Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Beyond the Logo, the Mascot, The Motto
Ever look at the top iconic brands? Of course you do. See them in an ad, on a billboard, on your screen? "Coke" flashes, you get thirsty. Your favorite sports teams logo pops up, your pulse quickens. You see a blue the color of Tiffany's and you break out in a sweat, if you're a guy, or do a happy dance if your a woman. WHY? How does a brand effect us so immediately?
All of these brands have established themselves through powerful emotional connection to you, the buyer. Straight to a queing section of your brain that creates a chemical rush of feeling...all positive. And that doesn't happen overnight. It takes a plan, it takes repeated experience with the brand promise, and satisfaction to build your loyalty. It's even coming to an augmented reality experience in your media room soon!
That's what psychology calls a "transactional memory" of experience that is built in the consumer, the client, the patient, the receiver of the message, that bonds them to the product. Think of the hours people invest in watching shopping channels that feature strong brand connection for the audience. "I'll watch for a minute," and hours later they are looking at an aging Joan Rivers like a best friend, and buying buying buying.
So use the school lens and look at your iconic presence. You have a website, a logo, school colors, a motto. But are you using all of these tools in concert to build an emotional connection to your school, the culture and the community?
Here's some homework from the former middle school teacher. Surf the internet and look at brands. First click on some of the big iconic brands that you like click Nike, Mc Donalds, BMW, whatever floats your boat, and you will feel a buzz. Your brain is stimulated and your heart may be racing. Go to some of the big college sites and see if they give you the same buzz....UCLA, Notre DamE, Penn State...again a buzz.
Now surf for schools, public schools, and see if you feel a buzz a spark. I'll bet you will see the cookie cutter and mission statements. Schools need a brand overhaul, an audit to bring the level of connection and commitment to an iconic level. And it can be done. And with little expenditure. You may need to brush off these existing tools, you may scrap them all together..but in the words of a famous brand...JUST DO IT!
Use the umbrella mission of being a school brand...of being "brand-ed" to build the emotional connection to your community...to your alumni. And the result will positively impact your educational impact as a school leader.