Monday, March 08, 2010

Celebratory Branding for School Leaders

After watching what seemed to be the longest Oscar Show I've ever seen, I was struck by branded thinking about how educators perceive going in a brand-ed direction. I'm developing thoughts about why educators might struggle with the idea of branding, especially since the concept has roots in the development of a Personal Brand.

Tom Peter's coined this phrase, Personal Brand, long ago and Dan Schawbel, "Me 2.0", author and personal brand expert has powered thinking and process toward achieving this goal as a means of developing value individually and for an organization. I think that where educators might get stuck. First, Tom Peters might look too business-like for most educators, though the leaders of school reform may have welcomed his thinking. Second, educators are more often the sort of people who are attracted to community, perhaps team processes, and find themselves often identifying with a group, rather than pursuing individual recognition.

Personal branding might look too egocentric for educators. They don't want to be seen as self promoting, As I saw last night with millions of others, most educators don't want to be "Thanking the Academy" for their achievements, then going into work to try to advance the greater good for a whole community. Seems contradictory to them perhaps.

But I believe that we can use personal branding to advance what is good for our schools, if we keep asking the question, "What's in it for the kids, what's in it for my school?" as we develop ourselves, our growth, and share our brand. I'm thinking CELEBRATORY...not CELEBRITY when it comes to building an educational personal brand that improves the entire school brand of the organization. Keep asking yourself as an educator," How can I celebrate the power that I have, define it, mine it and then shine it on the world so that my community is enhanced?" With that in mind, educators can brand through Celebratory endeavors that improve the culture of their community. They are not grandstanding celebrities of education, and it's not so much about ME but about getting to WE in a new energized way through unique communicating value.

Just this past week, my colleague, Eric Sheninger, participated in a further learning and personal branding professional development experience. PD can do that for educators, as it further defines their brand. And what he has done is open a blog that raises his personal educational brand, and enhances his community effort for his school. CELEBRATORY work...bravo Eric!

Define, mine and shine your personal branding light in education and be that celebratory leader.

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