Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Branding Schools Beyond "UNIQUE"

I had the pleasure to visit The Young Women's Leadership School, Astoria this morning. Laura Mitchell,principal, her professional colleague, Allison, and Tara Goulet, of The Young Women's Leadership Network, all welcomed me to a true gem of a school.
I'm interested in supporting the girls in this single sex school with pro bono work, and my own education was in a single sex school. And I did struggle with interfacing into a mixed environment in college of male and female, so I am drawn to contribute, if I have value, to this cause. Take in the fact that I'm writing a book about branding identity to connect to school reform and student achievement, and well, I'm over the moon as I write this post.

After a lively "get to know' you chat in Laura's offfice, she summoned my school guide, a wonderfully mature, 9th grader named, Samantha, who toured me through the halls and into the classrooms filled with young friendly girls at work, so I could experience the culture of the school first hand. We stuck to the two wonderfully energized floors that are currently housing the school., but, later, Laura escorted us to the floors above that will complete this amazing site. Science room, art room, library, dance enriching to know that this idea of TYWL School is thriving in the TYL Network.

But, about the brand. Well, I've thought about how tag lines, logos, and visuals support a brand. Naturally I asked my guide, Samantha to tell me what's her connection to her school..."It's so unique" she offered immediately...but I had to push her further. We all think our schools are unique. She spoke to the true value being the teachers, the young staff who guide and teach. They even call the teachers by their first names! (You mean they are people!! LOL) and she said that practice is a sign of "respect" we are getting to the real brand of that school.

So my thinking is ask the kids about the brand early...and don't let them give the company line...poke at what they say. That might be one of the first steps of approaching a brand conversation in your school.

What's your thinking???

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