Friday, January 29, 2010

Personal Branding and School Brand-ED

Is your Personal Brand Part of Building your School Brand?

The journey to develop a brand for a school is one of small steps. How does it start? It may begin with the experience of a leader whose curiosity has been piqued by technology, by the social media buzz, or by her own children’s experience as they define themselves, learn about the world and build relationships online. Brand comes knocking out of communication, and we are immersed in communication, drowning in it sometimes! So brand awareness is a natural extension of communicating what a school is, and should be championed by someone who understands and accepts this concept it from a personal experience level.

If you have the notion to start a school conversation about branding, do a self-audit about personal branding and a bit of research. Using key words around personal branding, brand personality and the like may help, but my best referral in that arena is Dan Schwabel whose personal branding blog and books have mined the personal branding conversation for hundreds of thousands of people who are aware of the role that a personal brad plays in their professional lives, and these are not just marketers and sales people. But then again, you know we as educators are in sales.

How to Start?

It’s simple. Think of words that are key to who you are, to your values, and your actions. Start there. Ask yourself the question, “Why do these tenets mean something to me?” Ask yourself how do you show them? “Actions are Character,” according to an old saying, so how do your values become action?

Right away you might want to ask friends, family, students, the guy who you buy your coffee from in the morning about yourself. Ask how they see you? What do you present? How are your actions viewed as “character”, and ie, your brand.

Read Dan Schabel’s work on Personal brand and do it with an open mind. If you as the leader of a Brand-ed effort, can’t feel comfortable, knowing and acting on your own brand, then it’s not worth persuading a community to go there.

Going Public with your Brand

I smile when I check into Linkedin and see the power educations with whom I’ve worked profiled. It’s pitiful, really. Many of the best educators I know have a half –baked profile and 3 connections. Better not to do this at all if that’s all you are willing to invest. In later posts you’ll earn how to launch the process but the first step is getting your mind around it:

1. Will it matter to me to work on a public personal brand?
Once you’ve done the simple personal audit Ask that question. If no is your answer, then don’t push a school agenda. If the answer is yes, then begin testing the waters with a little discipline of actually LEARNING and not simply dismissing social media.

2. Is it Doable for me?

Read a bit about branding on a personal level, then ask yourself if this is a fit. Am I capable of this thinking? Can I live it, and comfortably talk the talk about myself so that I can teach this process to others? If you can, you are ready to work to sharing your personal brand in a public way.

It is absolutely necessary for your brand to be part of developing the school’s brand promise. It will mean authenticity of effort, and your ability to influence this as a change force, and the STORY of your personal brand journey is of importance to creating a Brand Ed community.

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