The End of Competitive Advantage

10/12/2015 Nancy 0 Comments


This year's NYC Media Lab Summit, which took place at NYU on September 25, was an opportunity for media executive, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications of the future. Dr. Rita Gunther McGrath of Columbia University Business School delivered an impactful keynote address on how leaders need to be driven by discovery -- a theme expressed by nearly all of the 12 faculty-led workshops. Her latest book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business includes advice on how to make innovation proficiency an institutional feature of your company -- as opposed to "innovation theater" where employees engage in innovation bootcamps and pep rallies.

CUNY has become increasingly active in NYC Media Lab activities. Students and faculty from City College, Guttman Community College, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism showcased their project demos at last year's Annual Summit. Gistly, a project developed by City College PhD student Alex Vlachokostas, received the third place prize at the Summit. This year's summit was attended by BIC faculty Nancy Tag and Angela Chitkara as well as by Zahn Director Lindsay Siegel.

Read more about Professor McGrath here and about the NYC Media Lab here.

Silence is Not an Option

10/12/2015 Nancy 0 Comments


Wearing a Coca-Cola sweater and even Coke high heels, Wendy Clark, President of Sparkling Brands and Strategic Marketing for Coca-Cola North America, stated in her keynote address at 4A's recent Talent@2030 that  “If you will accept with me that everything has changed, what do we have to do? We have to change everything. You can’t operate in this very different world with very traditional capabilities. It’s not going to work.” As the world is slowly being replaced by digital natives, we need to appreciate that they have only two states: they're either connected or they're asleep. 

To a packed crowd of C-Suite professionals, Clark spoke with conviction on how brands need to be front and center of the public narrative.  “The first thing we’ve learned: In a socially networked world, silence is not an option. If you are silent, your truth will be filled in for you,” she said. To illustrate the point, she compared how long it took the company to respond to the outcry over new Coke back in 1985: 72 days. Today, she said the reaction would have to be closer to 72 minutes. As a result, Clark advised everyone to empower their teams to move in the moment. "Speed trumps perfection."

Read more about the first day of 4A's Talent@2030 Conference here.

George Lois Donates Archive to CCNY

10/12/2015 Nancy 0 Comments



It was a night of megawatt star power: over 150 fans and friends of George Lois arrived on campus to celebrate the publication of his latest book, Lois Logos -- The Creative Punch for of Big Idea Branding. Mingling in BIC space in the heart of Shepard Hall, other cultural icons (including Senator and former Knicks star Bill Bradley and legendary designer Bob Gill) as well as awestruck students in the BIC program genuflected to the master. Despite the fact that Lois' impact on advertising's Creative Revolution dates back to the 1960's, students were inspired by his commitment to creativity and the power of Big Idea thinking.


In his speech, Lois spoke about his fascination with logos as the most elemental form of communication. "A logo should contain an essential idea that communicates personality. It must have blood running through it...a quickly recognizable face." He added that the face's bone structure must consist of a solid marketing idea, and the "design must explain the idea." He challenged students in the room to dive deeply into their projects. "If you can't get meaning into everything you design, there is no meaning in your work...The mystical blending of copy, concept, and art, dramatized by a unique image in synergy with words that can communicate in a nanosecond always ignites an immediate intellectual and visceral human response."


George Lois has been on BIC's Board of Advisors since the program first launched in 2013, but a piece of his heart has been on the CCNY campus since he attended the High School of Music and Art back in the 40's. He noted this connection as he wrapped up his speech. Surrounded by his beautiful wife, Rosie, along with family, friends, and fans, and following a stirring presentation of his logos to the music of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," George announced that he was donating his advertising archive to City College. By bestowing this amazing and historic collection --coveted by institutions all over the globe -- to CCNY, George reaffirmed his commitment to diversity and those less privileged who are born with grit and the sheer determination to fight the good fight. "Our mission in life cannot be to sedate, but to awaken, disturb, communicate, and command...to instigate and even provoke...Now more than ever, we must speak truth to power, whatever the cost."