Thursday, November 19, 2009

Branding Lessons: Meet A MADman Principal


Someone give me a seatbelt because the ride in public education is getting pretty interesting. I've blogged about marketing, branding, looking to Madison Avenue for Main Street school vision, and even the interesting topic of teachers selling intellectual property online in the form of lesson plans. Pretty jazzy stuff.

Last night before hitting the networking trail to attend a Tribecca book launch, I ate dinner in front of the CBS news and nearly lost my plate. I now need a seatbelt for TV viewing apparently.

Why?

Well, as a Jersey girl I can say with pride, New Jersey education has some gems, and I was fortunate see one on TV, a medium that I often miss, and a medium that seems to rarely give the content I am needing.(Aside from AMC's MADmen, of course!) Last night was different. TV delivered. So, I've got a great network of school leaders in New Jersey. These are well respected heavy hitting thought leaders. All of a sudden, I'm looking at the future on my TV screen. And it's Mr Eric Sheninger, Principal of New Milford (and that's NJ, not CT.)

Mr. Sheninger is a MADman Principal; that's what I think. He may be among the first of a special breed that I know is out there in the ranks of educational management. One of the early adopters of being a MADman principal. He's rising to a level of recognition through his savvy and risk taking course of using social media as a meaningful part of high school curriculum. I'll bet the kids love it...he is so on the pulse. Bravo, Eric!

And in 8 months he has built a network of educators on Twitter who are building a brand...a relationship based upon who they are and the value they share educationally with each other. Of course, I started to follow him immediately from my own "TrishBIH" Twitter address. He has kids in seats in the hamlet of New Milford NJ communicating in 140 characters with other students, wth experts, with organizations, to grab valuable content related to their studies with the stroke of a few keys. Ok...I really need a seatbelt! I've got to see this in action. This is what education in the 21st century needs to be about the user...about the relationships we build.

So my work is about building that message for thought leaders...we all can't be on the CBS news, but we all can develop a brand that reaches our "customers" in a blink. A message that isn't captured by a website or a mission statement. I've been on the New Milford High School website and it does have a "warm quality" that other school sites may miss--and a great picture of the principal...but the potential New Milford school brand that I saw last night in the CBS report is bigger than what the website offers.I'm hoping every taxpayer in New Milford is smiling because of that segment.

I saw a brand promise in that spot that would make me move to New Milford if I had school aged kids, and if I didn't have them, I'd think that a school with that kind of vision could only increase my investment in a home in New Milford. Not only school achievement, but Branding and Economics 101 was what I saw in the report...and guess what I was talking about at the Tribecca cocktail party...it wasn't the appetizers!

1 comment:

Christopher Johnston said...

As a Internet Marketing student, now planning to go into education, your blog is something that really resonates with me. I think you are correct that schools could learn so much from the marketing and advertising world about branding. The better ones can use these tools to sell their value and the innovate things they are doing to their communities. I have added you to my RSS reader and will be watching.