What Wells Fargo Teaches School Leaders: Build Brand from the Inside Out

              Going Farther Together?

              Going Farther Together?

Watching the unified actions of the Senate at the WELLS FARGO hearing gives hope. There is finally something these two polarized camps had in common in their session. The absolute distain for the Wells Fargo Company and brand. 

As much heat as schools have had to take in our 21st Century world, we educators can stand tall knowing that we are in it for the element of servant leadership, not the money, and we are comfortable in our own skins as we try to improve our school community.

What a waste of a good brand tagline is seen in Wells Fargo's ironic brand tag. "Going Farther Together" And yes, they went "together" with unsuspecting customers' money that was used to dupe the company into giving executives big raises based on false claims, Hhhmm...who went farther? The insiders, the members of the Wells Fargo organization went farther into undeserved bonuses and raises based on cheating and lies. Some of these unscrupulous people  actually will  go farther together with their colleagues... up the river. And if Elizabeth Warren has her way, the CEO is the first in line.

This pitifully shocking state of affairs touches the conversation about culture, especially building a culture of service to school stakeholders. In our upcoming book on leadership, Eric Sheninger and I discuss the value of culture and brand building for leaders. A culture of service is something educators bring naturally to the job everyday. In a BrandED leader's playbook for developing power using select brand/marketing tenets, one connecting point comes across: organizations must focus on their internal core in branding efforts. Schools must strive to be transparent as they communicate in this digital world. As they do, they must hire, support and train-- and sustain an organization of  informed employees who understand and live a school brand that is authentic. Some big businesses have a hard time "marketing internally" to their employees about the promise of the brand. It's obvious in Wells Fargo's case that the culture was never grounded in their message of helping customers to go far together. School leaders can follow a different model. Restauranteur, Danny Meyer's authentic, successful,solid system for developing his internal culture through "setting the table" for customers which details how to create true brand loyalty from within an organization..

School leaders who are building brand  see the need to market a brand to their internal group, the micro-community that services other stakeholders. That community of staff and teachers will sustain a brand that resonates with them. Involve your internal core group in contributing to the building process. Create a promise and mission that they can believe in and showcase every school day.