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Category — 100 Days at NC State

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Passion Rules!

101 of 100

March 15, 2010   No Comments

100 of 100. Where to go from here.


Been a pretty good 100 days on campus and it feels like we’ve accomplished a lot in that time.

State COMM is well into strategic communications planning, University Communications and CALS Communication Services are in the process of becoming “suite mates,” NC State has hired a new Chancellor, and we have three new wolves on campus.  Who could ask for anything more.

The local newspaper featured research and/or individuals from NC State four times in the last two days, all mentions were positive.  Feels like the first time that has happened in 100 days.  The Wolfpack have moved into the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.  Another thing that feels like  a 100 years ago, right.  Just kidding Sidney.

And our students are off in 100 different directions with Spring Break.  You can follow their activities on the university’s home page all week.  And speaking of the home page, more than 7 million people visited that site during the last 100 days.  Hey, I did the math:-)

I’ve grown to enjoy blogging during the 100 days and while I may not blog every day in the future, I will post on a regular basis.  I have found this to be an effective tool for exchanging ideas and interacting with a group of communicators that exceeds 100.  Still struggling to figure out how to get everyone to respond and comment more often, but give it time, right.  Like another 100 days?  I don’t know.

My favorite post during 100 days was probably from Lady Gaga (BTW, her new video “Telephone” with Beyonce is so over the top I find it offensive.)  Not even 100 words:

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.

Kind of makes Passion Rules! feel a little tame, doesn’t it.

I know the next 100 days will be every bit as crazy and engaging as the first and I know the people at NC State will be every bit as passionate.  That’s something that never wanes around here. Bodes well for the next 100 days. The next 100 years.

Passion Rules!

100 of 100

March 12, 2010   3 Comments

Chancellor’s vision for NC State starting to emerge

Our new chancellor’s vision for NC State is starting to emerge and I’m excited with what I’m hearing.  In today’s News & Observer, Chancellor Woodson talks about the need to improve the university’s “national and international reputation” and the need to make difficult choices in defining who we are and what we’re going to focus on.  I take that to mean One voice, One message.  How ’bout you?

“The grand challenges of society now – water, climate, energy – have science and technology issues that have to be resolved, and N.C. State is in a tremendous position to be among the leading institutions in the country that address those challenges. But we can’t do that if we’re not strong in engineering, the physical sciences and mathematics,” Woodson told the N&O.

That would mean taking bold academic risks, he said, such as identifying colleges, schools or departments that will get more funding, even at the expense of others.

“So academic risk is when you step up in front of your colleagues, and put a stake in the ground and say, at the risk of offending another discipline, we’re going to the next level in chemical engineering or we’re going to the next level in molecular biology and the life sciences.” [Read more →]

March 11, 2010   No Comments

An NC State family’s legacy, a tradition of service to North Carolina

Governors W. Kerr Scott and Robert W. Scott Courtyard Dedication — March 9, 2010

I was fortunate enough to attend a university event this week that recognized the contributions of one family to NC State University and to the state of North Carolina.  That family is the Scott family.

Bill Friday, who has proven quite the public servant himself, put the family’s contributions into perspective and quite honestly, his comments moved me.  Here was another example of how this university has made North Carolina what it is today…one of the greatest states in the nation.

Friday spoke for a mere 10 minutes, but the history lesson he provided is one we should all hear.  So here, brought to you by NC State University, I present

Remarks by William C. Friday

We gather to celebrate and to remember the gifts and service of a father and son, both alumni of this place and to give permanence to their service through this dedicatory occasion.  We gather to honor their committed and superior service to the people of the state.

I had the pleasure of knowing W. Kerr Scott early on in my years of association with the University.  Like thousands of others, I greatly admired his energy, his intelligence and his commanding sense of the needs of people, especially our farm population.  In those days, the executive committee of the then Board of Trustees held its quarterly meetings in the office of the Governor, since the Governor was then the chairman of that body.  The great pastime amongst the members was the wager as to whether each session would last for one cigar or two.  The Governor’s adept handling of the agenda never exceeded that limit.   He was an especially entertaining and skillful chairman. [Read more →]

March 10, 2010   3 Comments

At NC State, we are one university … One voice, one message, one common goal

NC State’s Chancellor-elect, Randy Woodson, is in town again this week.  In between meetings and events, he had a chance to wander campus a little on his own, and lo and behold, he wanderd into Agriculture Awareness Week on the Brickyard.  A number of students recognized him and Chancellor Woodson had a great time with the group; though he declined the opportunity to milk a cow.  “Done that before,” I think he said.

Last night the new Chancellor was at the annual Founder’s Day Banquet where he and his wife Susan had an opportunity to meet about 400 of the university’s staunchest supporters.  Jay Dawkins and Shanna Rose received the 2010 Mathews Medal, the highest non-scholastic award an NC State student can receive, during the event.

The University also recognized Kenneth M. Bryant, Hou-Min Chang and H. Frank Grainger with the Watauga Medal.  The Watauga recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the University.

Woodson is clearly excited about joining NC State and he let the crowd know that during brief remarks.  He also hinted that change may be afoot at NC State.  He has said this before during earlier visits.

“This is a university for a reason,”  he said.  “It’s not nine or 10 colleges. I really want to stress the idea that we are one university. There needs to be strong collaboration across colleges, and our students need to benefit from the breadth of educational opportunities at this university – regardless of their major. So, it’s really stressing the idea that this is one university. We have a lot of individual colleges and departments, but we share one common goal.” [Read more →]

March 9, 2010   3 Comments

Failure to deliver on the Brand Promise; Not us, but just what is NC State’s Brand Promise? (see comments at the bottom)


Interesting piece by Matthew May and Brad Kinney over at Industry Week, deconstructing what is possibly the most interesting — as well as the most impactful — aftershocks of the recent Toyota recalls. That is to say, the emotional reactions of  customers who bought into a Brand Promise made by Toyota that it seems the automaker has failed to deliver.

Mays first lays the groundwork for his argument by referencing a famous marketing innovation story, in this case from another automaker during tough economic times.  I’ve added my own reference to a famous motorcycle manufacturer as well:

  • The idea of perceptual, emotional or otherwise intangible value in business can be traced back to the Great Depression, when Cadillac effectively stopped selling automotive transportation. In the 1930s, Nicholas Dreystadt took over as the company was about to fail and announced that Cadillac did not compete with other automakers, but that “Cadillac competes with diamonds and mink coats. The Cadillac customer does not buy transportation, but status.” That simple perceptual innovation translated to a price premium and saved the company. Within two years Cadillac had become a major growth business despite the dismal economy.
  • Harley-Davidson did something similar in the early-1980s when the company was facing bankruptcy.  CEO Vaughn Beals began to position the company and its motorcycles as a lifestyle rather than a product.  Harley started charging riders $35 a year to join a club that helped them do what they were already doing, riding their Harleys to local dealerships and trading experiences with their buddies.  They created the Harley Owners Group, or HOG as most of us know it.  That move has helped Harley sustain its business through the tough economic times and today more than a million members pay the Motor Company about $75 a year to do what they already do, ride their motorcycles. [Read more →]

March 8, 2010   1 Comment

NC State University has a beautiful campus … and three new wolves

Walking around campus on this beautiful day, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could consider this place ugly.  Crab apples and pear trees are starting to bloom, the grass is green and the holly bright red!  Yet for several years our own students have voted NC State one of the least attractive campuses in the land.  Top 10, and that’s when top means bottom.


Efforts have been underway to make the campus “edges” more attractive and the project on Hillsborough Street is a great example.  While there is still a lot to do, it’s easy to see how the new design will really set the stage for a bright future.

Also exciting is the new wolfpack that’s about to make its presence known.  Just outside the Free Expression Tunnel in a new plaza area — an area I’m calling Wolf Plaza –  three new wolf statues will stand watch on the student body.

San Diego-based artist Michael Stutz created the over-sized “woven bronze” wolves that weigh in at approximately 1,200 pounds each and stand about five feet tall.   The sculptures are part of a continuing campus beautification project helped along by the bond referendum of 2000 that allowed NC State to address facility construction and renovation across campus.

“Now we have an opportunity to turn our attention to the spaces between buildings,” said Tom Skolnicki, university landscape architect.  “If you look across our campus, there are some iconic places, like the Bell Tower, the Brickyard and Holladay Hall.  As part of the physical master plan, we’re trying to create additional (iconic places) as well as improve the areas that have high visibility and high pedestrian traffic.”

An informal unveiling of the new wolf trio is planned for Tuesday, March 9, at 2 p.m. with free wolf cakes, er…I mean cup cakes, for all who attend.  But, no circus dogs. [Read more →]

March 6, 2010   No Comments

Jack Bauer and North Carolina College Students: Saving the World from Nuclear Annihilation!

JackisBack1“Maybe you didn’t understand me. This man is our only connection to a stolen nuclear warhead. If you don’t save him, millions of people could die! Do you understand that? Millions of people.”
–Jack Bauer from the TV series, “24″

So, is this what we’ve come to with media relations today?  I ask, almost tongue in cheek, because the headline is an approach I suggested to promote NC State’s involvement in the Raleigh Grand Challenge Summit.  It’s the second year the Grand Challenge has been here and last year — for a variety of reasons — the publicity effort was a bit of a bust and the group was eager to garner more local attention.

Since protecting the nation from the threat of nuclear terrorism is one of the topics, why not capitalize on the popularity of the television show, 24.  Working with the communications group at our College of Engineering, University Communications and Duke University’s communications group, we put together a pretty effective media outreach campaign.  And it seems to be working.  Stay tuned for more results.

Here’s the media alert in full.  Let me know what you think.

Passion Rules!

94 of 100  [

March 4, 2010   2 Comments

How to integrate Social Media into your communications strategy

It’s as if BrandMIND was reading my mind.  Yesterday I spoke at the annual College News Association of the Carolinas (CNAC) annual meeting in Charlotte; my topic, How Web 2.0 is changing the face of university relations.  The presentation will be posted soon on the CNAC Web site; cnacnet.org so check it out.  In reading this post from BrandMIND I realize I’m not alone in my thinking.

The first decision regarding the use of social-media is making the decision to proceed.  Some might ask, “do you embrace the madness.”  If you do — and I believe you must –  where do you go next? How do you get started integrating social-media into your marketing mix?  Well, you might follow the 8-step process for Strategic Social Media Integration outlined by the company.  Those steps are:

  1. Listen and educate internal stakeholders
    • Invest some time and energy in learning about social media.  Listen to the social web for sentiment about your company, and also learn from competitors and other categories.
  2. Understand your audience and how they currently interact with social media
    • Using simple techniques and tools, learn which topics are important to your customers.  Find out how your customers are engaging with other companies.
  3. Determine social marketing objectives
    • What do you hope to achieve with social media?  Are you interested in using it for customer service? To create a closed customer-feedback loop?  To provide product information?  To promote your products?  To build your brand?  Make sure that internal stakeholders agree on objectives and how to measure against them. [Read more →]

March 2, 2010   2 Comments

A coming together of NC State communications professionals

Communications professionals from CALS Communications Services and University Communications will be working more closely together soon.  Literally.

The Creative Services Group and Web Communications from University Communications will be moving from their offices in the Creative Services Building into the Butler Communications Services Building on Friday, March 26.  For those who aren’t familiar with Butler, it is at 3210 Faucette Drive, across from the campus police station.  The facility was dedicated in April 1999 and is named after father and son Tait and Eugene Butler, prominent figures in the area of agricultural reform.  Both focused on careers in journalism and are known for their work as writers and editors of publications such as Progressive Farmer and Southern Living.

The move is designed to concentrate communications talent in one place.  More opportunities to share resources, and equipment, to collaborate and be creative, if you will. [Read more →]

February 26, 2010   2 Comments