District Administration October 2017 - 11

By Tim Goral

I tell them branding is part of 21st
century leadership in a digital world.
They're not going to do it by themselves, but in a procreative, collaborative effort.
When you're gathering the troops
to do this work, what's the message?
You've got to have a brand message that
consists of an idea that hooks people
and makes them feel like they belong.
When I talk to those principals, they
ask why they should bring business
ideas into education. I tell them, you're
not operating as a business person,
you're just using some really solid, respected business tools.
I introduce them to SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunity,
threats) which is really important in
business, but can be just as readily applied to education. You have to help
connect the dots to education so that
they can pick up these tools and be a
little more confident.
You introduce ideas from business experts like Carmine Gallo, Seth Godin,
Adam Grant and so on. At first I wondered how that tied into education,
but surprisingly it does.
Right, because they understand that
change is accelerated. Schools do not
move quickly, we know that. But everything around us, outside the schoolhouse, is moving at such a rapid pace.
So for us to even hope to do service to
these Gen Zers who are sitting in our
seats-who are going to have completely different jobs and challenges
in the next two decades-we can take
cues from outside academia. We have to
look at the edges and see what people
are experimenting with in other areas
and then ask ourselves how we can be
informed by this.
For our readers interested in branding,
what would be the starting point?
www.DistrictAdministration.com

When you establish your brand and people
understand that they and their kids
are a part of it, they want to share.
The starting point is to really understand your personal brand choices.
Think about how you've improved your
life through your association with a
brand that you're loyal to, whatever it
is, and why that is.
And then start thinking about how
you want to engage with people so that
they can see who you are-as I said before, show them how you walk the talk.
Then you have to talk about it.
You have to show people that this is
something that is interesting to you to
the point that it will be part of your
leadership, with the hope of building
relationships.
Next, you have to identify your pioneers, your adopters. They're out there.
Kids as young as 10 are doing this with
personal web pages and small businesses. And certainly teachers, especially
digitally savvy teachers, are doing it.
Find parents who have that understanding. They have tech abilities.
They've been in marketing. They understand how to write. And you just have
to find people around you and in your
community. They are out there.
How do you translate or expand your
brand into a school brand?
There's a great quote in the book: "Define yourself before being defined."
That's from Yong Zhao, the dean of
education at the University of Kansas.
You start with yourself and write a selfassessment, then you edit that down,
shrinking it until you get it to one
word. If you define yourself, if you have

that confidence in your own brand, you
can begin talking to your team about
how valuable it will be to the school to
distinguish it as a brand.
Next, take a look at your website
and spend some time on Google comparing it with other school or district
sites. Does yours look like every other
website in the nearly 14,000 school districts in this nation?
There's a fine line here, however.
You want to be unique but you're still
educators. People want to hold on to
the typical things that educators do.
But the tension is, if you do that and
you're like everybody else, there's no
brand there.
Once you define your brand, it
doesn't end there. It keeps evolving.
Yes, because the stories never end.
Every day there's something happening. There are kids, there are teachers.
Things are vibrant. Your school is a
living entity. A brand is a living entity
too. It doesn't happen overnight.
You become what we call an "educaneur" because you'll get into that
creative mindset we see when people
launch startups. They're bootstrapping. They're not Madison Avenue
firms with big budgets. It's just getting people on board in that moral
imperative to know that you've got
something that you believe in and
you're passionate about. DA
Tim Goral is senior editor.
October 2017 11


http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration October 2017

District Administration October 2017 - Cover1
District Administration October 2017 - Cover2
District Administration October 2017 - 1
District Administration October 2017 - 2
District Administration October 2017 - 3
District Administration October 2017 - 4
District Administration October 2017 - 5
District Administration October 2017 - 6
District Administration October 2017 - 7
District Administration October 2017 - 8
District Administration October 2017 - 9
District Administration October 2017 - 10
District Administration October 2017 - 11
District Administration October 2017 - 12
District Administration October 2017 - 13
District Administration October 2017 - 14
District Administration October 2017 - 15
District Administration October 2017 - 16
District Administration October 2017 - 17
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District Administration October 2017 - Cover3
District Administration October 2017 - Cover4
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