Data Center Strategic Communications can be your strength or your weakness, Case Example The Data Center LLC

There has been a range of news coverage for the past few months on The Data Center LLC project in Delaware, and it looks the project has been cancelled with the university.

UD expels Data Centers project as 'bad fit'

The News Journal - ‎Jul 10, 2014‎
The University of Delaware has terminated its lease agreement with The Data Centers LLC, halting controversial plans to develop a data-center complex in Newark at the former Chrysler site, now UD's Science Technology and Advanced Research Campus.

Data center decision a loss for Markell

The News Journal - ‎Jul 12, 2014‎
In recent months, he was among the most prominent supporters of a plan to build a data center and power plant complex on a corner of the former Chrysler plant in Newark. When the project came under attack by locals, Markell made the debate personal, ...

One of the points media captured was the acknowledgement of how poorly The Data Center LLC communicated.

 "We've done a poor job of verbalizing this project," said Kern, president and CEO of The Data Centers, LLC, the company that made the proposal to the university. "It's very hard to explain to people how we will operate this facility because we haven't actually done it and we don't know our [electrical] load requirements, so we can't communicate it exactly."


When the university's working group issued its report last week, it validated Kern's first assertion. Yes, indeed, TDC had done a poor job of explaining its plan to create a $1.8 billion facility crammed with high-powered computer servers run by a 279-megawatt power system that would create its own electricity without relying on the conventional power grid.

And, while the UD team didn't quite say that TDC had come up with a nutty idea that's never going to work, the university made it quite clear that piling vague explanations on top of scant documentation to support a questionable business model is hardly the formula for selling a complex concept to a panel of top-notch, detail-oriented leaders of a major research university.

A strategic communication plan is a rarity in many endeavors.  A strategic communication plan is not just did you hire a PR agency.  Are the efforts you spend in communication and the media’s view of your efforts the battle you are ready to win?  Consider this post on Strategic Communication.

The late Colonel Harry Summers liked to tell a tale familiar to many who

served in Vietnam. In April 1975, after the war was over, the colonel

was in a delegation dispatched to Hanoi. In the airport, he got into a conversation

with a North Vietnamese colonel named Tu who spoke some English

and, as soldiers do, they began to talk shop. After a while, Colonel Summers

said: “You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield.” Colonel Tu

thought about that for a minute, then replied: “That may be so. But it is also


If that conversation were to be held in today’s vocabulary, it would

go something like this. Colonel Summers: “You know, you never defeated us

in a kinetic engagement on the battlefield.” Colonel Tu: “That may be so. It is

also irrelevant because we won the battle of strategic communication—and

therefore the war.”

On a contemporary note, a US officer returning from Iraq said privately:

“We plan kinetic campaigns and maybe consider adding a public affairs

annex. Our adversaries plan information campaigns that exploit kinetic

events, especially spectacular attacks and martyrdom operations. We aren’t

even on the playing field, but al Qaeda seeks to dominate it because they

know their war will be won by ideas.”