More Confusion From NASA's Office of Strategic Communications

Message from the Chief, Office of Strategic Communications Updated Memo on NASA Messages - August 9, 2007

"The Message Construct serves to guide your communication efforts with the general public. We are asking that you use the Core Message: "NASA explores for answers that power our future," in the text of your communications material, when appropriate and that it be used verbatim. We also have developed a graphic element to illustrate and enhance the Core Message. The graphic element is: Inspiration + Innovation + Discovery = Future. It is recommended, not required, that the graphic element be used on agency communications materials. The other messages in the Message Construct are also market tested and should be used where best applicable."

Hopkins says: "The graphic element is: Inspiration + Innovation + Discovery = Future." But wait Bob, those are words, not a "graphic element" - or are you still referring to the graphic that you put in this 1 August 2007 memo and this 5 June 2007 memo? I am not the only person who is confused.

Further, Bob Hopkins now says "It is recommended, not required, that the graphic element be used on agency communications materials." Whereas he was much more explicit about its universal usage when he said here just last week that "The graphic element is to be used on all Agency communications materials.". So Bob, did you change your mind? Did someone change it for you? Or was this a flawed attempt on your part to communicate this aspect of NASA's overall Strategic Communications Framework Implementation Plan? Are the "Core Message" and the "Graphic Element" one in the same? That is how you show them in the "graphic" you have been putting in memos and briefings.

If you meant to say that the words "Inspiration + Innovation + Discovery = Future" are what is to be posted on everything then say "words" or "phrase" not "Graphic Element". And if the words within the blue triangle graphic are to be used as the "Core Message" then you might want to call out the words - as words - and not present them as part of a Graphic Element.

What is just plain hilarious about this is the initial memo purports to communicate the new communications message to NASA's leadership - yet it fails to communicate and cannot clearly differentiate between "words" and "graphics". Anyone with such a blatant lack of writing expertise should be kept as far away from communications activities as possible. The same goes for anyone (Bob Hopkins) who approves the issuance of such a confusing memo - to say nothing of the vapid and mediocre content it contains.

And yet, does StratComm contact me or other news media to clarify the issue - one that is spreading across the agency? No. They just wait until someone@nasa.gov sends me the memo they distributed internally - to a wider list than they sent the earlier memo to, by the way.

Crowded Blue Triangles, Core Messages, Message Constructs, and Graphic Elements - NASA's Office of Strategic Communications - starting at the top - is clearly in over its collective head. This parade of confusing messages and terminology - and the hollow, half-completed, and uninspired ideas that are put forth - is proof positive that this crowd is out to lunch, adrift without a clue, oblivious to the obvious, etc. and needs to be replaced.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 9, 2007 4:04 PM.

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