not even going to try to decide whether that was good or bad it’s just what it was. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

NC State University Chancellor Election


January 7, 2010

TO:                  Media Covering the University of North Carolina

RE:                   NC State University Chancellor Election

As previously announced, the Board of Governors of the multi-campus
University of North Carolina is expected to elect a new chancellor for
NC State University tomorrow (1-8-10) during its regular meeting, to
be held in the main board room of the C.D. Spangler Center in Chapel
Hill.  The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a routine closed
session, with the open session to immediately follow.  The election of a
chancellor will take place in open session, and I expect the candidate
to attend and make formal remarks to the Board of Governors.

Pending election by the Board of Governors, the candidate has agreed to
meet briefly with reporters.  *A short informal press conference will be
held in the Executive Conference Room immediately following the
conclusion of the meeting.*  Biographical information, a prepared
release, and related material will be available.


| posted by Joe Hice |

Chancellor Search makes headline news…before it’s really news?

Last night and this morning were the kind of challenging times communicators have to deal with in today’s always on, 24-hour news cycle.

Around 9 p.m. the News & Observer posted an article with the headline “NCSU set to announce chancellor.”  The story was picked up by local television and radio news crews and by 9:30 p.m. it was spreading like wildfire.  A number of people in the area and on campus had even posted links to the story or tweeted about the article on university sites.  This morning, it was the lead story in the N&O.

Only problem, neither the university nor the Board of Governors would confirmed the story…and won’t.

We won’t confirm the story because until the Board of Governor’s receives a chancellor recommendation from Erskine Bowles, and until the Board of Governors votes to accept that recommendation, and until the individual recommended and approved (if he or she is approved) accepts the BOG’s action, it’s not news.

Really?  Really!

I know it’s hard to accept, but until it’s a done deal, it’s not a done deal.  You know, the fat-lady-sings thing.  Just go back to Sunday’s basketball game.  The Wolfpack had it,  up by two with two seconds to play, ball at the far end of the court.  No way could Florida win.  But win they did when a 75-foot Hail Mary swished through the nets.  And think about it, this kind of thing happens all the time, and not just in sports.  GM had Saturn sold. GM had Saab sold.  Now look.  Anybody want to buy a car company today?  I’m not trying to pick on GM, it’s just the way of the world.  Always was, always will be. Things change.

The search for a new chancellor is not basketball or automobiles, but as a public institution we’ve got to play by the rules and follow good journalistic principles;  It’s not a done deal until it’s a done deal and it’s not a done deal until it has been confirmed by those directly involved. We aren’t trying to sell newspapers here, therefore stories we hear from a friend of a friend of a friend (regardless of how good we think those sources are) will never be reported as news from a campus news source.  And never should be. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

Six Myths of Creativity from Fast Company Magazine

I’m not going to endorse or dismiss Breen’s discussion of creativity below because it raises good points for all of us to consider.  It also recognizes the reality of the world in which we live; a world where budgets are under pressure, resources under even more pressure, and personnel often seen as an expendable item.

Be that as it may, it’s a good read and I’ll be interested in your reaction.

Passion Rules!

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By: Bill Breen

A new study will change how you generate ideas and decide who’s really creative in your company.


These days, there’s hardly a mission statement that doesn’t herald it, or a CEO who doesn’t laud it. And yet despite all of the attention that business creativity has won over the past few years, maddeningly little is known about day-to-day innovation in the workplace. Where do breakthrough ideas come from? What kind of work environment allows them to flourish? What can leaders do to sustain the stimulants to creativity — and break through the barriers?

Teresa Amabile has been grappling with those questions for nearly 30 years. Amabile, who heads the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and is the only tenured professor at a top B-school to devote her entire research program to the study of creativity, is one of the country’s foremost explorers of business innovation.

Eight years ago, Amabile took her research to a daring new level. Working with a team of PhDs, graduate students, and managers from various companies, she collected nearly 12,000 daily journal entries from 238 people working on creative projects in seven companies in the consumer products, high-tech, and chemical industries. She didn’t tell the study participants that she was focusing on creativity. She simply asked them, in a daily email, about their work and their work environment as they experienced it that day. She then coded the emails for creativity by looking for moments when people struggled with a problem or came up with a new idea.

“The diary study was designed to look at creativity in the wild,” she says. “We wanted to crawl inside people’s heads and understand the features of their work environment as well as the experiences and thought processes that lead to creative breakthroughs.”

Amabile and her team are still combing through the results. But this groundbreaking study is already overturning some long-held beliefs about innovation in the workplace. In an interview with Fast Company, she busted six cherished myths about creativity. (If you want to quash creativity in your organization, just continue to embrace them.) Here they are, in her own words. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

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.”

-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: