David Letterman, NPBEA 2015, and A BrandED School Leader's Call to Action

What is the link between educational leadership using BrandED principles to student learning?

Dave is actually asking that question of you!

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images


It's exciting to see that the 2015 NPBEA Standards', a  research-and practice-based document that guides educational leaders to their best professional development, points to a focus of well-being of students that is integral to their school success. Taking on a BrandED commitment to developing an image of a school, making an authentic promise to the stakeholders and targeting results is linked to the need for well-being that has guided educators today from the respected work of Maslow and his Hierarchy to latest thinking of one of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite thinkers-- and mine,  (And possibly Letterman's?) Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. (These two incredible thought leaders, without Letterman, take the stage tonight in NYC at a sold out appearance at the 92nd Street Y--and WAIT--I'm  across town" wait listed". Next time they need to invite Letterman and  book Madison Square Garden! They have much to share!)

I see the Report's standards lead with a call to action. It's a charge for leaders to adopt the BrandED mindset that my colleague, Eric Sheninger, and are now writing about since the publication of Eric's popular book, 2014's Digital Leadership. ( #proudtobechapter7! ) Our own book is in process. After this blog post, I'm back at it!

So in memory of David Letterman's once nightly Top 10. (Who else misses this?) ...Here's the terrific NPBEA list. I'm starting from 1 . Why?

Because it's screaming BrandEd strategy to me. That doesn't mean that each one of these standards isn't part of the BrandED conversation advanced in our upcoming publication. The combined standards  fit for school leaders to develop a BrandED plan. I just like the Mission, Vision and Core Value as the rallying standard from which everything else grows. 

Let's hear it for your BrandED journey in service to Standard One! ( If you've started on the road through the NBPEA standards, I'd love to hear how it's going.)...And cheers for 2-10! 

NBPEA Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015 (See the publication for a complete overview.)

1. Mission, Vision, and Core Values 2. Ethics and Professional Norms 3. Equity and Cultural Responsiveness 4. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment 5. Community of Care and Support for Students 6. Professional Capacity of School Personnel 7. Professional Community for Teachers and Staff 8. Meaningful Engagement of Families and Community 9. Operations and Management 10. School Improvement

Business and Schools as Resource Brand Partners: Who do you Know?

Are you a Business who wants to add to your Corporate Social Responsibility Profile? Are you a School Leader/Manager? You both can be a part of New School Resourcing through Brand Building. Business and Education can establish new partnerships in the digital age.




I spent years in leadership positions in schools and have spent the last ten years working with business leaders, building their brand.  When I was in school positions, you couldn't bring up the business world in topics about professional development and school improvement. Nobody wanted to hear what business could teach us.  Today the business world of communication is flattened by transparency and we can see the value they can bring, and the isolationism of the ivory tower in schools has waned. All of it due to digital media and what Tom Friedman calls a "communication mashup". I'm committed to bringing those worlds together.   Brand can do this. In business, I learned from colleagues about the  “1,000 people who Know You” rule,  a mass marketing technique. It can easily be massaged as a guide for developing relationships in a brand campaign. 


As you begin, focus your effort on serving a small part of the school community. That's called "segmentation" in business branding,  Ask what their needs are. Identify and Satisfy. And keep them happy. Your most loyal fans are already with you as you lead. As you begin to tell your own brand story through social media, and digital contacts, these people will be your biggest supporters and they will work more to advance the brand cause.  These people have reach to  their own influencers. They have links to businesses that have volunteer programs where manpower can be enlisted to offer services to your school. Business also has budgets for donations. Identify your core group to start your BrandED. Create the movement with these fans and benefit from their word of mouth inbound marketing impact. Twitter makes it easy to enlist the 1,000 People you Know Rule!


Find Happiness as a BrandEd Leader


We all seek happiness.

There’s a long history of happiness starting with Buddha to the present time. Today an industry of life coaching has grown up around this need for people to find and create happiness. School leaders need that juice. My suggestion isn’t for you to hire an executive life coach to build your confidence and well-being as you look to bring change to your community. Social science can strengthen you on your innovation road.


Since my mission is helping schools improve through use of brand principles, I know successful branding develops from a point of well-being.

Start your campaigns with building happiness. Identify your core mission as a leader. You will begin to feel the sureness of well-being that can steady your resolve for making change.  After finding that for yourself, you can inspire others who will be part of your innovation team. Check out the giving behavior described in Adam Grant’s work in Social Science @adamMgrant that creates organizational well-being. School yourself into happiness first to make change. Let social science help you teach others.

As a service provider for schools, I have seen the stone faced staff looks at many Professional Development sessions. Leaders who front load a change with well-being make my job easier when I visit to give value---and it makes your job infinitely easier as you lead. Be confident and ready. Create well-being on every school level. Your brand will be authentic, resilient, and --happy.



REI's Brand Honesty: Transparency as Big as the Great Outdoors

It's All about the Brand, and More about Relationships...

When I saw popular retailer REI's announcement last week that the company intended to CLOSE on Black Friday. It stopped me in my NYC tracks. Close? Hello?  I'm sorry, but that day is the retailing cut throat start to the holiday shopping season. What's up here? 

I was lucky to catch their CEO, Jerry Stritzke, on the CBS Morning Show explaining the bold retail move.  He talked with such genuine regard for the 5 million customers of the brand who deserved to see the brand live out its core belief about enjoying outdoor life---especially with friends and family on a holiday weekend. I immediately wanted to cheer. This company that is in business for outdoor living and sport, was  honoring their brand commitment and the relationship it has with its outdoor tribe . I got it.  Shutting down the brick and mortar stores AND masking the online screens is a demonstration of living authentically as a company. Their hashtag #optoutside says it all.

 As I write a book about using brand tenets in education, I suggest  business can teach us about relationships.  In the past, educators didn't want to learn from business. Educators were classically stuck in four walls, in offices and were worlds apart from the buzz of daily life. With the internet and social, the school day isolation is over. As REI shows conveying your brand through action is what makes success. And that's something for schools to know. Tell the story, talk the talk, walk the walk and keep growing your relationship with the people you want to serve. You do it transparently online and in realtime. And you make more customers happy and satisfied, and they tell someone else of your greatness...that's scale!  'Scuse me... I've never shopped REI and the window is open on this red down jacket... better get it now. Just call me a new member of the tribe!

              The Brand giant REI demonstrates its relational chops with a Black Friday Brand Gamble!

              The Brand giant REI demonstrates its relational chops with a Black Friday Brand Gamble!

#optoutside #REIsports #brandedlead

EducatED Relationships: Bringing the Power of Relationships to Schools

As a self-described "educationalist", I am part educator and promoter...

I've had a long and unique, successful first career in public education that led me to opportunities in communication with USAToday. Work that  launched  my own communications consulting practice. I'm teaching again now as an instructor at Baruch College in NYC, serving business clients, and I'm adding to my authorship as I work on a forward thinking groundbreaking book about using Brand principles to improve school management with a tremendous partner.

Nothing that I've done in my professional life has come without my awareness of making connections and building networks. It's natural for me. Not so natural for others. The lack of support and awareness for that need in 2004 led me to look outside of public education, but I'm back.

Seth Godin, brilliant marketer, talks about "tribes" in his TEDTalks. Well, I'm happy to be back in the tribe of educators. My mission is to see my colleagues in schools are educatedED in relationship building.  Building relationships can improve the school experience for all involved. Building relationships positively impacts culture, performance and resourcing of schools.

Launching this blog with a post on educational relationship building and the need for being relational as we practice our craft seems like coming home. I will be blogging about all sorts of relational themes, but the EducatED Relationships that can raise the value of our public schools will be on my mind as I write over the next months. And I'm looking for fellow tribe members around the world who have this awareness. and are willing to share what they know about connecting for school success. 

It's a nosy 3.0 world of buzz thanks to the internet. That means a goldmine for building relationships. Digital and social media can do only so much. Build relationships from scratch and not from just a screen. Put out your hand, look someone in the eye and say hello. 

Hello, I'm Trish Rubin and I want to talk about the power of relational life.