The Storyteller and Steward of BrandED Leadership


For leaders adopting a brand professional presence, the role of Storyteller-in Chief is a comfortable way to employ successful business brand tenets that fit in our transparent, digital school communities.  Eric Sheninger @E_sheniger spoke recently at a tech conference about the power of this role. Sharing the authentic stories of all the good going on in schools is important to getting the attention of your audience. When educators develop a BrandED mindset that is a asset to their professional growth, something deeper happens as a leader deliberately shares the journey of BrandED with a community.  In that way, the Storyteller also becomes the "Steward" of the unique school brand.  As a BrandED Steward, a leader not only tells the story of the school, but guides the authentic process of communicating brand value to stakeholders in ways that keep the community focused and the message growing strategically .  School leaders as Stewards of brand employing BrandEd leadership tools for continuous growth,  understand the return on relationship that this  professional investment brings.

Leaders like Eric can guide the implementation of BrandED strategies through their  stewardship. Stewards feel the responsibility to lead that comes from an ethic of  sharing your authentic professional brand and  creating a school brand  . A BrandED Steward uses the curated and created stories of the brand to advance  culture, performance and resources that bring school improvement. The BrandED leader guides in a collaborative fashion, and  sustains the brand message in a community. Storyteller and Steward are relevant roles for a modern day educator in a digital age.


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

Four Planks for a BrandED Campaign

We’re not Selling. We are Telling

Storytelling is a big part of sales and school leaders are part of the "Non Sales" selling world. As I've connected over the last year to the PLN's of forward thinking educational leaders, through my work with @E_Sheninger, I recognize  savvy school leaders make it clear to their audiences that they aren't selling--- educators are not like the salespeople I serve in my consulting work. Yet, like it or not, the big world of education has elements of sales. 

Today’s educators are in the business of telling. As you make your BrandED plan to improve the culture, performance and resourcing of your school, you will be on a persuading "CAMPAIGN". Daniel Pink’s book To Sell is Human describes  “Non-Sales Selling”. His belief is that we all are in the business of persuading.  Using BrandED thinking, we are part of non-sales selling-- through a campaign of TELLING. As we enter into the next phase of campaign season in this nation, let's think of our own campaign possibilities.

Solid planks make up winning campaigns. What's our BrandED campaign based upon?

1. We create a unique product : An educational experience. Let's demystify what we do and be as transparent as possible so that we engage our stakeholders.

2. We can position our product for success.  Form your BrandEd campaign team, an internal team of teachers, staff, kids and parents. Collaborate. Distribute the work. Craft your story in meetings and conversations that you will share with the world.

 3. Let's win hearts and minds in the way the best brands do. In the external world of many stakeholders, the genuine stories we craft and tell  our public can win support --hearts and minds, loyalty and resource partners for serious stuff like passing school budgets and levies.

4. An educators’ brand is integral to the promise of what the school delivers. Identify what you are offering now and for the future. Know the community, the “tribe” you are in exchange with so you can be clear about what they want to contribute to the brand experience.

It’s a never ending story of telling who you are as a school brand. When the storytelling connects  the tribe in a campaign, people are happy. You will see it. You can measure it. A sense of well being can result that improves the climate for change across school initiatives.

A BrandED campaign featuring  business principles that improve your leadership style won’t reduce education to sales. These ideas shape us as new age educational leaders. They are sound in reasoning, and can be  measured for result. The execution of BrandEd principles in a campaign is a highly creative endeavor. You can bring unifying change and power to your community  as you design your own brand TELLING campaign across the real time and digital landscape.