June 26, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -
By Brian Hendrickson, NCAA,org
The scene on Thursday morning felt familiar to Clyde Doughty Jr.
Members of the Division II Management Council and Presidents Council pored over a list of 12 virtues that describe the division during their joint meeting. Some of those virtues could provide the seeds for a new slogan that anchors the division's future marketing strategy, so those gathered shared ideas about which traits made the division unique.
It's the same process Doughty, a member of the Division II Management Council and chair of the council's Identity Subcommittee went through eight years ago when he helped develop Division II's current slogan, "I chose Division II." That slogan, of course, became wildly popular among members and a battle cry for the division.
Division II is now exploring the development of a new identifying slogan that can more effectively communicate its virtues to parents, future student-athletes, and other external audiences.
The Division II staff is evaluating proposals from several marketing firms that have advised national brands, and Doughty hopes to have an external marketing strategy ready to present to the membership by next January's NCAA Convention.
Already, Doughty sees the parallels with the development of Division II's original slogan.
"At that time we had nothing," said Doughty, the director of athletics at New York Institute of Technology. "So we had to come up with something that identified our division.
"So now, where do we go?"
The division's presidents, faculty athletics representatives and athletic administrators took some early steps in answering that question Thursday.
They have starting points from which to work: the division's Life in the Balance approach to athletics; and its Strategic Positioning Platform with its iconic hexagon of six core values.
The list of 12 virtues the council members were presented Thursday, which ranged from graduation rates to class time, personal attention, innovative solutions and community partnerships, all pointed back to those values as points to focus their discussion. Members of the Management Council and Presidents Council broke into discussion groups and provided their feedback on which of those virtues best told the division's story.
No final determinations were made, but Grand Valley State University President Tom Haas, the incoming chair of the Presidents Council, said he believes the new slogan will eventually communicate the values of Life in the Balance.
"I think it all comes down to student-athlete success," Haas said. "Then you can narrow it down to what those traits are. I think if we can convey that Life in the Balance helps perpetrate and reinforce student-athlete success, we'll have a brand that is laser-focused."
While the marketing firm will be retained to advise and shape the final version of the new externally facing slogan, Doughty said it's important for the membership to first identify the message it wants to convey about the division.
"What do we want to tell this firm about our story?" Doughty said. "These are our core virtues we want to get out to the external market. Now, we want you (the marketing firm) to help us shape it."