ConnectED Leaders can Create to be Great! Build your Thought Leader Brand by Sharing

Thanks to neonbrand!

Thanks to neonbrand!

ConnectED Leaders know they can CURATE and AGGREGATE to be GREAT. The attention to Curation in a “Phygital” (physical+digital) world can raise your leadership brand profile.  Many edleaders, feel overwhelmed with in a super saturated world of information. If you aren’t the blogger type, you can be as power Vlogger and tech school leader,Clay Reisler says The Mayor of your Digital Town. Take a short cut in time but deeply touch people, through Curation. Choose a path of Curation and Aggregation that could solve your “aggravation” around growing your thought leadership brand.

Today,  invest in social listening and sharing of content.  Aggregators of news are a great resource for building your own thought Leader brand. Beyond your Twitter or Facebook feed, look at other worlds other external communities and find the quickest way to get information to share or comment on or write about. Look at where I write and aggregate and learn. Collect information by setting Google alerts for key areas. You will be notified on email and can share content from others quickly. Sites like and will also allow you the power to see the aggregation around your interests. Another  example is the newsletter Finimize which can get leaders up to speed in three minute daily reads about the world of finance, the news about money, the trends, the discoveries. Want to be informed about blockchain? As a school leader you should be—finance touches school—curate around it and show your bandwidth. Connecting to a daily read around those topics such as crypto-currencies can grow you connected brand presence. 

After going out in those aggregation waters, start choosing and sharing these articles via you LinkedIN Page. Don’t do it for the likes…do it fo the transparency of sharing professional interests. Become a curator! Then model this for others…get your internal team involved and have them find the same resourcing power and connection to the external world by sparking their creativity. Show them you are excited about connections and you want to know what they are seeing. It’s a bit of trend-spotting that the aforementioned sparks & honey agency does do well. They look at trends. The best partners for this are the millennials and GenZ’s in your school community, but don’t discount retirees or stay at home dads or moms who can help the school find the next partner to help them resource through their own.

Keep beating the drum on Listening---always listening to the beat of content on Social media . Keep informed by what you see and share it with your teams. Ask them what they think of a post...start a conversation. Schools with closed networks can be treasure troves of trends that are impacting school from the outside. ent social and digital leadership presence.channels 

Add practice to your tech presence on a select channel with the intention to upgrade you video presence that can be found as authentic and interesting to potential partners for your school . If you are experimenting with FB live, start with post a casual “talking-head “ style of video in a selfie moment about a school event and how you are looking forward to attending. Then move over to your Twitter and write a post to the event with a link to the occasion followed with a few school hashtags. Tag in a few peers from your network who are on Twitter and you will be pivoting to new power as a tech user.

Build your Brand and Smile!


When speaking to superintendents, I stress that with every new connection they make using their well-defined brand, they amplify a UBV, their Unique Brand Value—and eventually see result in developing the district brand. The need for leaders to become the Storyteller-in Chief grows with the popularity of digital and social media. Having an educator brand is necessary in this transparent world. The word is spreading. According to Paul Le Blank, President of Southern New Hampshire University, “ Leadership is about being Storyteller-in Chief, crafting a narrative and a vision that inspires people to embrace a shared mission, gives them a sense of meaning, and compels them to do all they can in service to the mission. This is true leadership at every level.” This quote from ConnectED Leaders says it all!

Be perceived as genuine with your personal professional brand. Smile and share your authenticity. Take visibility to heart as you build your brand and connection, not as self-promotion but as a true representation of your core value. The superintendent’s brand strength and the district’s brand strength can both be told in an ongoing narrative to the benefit of students. We build our brands in service to them.

Blur and Blend Marketing: A Trend for Brand Innovation

Blurring and Blending:  A Trend for Brand Innovation



Following trends is something that Sparks and Honey influenced me to do three years ago. It’s a necessary practice for making sense of the world of work and of the world of my own personal life. I’ve been inspired by the agency and it’s led me to include the practice of trend analysis in a form suited for educating the next generation of marketing professionals here and abroad. Understanding “signals” makes students keenly aware and skilled at spotting, curating and interpreting trends. It’s a valuable skill for them as they approach the first jobs of careers. It’s a real distinguishing skill in a typical skill set of a marketer.


As the year 2018 closed I saw that my trend seeking was showing me a trends that I’m calling Blurring & Blending. It’s the illustration of how the “mashup” that the visionary author Tom Friedman predicted before the 21st Century. It’s being played out in the context that Marshall McCluhan painted of an electric speed of communication in a foggy sea of information.


I noticed over and over again that wildly different sectors were finding new connections with new partners to meet the escalating demands of consumers for new experience. Things weren’t sorting into verticals or sectors anymore.


 Just walking the street in NYC I could see Capital One Bank becoming a Coffee Café, a retail store called Story behaving like a magazine and changing its theme every two months, and top restaurants becoming co-working spaces in their off peak hours.  


Tuning into Blurring and Blending I saw more examples. The New York Times acquiring an experiential marketing agency called Fake Love, and Cadillac House becoming a showroom for autos against an event and gallery space. restaurants becoming co-working spaces in their off peak hours. The leader of the co-working sector. Wework just launched a “Made by WE” concept  that blends their brand with the brands that they house and then blends with a retail and coffee experience, combined with on-demand,  “grab and go”  style time in a workspace. Talk about a blur of innovation! I even spotted a signal that suggested a new sport, the blending of Boxing and Chess was taking hold!


Blurring and Blending the lines is creating new ways for consumers to behave, to learn, to engage. It’s Blurring and Blending marketing! Maybe cutting through the fog for marketing meaning is morphing?


I’m suggesting that keeping your eyes out for potential blend and blur partners and opportunities is a 2019 strategy, and telling that  to education clients as well as to my business clients. Where do you see the lines being blurred in your company? Where do you see a place to lead in a way that inspires the juice of innovation that comes from this kind of risk taking? Let’s talk about it over coffee-- in a bank!

Tips from The Beach...Calm Down and Lead:The Psychology behind BrandED Leadership

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

Leaders in the Ed world or Business world share a fear of the transparency social media brings. 

Calm DOWN, people! Take a strategic route to better communication. Understand Behavioral Neuroscience. I don't mean lab experiments about measuring eye gaze patterns. I mean knowing the general basics of Neuroscience and Relational Neuroscience, these areas of psychology are reaching new levels of acceptance in organizational and management circles. 

Face it, you need to brand build as a leader, no option here: personal and  organizational brands  potentially improve the efficacy of a leader and their organizational success. Use the words of one of the leading neuroscientists, Abhijit Naska as your guide--“You are your mind, so if you can see it, you can achieve it.” Let your mind play--begin to sculpt and build that brain. Understand the relationship between memory, learning, emotions and your brain. The better  you know these connections, the better you will be at crafting and employing a brand that goes beyond the window dressing of surface features to authenticity and to successful relational leadership.

Another tip, in neuropsychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson’s Hardwiring Happiness, learn how our brains are wired toward the negative. Start with a positive view. If someone sees 10 tweets that are supportive of their leadership and one negative... they will focus on that negative. After you sculpt your brand go to the Relational Neuroscience gym and build your tolerance for ambiguity in the social media world. Pattern a daily reflection on the brand you have built. Use even in one word, like "RELENTLESS" principal,  Hamish Brewer does. He's naturally got relational neuroscience running through his neurons!

Then as we say in BrandED become a Brand ACE that we feature in our text, one of pattern and consistency --of neuroreflection. Bring the the benefit to your organization.

And one last tip-- follow @ adamMgrant while you are building your power! 

Cheers to a Campaign of CHANGE!


School leaders get excited when a new school year is on the horizon. Business leaders too when they start a new campaign. These launches are full of promise, and remarkable small ideas can be the "thousand small touches" Michael Eisner talked about in the course of a school year or a business cycle that make change happen. These are the tiny touches that your teams and networks can deliver to sustain the interest on the road to change as you are bring forward new thinking, like the innovation of building a brand. 

As we have been sharing how to create a BrandED culture and how to build a BrandED plan with leaders in our BrandEd bootcamp these past months, I see the bubbling up of energy ready to be released at the start of a campaign by newly minted brand savvy leaders: new communication directions, new strategies, new messaging in realtime and online.

This launch energy is like the setting of more than 100 million explosive bubbles free in opening a new bottle of champagne. If not consumed, million bubbles of that opened champagne are lost. But you can't gulp champagne--or change. When sustaining the momentum of change after a big launch, leaders have to be the stewards of the innovative effort. making sure that the change doesn't fall flat, fizzle out, lose its sparkle of promise.

But all hope is not lost if things do slow down, if change process needs your spark, leaders can take a page from the champagne lover's book.They revive nearly-flat champagne: by dropping a single raisin into the bottle. It will collect and then gradually release remaining carbon dioxide from the first fermenting that is left in the flat champagne, putting some fizz back into the drink. Saving the bubbly.

This is a metaphor proves one small compelling action by an observant and active leader can be that "raisin" of power to ignite any campaign. Be ready to step up to sustain the innovation and make change "stick" with your unique modeling and committed leadership... it's the raisin to your team's efforts as change makers. 

Cheers to innovation in your communities! Keep going, leaders... keep bubbling up change...and be ready to see yourself involved as the steward--- the wine steward-in-chiefof a new sparkling experience for your organization.