Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Burn to BRAND: Thinking Branding History

A Burn to Brand: Think Brand History

A school leader who launches a brand campaign to support school excellence needs to be armed with a clear reason for taking up the charge. Otherwise, the response from the ranks might sound like a Greek chorus bemoaning yet another a new leadership direction.

You’re an educator!

The key to rallying support lies in educating the potential collaborators on your team. Teach why brands will be continually important in the future, and why a 2.0 perspective is good for a school community’s ability to deliver excellence. According to every social media pundit who is writing, Tweeting and blogging today, there will be increasing interest in fueling the iconic brand of an organization with the power of complimentary personal brands that are part of the workplace. People are branding without even knowing they are, so define this behavior and connect it to school excellence and it’s an easy sell. Without a doubt, the most credible and visible educational brands stand the best chance of continued success as respected school communities in a changing educational landscape. Leaders who see the implication of branding for the development of schools are creating new organizational models for schools of the future.

A forward thinking leader looks to the next decade and the innovative uses of branding, social networking and managing the content that comes with this territory. So in the words of a heavy hitting brand, “JUST DO IT!”

But first, a look backward is in order. A little history can provide context for the move forward. Knowing something of the history of branding, the beginnings of its life in connection to markets, can help a leader present the mission of branding/rebranding to a 21st century school community. A step back into the earliest part of the 20th Century is in order before a giant leap to branding 2.0 is accomplished.

According to research, the first recognized brand is the 19th Century British Brewery Bass & Company. (Don’t count out the Vesuvium wine carafes that were found in the ruins of Pompeii, however!) And since the root of the word branding is an Old Norse term “brandr” meaning to burn, the reason for branding today, lies in the hope that the brand can ignite connection!

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