Driven by Emotion: "Affective" Stories of School Brand Experience

A recent article in D!gitalist Magazine explored the progress of "affective computing", the science of adding emotion to enhance the AI experience of a human who interacts with a computer. Engineers are quickly creating algorithms that will advance the likability of the robotics we will engage with in the very near future, engagement beyond  the friendly, voice activated "Alexa". This scientific industry, whose growth accelerates every quarter, is focused on the sweet spot of what drives human connection: emotion.

As a prominent researcher, Dr. Paul Ekman, discovered in 1967 when he investigated a tribe in New Guinea living in the manner of their Stone Age ancestors, there is a universal set of emotions that form the basis of all human contact. Ekman furthered his work into the facial expressions of those shared human emotions. He developed an online Atlas of emotions, a system that has informed law enforcement and security. Today his research is  teaching robots how to feel.

Why is it so important that AI have that essence? In business, it's the bottom line. The global affective computer market will quadruple over the next five years. Feeling good about the interfacing with robotics, not just voice activated tones, will scale the industry. AI infused with emotion will quickly bring trust about in humans to invest in this new exchange. As these affective computers go about revolutionizing our world, we humans can be confident that in the present we still have the upper hand  and heart in gathering ideas, collaborating, and creating information

But this post isn't about business it's about schools. So let's keep in mind that one way our school communities can aim to improve themselves is through the sharing of expression through brand. This is an H2H...Human to Human endeavor. Even while the world takes on affective computing, we take up the challenge to brand our school community. School brand lives in the telling the stories of our schools that are filled with the power of the ages: the power of true human emotion. 

You may think your school has a brand, but think again. it may have a "brand identity system",  a handful of features of what a brand looks like:  a website featuring a logo, a calendar of events, a mascot, and a serious headline or two, but that's not a brand. And where is the emotion in that first look that people get when they type in your school name on their computer? Most school websites need overhauling to capture humanity of emotion that launches the brand experience that the school provides. And much of that comes from the simple telling of stories that create emotional connection to the viewer. When you decide to take on the joyful work of building a brand, make sure emotion is a driver for you and your team.  

The world of business is building the "emotional economy" through AI and we will see the impact of this work in our exchange with big brands like Coke and Disney before we see it in our schools. That's a good thing. What separates us from robotics, at least in 2017, is that we don't have to be programmed. We can be driven by pure natural emotion to share the story of the best news, the smallest and the biggest type of stories that show the brand of our school. 

As you consider a professional development track to increasing value, look to learning about brand. Lead a brand movement in your school. Be driven by emotion to showcase the experiences to unify your community in a unique way. Your own emotion for the journey will be easy to read from the smile on your face that comes from building a meaningful school brand.