Brand Activation: 4 Ways to Experiential School Brand Marketing

 Brand Activations with Trish Rubin and Scott Kerr at Baruch College

Brand Activations with Trish Rubin and Scott Kerr at Baruch College



Typically schools offer community events for holidays like homecoming, or curriculum events like science fairs, and sporting activities like Friday night basketball games. Without a strategy, you miss an opportunity to build school brand “belonging.” into these events that with get people talking. Check your Maslow...belonging is an important need!


Become a BRAND ACTIVATOR  school leader. See school events as a connecting power a Brand glue that creates better culture, one based on true belonging. School events are part of an Experiential Marketing strategy that is used in the business world of brand that we can adapt! The events are untapped gems for conveying school  brand to your tribe.


Overhaul your event calendar to share the new brand image you are building!


1.Secure your School Brand Assets First: Have your Brand messaging ready before you take on Activation thinking: Powerful words, mantras, short mission statements, positioning statements and brand promises as part of every event and woven into the activities consistently. Use these events to create the One Thousand Small touches for building School Brand!



2.Recognize Connecting Brand Power: In schools each school event is isolated from another. Planned in silos these are “one offs” and not connected to a long-term emotional strategy to connect kids, staff, teacher, parents and community to the greater benefits of the whole school. Bundle school events and connect them consistently as “experiences”-- Brand ACTIVATIONS... .communication opportunities that showcase the school BRAND as it is experienced in the environment, events that create consistent messaging  help bring  what marketers call “stickiness”… the engagement of a community over and over again with positive feeling for the school. Create a new attitude !


3.Understand the Need of your Community to Experience: We live in the digital age of experience. What does your community want to gather around ? Find out how your community wants to celebrate and learn how they want to connect to events..Think of your market. Poll, survey or focus group activity can give you a sense of how experience should be offered. Find out what Celebrations of Life are missing from your calendar and build them in along with Prom, plays, and club activities. Remember Maya Angelou… people will remember how you made them feel. Brand Activation is about building emotion and feeling into events that are related to your brand messaging.


4. Lead with the Camera Culture. By 2020 75% of all content on the internet that is shared will be VISUAL. You can build your school brand through visual messages that can be liked and shared. The goal is to have your community feel the belonging so powerfully through Experiential Brand Activations that they share their own visual content creations of their experience with the school brand and use your powerful language, messages and hashtags so the word travels!



 Thanks to marketing icon Seth Godin...I'm taking on a micro-blog state of mind.

I hope to be more present in the blogging universe by using the power of three words that present  small thoughts that could have big value for readers experiencing TIME POVERTY...the Sparks & Honey Agency's word for what we are experiencing in our "always on" digital state .

So here goes....Here's the first three words: AWARENESS. TRUST. REMARKABILITY.

Judith Wilson, my BrandED Bootcamp training colleague has her antenna up. She's got  AWARENESS... That’s a requirement for a new age school leader. As Eric Sheninger  and I say in BrandED "No more ivory tower." Leaders must take in a big view of the world outside their schools. Connections abound! So even attending a social event moved Judy to share a brandED leadership connection when she saw Dr. Ginny Mantello speaking at a recent event.

Dr. Ginny related that at 15 years old in the 1970’s, she lived in Mumbai India and experienced something that changed her life. Her protective mom agreed to let Ginny hike the Himalayas this very young age.  And WHY? Dr. Mantello said it was only because the managing group was the YMCA, a brand she TRUSTED. Flash forward to now. Ginny was a parent at Judy's school when she was principal. 

Dr. Ginny is now a community leader and the Director of Health and Wellness for Borough President Oddo on Staten Island. That YMCA brand  influenced her very protective mother  allowing her to take part in a life changing  event when she was a child. The brand was TRUSTED by her very careful Mom... The brand...YMCA.. is the brand we often celebrate on the dance floor at family occasions,but it  is more than that!

Leaders----Keep you AWARENESS across other industries going and recognize brands who can help you. With your own a clearly developed school brand image and promise your parents can TRUST your school brand  and that makes lasting REMARKABLE results  for kids.

Thanks Judy, for keeping your AWARENESS at top of mind for brand. Keep that antenna up every day for BrandED. It can build TRUST. Become as Seth Godin says...REMARKABLE... as remarkable as Dr Ginny. 

With a clearly developed brand image and brand promise your parents can TRUST your school brand and engaged with your brand in life changing ways for kids. Who knows what REMARKABLE changes a school brand can bring to a child in your charge.


Go Eagles...This is not a Football POST!


One of my favorite quotes, one we used in BrandED, Eric Sheninger and my book, is from Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame…Here ya go---


“In this ever-changing society. The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of human spirit--not an ad campaign.”


In the aftermath of the recent Valentine’s Day school shooting, I turned to this quote.


Although Starbucks’ muscle of brand power is flexing in a highly publicized 30,000 square foot “coffee shop” in Shanghai,this is not the true test of those words.This is a reference to the strength of the human spirit in a deeper way. Since February 14th, I’ve seen an illustration of strength played out for a nation that captures what Shultz  meant about brands being built from the heart. Yes... Brands are built from the heart. And the gut feeling, the emotion they convey is what becomes the glue for a community.


The identity system… the logo and surface features of the high school brand are formed around the  EAGLE in the case of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That system is typical for high schools. Schools have colors,a mascot, a school song. But what the students in this school have shown us is their true brand, something they are building every day that shows the simple message of shown in hashtags like #neveragain. Much is invisible to the eye, we don’t see the depth of  what these young people  are processing, but their action of this is remarkably apparent.


They demonstrate   belonging, owning  feelings that move to action --and spark a wave of belief as young people communicate their need to thrive without wondering if they will survive any given school day. This looks like a simple heartfelt movement and its emotion defies reason. That’s the essence of brand. Beyond the logo and mascot, this brand is stirring other Gen Z students across other high school campuses. Gen Z, the digital natives are showing us how to grow a heartfelt brand from tragedy.


Shultz refers to a campaign in the quote. A campaign is coming from this on March 24th, make no mistake. What I continue to remark about in the college classrooms I teach in, in the trainings that I do, on the stages I keynote, and finally in a long overdue blogpost is the power of simple messaging. Belonging that creates deep bonds in a community. Belief that grows a legacy and brings change to what was thought to be unchangeable.


Go Eagles...spread those wings.

Cheers for PD: Hold a BrandED Cocktail Party---without the Cocktail!


Since the publication of BrandED I’ve met thousands of educators  as I traveled these past months, speaking and training across the country, helping leaders to develop a strategy for their school brand. It’s joy to teach a brand strategy for educators that is deep, one that goes beyond a school logo and a static mission statement, a brand based on the power of the Storyteller-in-Chief. It’s a heady trip for sure, complete with the buzz of seeing others learn the new world of educational brand that can improve culture, performance and relationships. It’s an engaging thing---sort of  like an educator cocktail party.


I’ve met leaders who thank me and Eric Sheninger for giving them a framework and a guide. I've heard top leaders like Dr. Carmen Farina, Chancellor of Education for the New York City Dept. of Education, make a call to action to develop school brand that communicates and brings relationships to needy schools. Eric Sheninger and I wrote the book on school brand that captures research and strategy. Now with a training model in place, people are on their feet acting as Storyteller-in-Chief of school brand.


I’m struck by the acceptance of the "Business as Unusual” mindset we reference in our book. I think Eric and I touched a chord with people about expanding their professional learning beyond the usual course offerings and credits of typical PD. In one recent BrandED workshop evaluation, a principal thanked us for moving her out of her silo and into learning beyond her usual educator view of what makes schools better. We are in a hyper-linked world that allows us access to thought in all industries that can help us understand brand. It is a DIY world as we say in the book.


Recently I heard a savvy start up CEO say,” The future doesn’t care about where you get your experience, be bold enough to create your own unique learning in our new world and share it.”  As a Baruch College instructor teaching  Marketing and Brand, I own two advanced degrees, neither in Marketing and Brand, I’ve proven that bold point. “Business as Unusual” is the hallmark of today’s  PD for school improvement in a digital age of brand.


How do we support the ED leadership mindset to become a Storyteller-in-Chief rather than a CEO of Brand? One way we do it following the publication of BrandED is on our feet with our colleagues as we show them BrandED strategy, once the sole staple of business. And at one point of the training we go for “Business as Unusual" thinking. We offer our audiences a BrandED cocktail party... a cocktail party without the cocktail! A healthy educational buzz  results and our evaluations show elevated consciousness for learning more about brand.


It came to me when reviewing the TIPS for Chapter One (Pg. 58 of BrandED) for a recent session. We write that if you synthesize what makes brand important in schools and you write it on the back of an envelope or a napkin, you learn the value of “less is more” as you go forward to promote brand. You can capture your brand soundbite as you adapt business brand idea to school brand,  you can gather your brand bystanders and win over brand ambassadors. ( We give our energized participants a ten slide presentation "party favor" to help them make their first public BrandED connection after the cocktail party.)


Thanks to my ELI training colleagues, both former principals, Judith Wilson and Steve Cucchia, we bring the idea of a cocktail party to the day. We help leaders make connections to some deep thinking through synthesis by writing their pitch for using school brand. We get them talking about some deep structures like Pressures Schools Face, Biz Brand vs. BrandED, Considerations for Becoming BrandED, Assets of the BrandED Collaborative, and a favorite of many in the session (Figure 8.1 Page 237 in BrandED, Business Brand Model vs. Brand Leadership Model).



The conversations around brand heat up in this lively professional development session as we launch a cocktail party without the cocktails and share the buzz of building a school brand strategy using these touch points of brand strategy with educators who have identified their pitch for a unique personal professional brand. We prepare them for the party by working to develop a one word description of their own brand power that will introduce their new "Brand YOU" attitude and inspire their new role as Storyteller-in-Chief. In our BrandED Cocktail Party without the Cocktail”, our participants grab a name tag, write their one word brand identifier. My name tag reads “SPARK”, Judy’s is “MORE” Steve’s is “BEYOND". With BrandED book in hand, open to one section of the book that resonates with them, participants do a stand up cocktail style meeting, without the cocktail, but with plenty of interest in talking about the new ideas they see in BrandED. The room is alive with BrandED conversation and energy.



Holding a” BrandED Cocktail Party without a Cocktail” could be the first step toward a deeper BrandED book club for leaders. Think about developing your understanding of what brand is in the pages of BrandED. Grab your copy, find yourself a one word brand identifier as a leader and share the ideas in BrandED with your team, grade level, school or district. Schedule a BrandED Cocktail party without the Cocktail. Start talking “Business as Unusual” and get on the road to building school brand in the New Year.


Cheers to your new school brand direction!


The Power Shift in School Communication: Make the Right Choice for IMAGE, PROMISE, RESULT


It's a time of rapid change for leaders of the communication in our 21st century schools.  Eric Sheninger, my partner in BrandED, and I use the term of Storyteller-in-Chief, in our book to give structure to the actions school leaders can use to control the narrative of their schools. I'm calling out all school leader storytellers! This is an internal and external leadership job that reaches to the future. We can no longer rely on one way channels of static reporting to our communities.

Our communication with the external world begins with self-discovery within our own internal school organizations. Communicating with our public is a now shared job, but school leaders are the models of how that school communication is lived each day.  We are the Storytellers-in-Chief, but our employees in the school must know the school's consistent story, one that captures our identity to create consistent communication with stakeholders. We need to advise our internal community about the stakeholders who engage with us. How do they perceive us in our communication? Are we trusted in our communication ability as we collectively tell our school story?  The most connected leaders exhibit that understanding as they lead their internal organizations, helping them tell the story of the school. They recognize that the balance of power in communication in their communities has shifted, just as it has in the business world. Our audience wants more communication value from us. This audience, call them stakeholders, consumers, customers are shifting the balance of power each day, communicating through the mobile, tablets, laptops they access during their day. They want that exchange with their schools and that  means a change from status quo communication to "business as unusual" for communicating the school's image, promise, and result which are the foundation of the school brand.

School Communication Thrives on Clear IMAGE, PROMISE ,RESULT

We can learn from every brand in business who knows that what they once confidently offered to their audiences in one way selling campaigns is "shouting" at us in traditional ways of billboards, newspaper ads and TV spots is a waste of time and money. Business communicators recognize their audiences are accessing content about their favorite brands and about their stories-- whenever they choose. Those consumers are sending kids to our schools and they want the same "feel" of communication from the school experience that they get in other important digital channels in their lives.

School leaders now have to control their school'sbrand Image. No longer can the one way message carry the communication for success with a consumer. Schools need a clear brand Promise. They are awakening to the role of digital and social in keeping a community informed and unified and engaged in the good work they do. Making a s promise as a business brand does, making a solid claim to the benefit the school brings is necessary. Schools need to show brand Result. They need new ways of creating and measuring their promise so those who engage see the positive result of the relationships that communication brings. Businesses have learned to become hyper-aware of what they are communicating against the demand of  their audience's 24/7 expectation to be satisfied. Schools are seeing that shift as well. Stakeholders want to be seen as important and  want have the power to communicate in an exchange with their school community. on a day to day basis. Fear not. It can build unity and community that shifts a school's culture, performance and resourcing. School leaders are experiencing the same shift of power in their communities that has created the evolution of brand in business. Why? Because today a school is a brand. Recognize the communication power of that unifying presence!

The common thread for opening a conversation among business leaders and schools for creating excellence in education is BRAND. A clear and connecting brand is carried through every channel of communication, analog and digital. Business and school leaders can agree that their communication value is PRIMARY to their success in today's world. Messaging highs and lows are a click away in communication today. In business and in education in this accelerated world, I point to the common bond of IMAGE, PROMISE, and RESULT.  This can unite an effort in communication on a large scale about educating the next generation. 

Image, Promise and Result can be the foundation of communicating Brand. Moreover, it opens the door to connecting business and schools in conversations about the future of those we are educating for another new world of communication that lies ahead.

A Thousand Small Touches: Leading from Brand to the User Experience


 A school leader today needs to have a heartfelt talk with a business leader any day of the week. Why? They have so much in common. In a transparent digital world, their respective leadership missions now must include a new, essential ability to CREATE and DELIVER communication messages in an engaged way with their respective public audiences so a two-way positive communication loop forms... a never ending story of connection. It's true in business and it's true in school leadership. So welcome to a leadership world that is flattened, making the learning opportunities for schools and business communication endless. 

Here's a few simple, effective ways that I've seen business design the experience of a branded service or product to make people fall in love, in loyalty or just in line with messaging that is authentic. It's what I teach to marketing majors and what I bring to the organizations I serve... that includes schools. There are smart " edge dwelling" school leaders who are already reaping the benefit of brandED leadership and understanding how "User Experience" or "UX" is growing their school brand value.

Three Simple Steps into User Experience for School Leaders...


Leaders in school need to open conversations with their colleagues, the leaders across professions. Once your personal professional brand is set, you can test it immediately. Time to learn from others who are like you and unlike you. You can fashion a "User Experience" mindset to promote your organizations by connecting outside the schoolhouse. How to find relationships? Analogue still offers brand savvy leaders the real time opportunities of face to face or phone to phone conversations. Schedule at least two daily for 10 minutes with people you want to know better. Introduce your brand journey to them. At the start of the school year, leaders can consciously use their personal circle , family, association ties, neighborhood connections, health club networks, mom and pop store connections, and places of worship to promote the story of building a personal brand in service to creating a school brand. Ask: "Who do you know that might help me help my school ?" In a digital complement, leaders need to open a LinkedIN profile. It's a sorely missed channel to finding resources to building connections for a school leader. Most educators haven't seen the value in the connection, but in these leadership times your circle must be an ever expanding network of possible digital connections and a platform with so much to offer in communication like LinkedIn can not be missed. Open up a Linked IN profile and in DIY style get coached from the resource of video and articles to create your relational profile. One day you may even set up a blog on that profile to attract more network and relational power. For now, just get on the platform and show up.


Tell your ownstory of brand building as a bridge to creating a school "User Experience" mindset that is part of our digital age. Talk to your internal organization of teachers and staff about the power of having a brand that engages loyalty, that creates well-being. It's a step into social psychology that is discussed in BrandED. We know from brain research that emotions make connection. Look out at your early gatherings at your school meetings and advocate for creating a clear brand that connects to the experience of being part of the school community. The design of the school physical spaces, the website, the connection to kids and parents can eventually be linked to the brand your school builds. The experiences the community has with building the brand become the first script for stories. The user experiences of all those who come in contact with the services, products and benefits of the school brand are the stories that define. Be an edge dweller in those early meetings. Enlisting the internal community in co-creating the brand, find those who want to describe their own user experience as teachers, staff members, andadministrators. They can tell the positive stories that create emotion and connection that links to well being--a positive user experience.  Starting with the internal organization that is empowered by brand, the internal community can demonstrate how their "stakeholder facing" positive brand voice reaches to the community and forms loyal connections. As an aside, bringing some hot baked goods into those meetings can help...marketers know that the sense of smell is a powerful connector to positive experience!


When Michael Eisner talked about brand, years ago he said it best for today's digital user experience... " A brand is a living entity and is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures. School leaders have the responsibility to build internal awareness among their staff touse their digital and analogue savvy to offer a "User Experience" to stakeholders that is based on touch points that happen everyday in schools-- touch points that are shared with pride through many channels.  It's now a competitive world of choice in education. Your school's unique brand value is experienced by users who can help you spread the story of your school and keep your community vibrant, intact and loyal. If leaders think of the number of students, staff, and parents they can enlist through celebrating the user experience in small gestures through digital and real time, the thousand threshold isn't a reach! You don't have to wait for a Friday night football game, a big dance, or a science fair to create a memorable user experience that can be a product that illustrates a strong school brand. The community can promote through their own experiences using their own channels, which is how they behave when they loyaly engage with a favorite product or service.

Co-create the "User Experience" and your community will spread the word of your school brand!




Welcoming Brand: 3 Simple Ways to Start your School Brand Engine in the First Days of School

 Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images

Welcome back to school! have a powerful teachable moment in the early days of a new school year to create an authentic, energized communication link to your stakeholders through a well-defined brand.

The Opening Bell

As you throw open the door of your building for the year, see the array of new clothes, backpacks, lunch bags and  devices that  reflect the consumer choices of kids, parents, teachers and staff. Be a careful observer this year of brand. You will learn about your community as you study. Get right into the halls, with new eyes meet the buses and see the micro-tribes of big corporate brands. Don't be afraid to recognize the power of those brands. See the impact on your stakeholders. Talk to the owners about their choices. These brands can teach you how to start building your own channels to new messaging that improves your school culture, performance and relationships. Brands tap into  emotions with stories that build connection. You are a consumer too. Think about what you are wearing that is a brand choice for YOUR first day of school. And where did you stop for that coffee on your way in?  What's the story about that connection?

I'm telling you not to miss the chance as the opening bell rings to harness lessons from big brands as they have built" loyalty and belonging" among your own stakeholders...hmmm these are great elements of a successful school year. It's time to brand build for your school success. But how to do it at this busy time of year? Simple.

This is how to launch:

1. DO as I DO...Nike famously said, " Just Do it!" They were right. You have to be a model for brand development if you want to build an engaged school community. Knowing who the community is as a tribe is part of the school brand journey. Keep observing. You need to know your tribe. To launch a school journey, you must  first create your own educator personal-professional brand and take it out for a test drive. In BrandED, Tell your Story, Build Relationships, Empower Learning we give you a strategy from business brand building, A SWOT, that works like a charm for personal brand building. So just do it... Do a short SWOT analysis and reflect of your STRENGTHS, what you have going, your WEAKNESSES, what you want to build, your OPPORTUNITIES, what you can develop positively, and your THREATS, what's challenging you. Write a short reflection on each of those areas. That's Step ONE.

2. Capture the WHY...Hallmark card's mission statement speaks to their goal of "Making a genuine difference in life everyday". Get quickly to your why for your personal professional brand as you take your SWOT and condense it into 2 lines that speak to the WHY of what you are about as you educate your community into a brandED mindset. This statement can be part of your first public references to brand development. Don't be afraid to be the storyteller-in-chief here as you tell a short story of yourself and your why. Don't shy away from talking about Brand development in the first days of school. You have a perfect window with the spankin' new brands that are surrounding you in classrooms, hallways, parking lots, playgrounds to start expressing your own  brand why short story out of your SWOT reflection. As an educational leader my personal brand why is:

" Connecting school leaders to communication messaging that benefits the future of schools and their communities in a fast changing world."

 It's one line, but I've been doing this a long time. It addresses my thinking about strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. Please feel free to create the 2 or even 3 line statement. Like Hallmark, take that view of how your unique why can be demonstrated everyday and use your statement.  That's Step TWO.

3. Be the Energy... Dunkin's "America runs on Dunkin'" suggests community power. A whole country, a tribe of coffee drinkers, feels the energy of powering their day together. Less is more in sparking that energy, so look at your Why statement and now get really tight...capture who you are in a one word brand. Then get out there and claim it with the actions and messages that are the stories of your word. Visit classrooms, go to meetings, make phone calls, introduce yourself in that one word brand. It worked for Volvo...their legacy one word is TRUST. My word is SPARK. Others I know identify with GRIT, RESILIENT, AGILE, CURIOUS.... you choose you word and then find the channels to broadcast your personal professional brand, face to face, on your email signature, on your social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, newsletter, on your business card or blog to name a few outlets.To spread the word about brand in your community, find your brand curious stakeholders...students, teachers, parents, staff even community members and challenge them to create their personal one word brand to share. Open the conversation of making this a whole school endeavor during the year. Start the engine to developing a whole school brand. That's Step THREE.


Don't miss the opening of school when the positive power of brand surrounds you. If you want to SPARK a school brand that will power your messages, making them engaged and authentic in our digital world. Educators  must create a school brand and help it evolve over the school year. IT STARTS WITH YOU.


Brand Consumer to BrandED Builder: 3 "Brand Sure" Ways to Start your Storyteller-in-Chief Journey


As the photo of my Baruch Marketers, all holding marketing materials for my book BrandED, with Eric Sheninger, shows shows, Brand is never far from my mind professionally and personally. School leaders who are reading and reviewing our book this summer...even on the beach... are getting ready to take on the Storyteller-in-Chief mantle for leading their schools that will bring them into a new world of communication with stakeholders. Today I heard that the book is "user friendly" Thanks to  principal Neerja Pujabi from the Peel School District ON  for that view. It inspired me to do a short post that can help people move more quickly into the role of school brand champion before summer is over. It's simple to take this on if you start with reflecting on being a CONSUMER of BRAND before you become a BUILDER of BrandED. Ask yourself:

" How have brands impacted me and secured my LOYALTY?"

Once you identify a few ways that the "MadMen" have used to enlist you as a loyal CONSUMER of brand, you can adapt those strategies to a school brand while you are  executing as a BUILDER of brandED.  So how do they do this?

Here's THREE "BRAND SURE WAYS" to Adapt!


If you want to bring the power of brand communication, you have to step out into Business as UNUSUAL. Think about how you usually get people's attention at the start of the school year and DO SOMETHING UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT that calls attention to your brand strategy. Corporate Brands are masterful at  shifting people's behavior patterns. and you need to INTERRUPT the pattern of perception of your stakeholders by doing something different at the start of school. Do a video instead of a newsletter, ride a scooter into your opening day... whatever it takes.



In our book, we spend time talking about social science and well -being...why? Because people gravitate to what they trust and know. When you add something new like brand to your leadership style, balance it against what is known and trusted and comfortable. Start with the familiar identity system of your logo and school colors and then drill down into finding out the intangible feelings that identity system represents. What does it mean to be a LEWIS INDIAN? I was part of that Identity system when I taught middle school, but it really needed to go beyond the logo and tagline to what are the intangibles of that identity were in order to get the best of culture, performance and resources for the school. Brands lean into stories and find the ones that powerfully build emotion--then they share them! Don't be humble. Amplify out of that feeling of trust. Start hunting for the stories behind your school brand...those that have been going on this summer and share them immediately as part of a brand plan.


IN brandED we think about neuroscience because marketing and brands are experts in the conscious and unconscious development of ties to their audience. Why did you buy that $7.00 cup of  Starbucks coffee and not the $1.00 Mc Donalds' version? You get some sort of brand benefit that is truly intangible.( especially to me because I love DUNKIN'!) Brands lead our imagination to a place where we get benefits from our buy. School leaders who focus on the feelings and emotions of storytelling are going after the benefits to  brand loyalty. Understand you have leadership opportunities to build loyalty that improves your community culture by  starting a school year brand strategy that impacts the prefrontal and reptilian sections of your stakeholders' brains. It's not manipulation... it's information that can help you TELL and not SELL, which is the root of brandED thinking. 


Exactly Where I'm Supposed to Be... A Study Abroad CASE STORY

                                                              Guest Blogger, Justine Delaunay

                                                             Guest Blogger, Justine Delaunay

When I speak to the community of Study Abroad global professionals about marketing their school's benefits with the help of their students' positive experience, Justine comes to mind. Instructors who have the H2H...Human2Human view of teaching hold an untapped resource for retention. Justine's experience confirms that caring and sharing are true marketing tools in a digital age. I'm happy to introduce her to you as she describes her study abroad experience at Baruch College. I'm sure she is amplifying her experience to her network!  Along with my partners in thought leadership, Irene Tieh, global education strategist, and Angel Ahmed of GNET Global Network, we use the term "CASE STORIES" as we present strategies to recruit and retain students. Justine's experience is a CASE STORY full of reasons why the Baruch community presented great resources to her that she is proud to share! 


                                    Why I Chose to Study Abroad in New York… a Place that Cares!

My name is Justine DELAUNAY. I’m a Communication & Marketing student and I’m excited to share my study abroad story.

I define myself as a passionate millennial. I’m curious about everything. I love studying and I realized that we never forget what we learn with pleasure. I seek the things that make my heart smile and I’m constantly learning. I learn from people I meet, I listen to their stories and I share mine. As a Digital Native, I follow trends and I do my best to understand the information I get and use it in a meaningful way. I love to travel, read and eat really, really good food. Let me share why chose to come to New York and show you  how valuable an international studies experience can be to a student.

A short six months ago, I decided to cross the ocean to discover and live the American life, to study and work in New York. I did one semester in Baruch College where I had the chance to learn from the best instructors I’ve met. From Brand Management to Web marketing & Integrated Social Media and Data Management, I learned so much in 4 months. Indeed, what I was used to during my 3 years of classes in France was so different from the way I studied in Baruch College. Not only are Baruch  instructors  passionate about what they do, they care about you, your aspirations and how their students can take the best from their classes. I’ve never felt this vibration, this strong feeling during a college class. A feeling that was telling me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. From there, I enjoyed and listened. In every single class, I learned and met incredible people. During my semester, we had the chance to go out and see the real world of New York City business from Madison Avenue to Wall Street.  We visited the unique and highly regarded marketing agency, Sparks & Honey,  where we learned that connecting with people is the most important thing in business. We also worked for a mobile fundraising company rethinking its digital strategy. We listened to amazing marketers who helped us understand the real meaning of Marketing. One even said that for him, “Marketing is like a suit.” Marketing is all about the right fit for doing business!

After 4 months in New York City I returned to France with ambitions and big dreams that were fired by my study abroad experience at Baruch. Trish Rubin, who was teaching my class Brand Management, kept writing me, giving me advice and encouraging me in so many ways. In her last publication "BrandED", she talks about the importance of finding your virtual mentor. Well, I found mine. Because no one ever believed in me the way she does. After studying Brand Management with Trish, I understood that education is about connecting with people, spreading happiness to help individual’s growth.

After New York, I’ve seen opportunities coming from everywhere. I learned that if you show an honest interest in what people do, they will be ready to listen to your story. I am growing my brand. This is how I started to connect with editors-in-chief of online magazines, creative directors, artists… I learned about what they do and  I told them who I am. Little by little we realized what we could do for each other. Ivan Misner said: “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” This is it. Virtually connecting with people is showing me that my voice counts and that with passion, curiosity and patience, door will open to great opportunities.  

Determination and self-confidence is something New York City taught me. As students, we must realize the range of opportunities and the time we have. It’s precious. Believing in myself completely changed my life, and Trish Rubin has something to do with it.

Bring the Romance Back to Leading: Three ways to Create Heart for Change



Once upon a time in America,  TV wasn't a 24/7 source of entertainment. Black & white TV broadcasting stopped at a late hour each night respectfully allowing Americans to rest. It was a stressful time for adults and kids with the possibility of atomic attack threatening post WW2 lives. Americans needed their sleep and endless broadcasting of breaking news wasn't a glimmer in any programmer's eye. Each morning Americans woke to an expected reveille of sorts in front of a TV static test pattern. A few years into this watershed communication era, product line extension featured color TV, and more programming filled the night. 

Change happened in those days as this evolution of TV shows us, but the future beckoned in those days in a way that was romantic. Black and white TV's were the window into that future. In those bygone days we were protected as we faced those future visions of what was out there for us. The messages on TV were about being  patient. We saw the promised land of products and services, but the tone was "Get Ready" because the best is yet to come.  We set our sights on it, saved for it and imagined how good it could be when it came. From where I sat as a kid, the vision of a Jetson's like-world promised a romantic view of what life would be for me. Now, as I Skype my conferences and speak to a virtual assistant it seems worth the wait.

Today, the age of impatience is here, coupled with an age of acceleration in tech and media. Wait? Who waits? Change happens at a rate that is close to breakneck speed, taking with it our time to romanticize the future, and robbing us of the opportunity to get  ready for what is coming, We've lost the chance to think our way into believing what lies ahead is better than what we are experiencing which is important in changing an attitude and action. I teach this historic view as I teach international business students about marketing and see its application to leading.

I think leadership today has lost its edge in the romance department.



Because of the rapid pace of change. Romance, the ultimate feeling of well-being that was a large part of a pre-digital world, has gone missing making life harder for agents of change today. Who has the time for romancing the future? In the world of social relationships any app will create a reasonable facsimile of romance in a matter of minutes. But that's not where organizations need to go with their future ready eye to change. An app is not going to create the human to human or H2H feeling that helps organizations grow.  A leader with an eye on romancing the near future could try out that classic view of being future oriented with a bit of patience. Remember Yogi Berra's quote, "The future ain't what it used to be!"  So true today because of the galloping rate of change that is part of modern life. We are leading our organizations into territory of robotics, VR and AR with little time to process the change these exciting tools bring. How can we lead our teams into this time rapid change? 

 Creating a commitment to well being through change and fostering some small but human behaviors can help you show the love that a fast-paced multi- generational workplace needs. Put a bit of romance, a throwback to an earlier time, into your leadership. These three touch points can inspire without buying everyone on your team  flowers and candy.

1. Create Well-being  The field of social science is a place to access  strategies that develop well-being in this tumultuous time. Neuroscience thought leaders and their content are available to you on Twitter and through platforms like Medium. Do some DIY work on brain research and give yourself a solid grounding. You will see your time spent on building well-being is worth it. It takes you back to a classic point of development for change. Don't think of leading change as a pitch or a sales job. Look at it as a change to tell the story of where the organization is and the story of the near future. Be the story-teller-in chief. Use the research on getting people into "The Zone" for change using a supportive model like Seligman's PERMA model featured in brandED. Work by Adam Grant is also an access point around creating well being. His book Give and Take is a great place to start. 

2. Think H2H  Leaders in business use a Business to Business (B2B) or a Business to Consumer (B2C) model as they develop change.  Bryan Kramer's work  is as close to being romantic in leadership as you can get. Human to Human behavior (H2H) is needed as we look ahead into our future of machines in the workplace. Look ahead to a world where "HR Dept of Machine Interface" will exist. How do we meet the change that brings this evolution of co-working with machines and more into our workplace.? We do it by valuing our human brand. Leading with an eye on the romanticizing the human experience as we move toward interfacing with efficient machines and robotics is essential. Personal brand development is needed for leading and building teams. As change occurs threading that value through leadership will distinguish  any leader 

3. The Power of Small  Wherever you are a start up, a school, a company take the romantic view of the small moments to heart. They create big gains in your organization. The pressure to innovate is high in the accelerated age. The power of new is upon us and  the noise of constant new ideas competes across media channels for our leadership attention. Don't get pressured into riding the wave of the next big thing that comes across your screen. Great leaders know how to tune out the shiny objects and dig into the small, classic pieces that are working in their organization and then refreshing them rather than getting into the next big thing. There are plenty of new things in the near future that look interesting to you, but first take a deep dive into what is the core of your product or service and do as the Sparks & Honey  cultural trend agency shows us. They offer support in following trends in an element of culture called the "Refreshed Classic". It's quite a romantic thing these days to be seen as a classic, even in a rapidly moving time. 

 Use approaches like these and pace yourself through new times as a classic leader.  What is often missing in change is the heart for it on the part of your organization. Adding a bit of business romance may help you create some magic in your role as change agent.