Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Branding Lessons: A Logo Does Not a Brand Make

Looking at the shadowy figure in this post should create an emotional tug for anyone who is a fan of the series MADMEN. It's the logo without the words MADMEN and yet, you are "getting it". You get the message about sexy cool, competition, biz, and all that the show creates each Sunday night when it's on AMC. If I add text, and it says MADMEN, then others who are not as familiar can join the get it club in a New York MINUTE> That's what a logo does. It creates instant recognition of what a product or service is all about. I work with a national retail chain called bath junkie. It's not as well known as MADMEN, but it has its market that it meets online and in print through its brand. I've placed their brand logo in this post. It's colors are the same as MADMAN logo...but the feel of the brand is different. It suggests playfulness and beauty. Not what the shadow figure suggests.

So why should schools care about this?

Most educational entities have a logo, a mascot, a website, a newsletter. THESE ARE NOT THE BRAND. They are all necessary and important to the brand expression, but it's incorrect to assume that you can check off branding as a school leader because you have a classy website. It's a mistake to not value it as part of you responsibility to lead. The associations your customers make from the brand and what the logo stands for...and how it connects to their personal beliefs are what you mine when you take on a MADMEN Principal Personna....and as you do you are beginning to brand yourself as a leader in new ways. How cool is that?

SO let's not debate, allow me to educate.

Every forward thinking school leader needs to develop a school brand beyond the "superficial signals" to the community by going deeper into understanding the BRAND PROMISE, and working to consistently build new channels to share with the entire school community . The result, the ROI return on Investment ,will create a culture of energy, pride, responsiveness and yes,customer service, around that promise. Having the right language and a consistent attitude around the brand will smooth the way in building all sorts of relationships within the school community.

Branding isn't a logo or a tagline. Leaders need to go further to build a responsive brand in schools. You'd be crazy not to.

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