Sunday, July 24, 2011

Do Not Confuse Serious with Solemn

John Cleese said it, and made a post-Python side career of corporate training talks and videos to emphasize that just because you have a sense of humor does not mean you are flip or flighty.

In fact, well placed humor is vital to making "boring" key competencies interesting. The New York song factory and Motown share this in common with good messaging -- find a catch hook, and the public will remember your tune.

Thus FEMA strikes with the creative headline and tweet:

What do Waffle Houses Have to Do with Risk Management?

Well, you have to click on that link. Kind of like CDC's guidelines for the Zombie Apocalypse.

This stuff is brilliant. Yet far too many in athletics in particular, and often universities in general, are too damn scared of looking silly to inject some fun into their daily lives. They are, for the most part, confusing dress, attire and attitude with some "brand" they seek to achieve or a level of omnipotent respect they are wanting to accrue.

If bankers are now dropping coats -- and sometimes ties -- to relate to customers, why do I look down on fields of play from minor league baseball, to professional soccer to BCS athletics and see a bunch of interns forced to run around in skirts or shirts and ties to project a "brand look." No one in the stands is wearing those clothes. Who looks out of place more -- a crisp Oxford and fashion tie on a sideline or a team-issued polo and khakis? Which one will the fans know they should listen to in a crisis?

Conversely, if the university is hosting the opening of a play, and the attire of the audience is mostly formal, that's not the night to bust out the Birkenstocks.

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