Tips from The Beach...Calm Down and Lead:The Psychology behind BrandED Leadership

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

At the Beach we think our BEST! 

Leaders in the Ed world or Business world share a fear of the transparency social media brings. 

Calm DOWN, people! Take a strategic route to better communication. Understand Behavioral Neuroscience. I don't mean lab experiments about measuring eye gaze patterns. I mean knowing the general basics of Neuroscience and Relational Neuroscience, these areas of psychology are reaching new levels of acceptance in organizational and management circles. 

Face it, you need to brand build as a leader, no option here: personal and  organizational brands  potentially improve the efficacy of a leader and their organizational success. Use the words of one of the leading neuroscientists, Abhijit Naska as your guide--“You are your mind, so if you can see it, you can achieve it.” Let your mind play--begin to sculpt and build that brain. Understand the relationship between memory, learning, emotions and your brain. The better  you know these connections, the better you will be at crafting and employing a brand that goes beyond the window dressing of surface features to authenticity and to successful relational leadership.

Another tip, in neuropsychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson’s Hardwiring Happiness, learn how our brains are wired toward the negative. Start with a positive view. If someone sees 10 tweets that are supportive of their leadership and one negative... they will focus on that negative. After you sculpt your brand go to the Relational Neuroscience gym and build your tolerance for ambiguity in the social media world. Pattern a daily reflection on the brand you have built. Use even in one word, like "RELENTLESS" principal,  Hamish Brewer does. He's naturally got relational neuroscience running through his neurons!

Then as we say in BrandED become a Brand ACE that we feature in our text, one of pattern and consistency --of neuroreflection. Bring the the benefit to your organization.

And one last tip-- follow @ adamMgrant while you are building your power! 

Chocolate Holds Answers to Brand Value ...


Seth Godin's short blog post everyday is inspiring me to use the less is more way of thinking in my own posts--not even close to being able to handle the tight delivery he uses but here goes..... As I'm thinking a lot about my brand image as this wonderful mapping by consultant Lou Verschueren created from our first meeting reveals.

So I'm going to be talking to a group of New Yorkers in the shadow of the Flatiron Building on June 26th thanks to an invite from the Flatiron Business Improvement District who is co-branding with Baruch College CAPS program for its TECH TUESDAY. So using  my less is more thinking ahead of that. And one of the points I will make about personal brand...thanks to Seth.


In his short blog he talked with casual power about having worth beyond being superficial using the Tower of Pisa and Chocolate bunnies. The point being the Tower of Pisa is hollow, nothing inside to see but's that's ok... it doesn't promise us something--it just is... different for chocolate  and if you get a hollow Easter bunny,nothing inside to eat... you be disappointed -- the anticipation is high and the result not what we thought it would be...


He got me thinking about brand value...he said the wrapper matters but so does the experience within...

So I bought a bunch of chocolates that have the same wrapper to bring to the session-- but one difference ---the insides of the chocolate are different...same wrapper but they aren't hollow, they are filled with something different inside.

I've spent way  too much time looking at the possibilities of the chocolate, mint flavor, caramel flavor, dark chocolate. It's got me stuck. It looks the same, but promising's about the possibility of choice...and my expectation.  So with meeting people and sharing my own wrapper... the same wrapper that others have as entrepreneurial small biz owners, I going to know that my typical wrapper needs to do better than this chocolate wrapper. Your image matters. And your promise, what makes someone choose you the caramel over the milk chocolate center isn't an easy thing it's complicated. Brands have to make the quick connection to their UVB--UNIQUE BRAND VALUE... that brings result.

What's the difference in your own juicy core that separates your from the others as you promise your service or product? 

Don't Fear, Build an Appealing School Brand

I see some of the rhetoric around the upcoming election is based on fear. I'm already decided about my vote. Yet, in my mobile, I still get push notifications with short headlines that are  fearfully worded messages of impending political doom. Meanwhile, I am "courted" into spending just one more dollar  to support my candidate. I turn that noise right off, and recently it made me think of what some people: salespeople, lobbyists, even religious leaders do to motivate through fear. It's the complete opposite of a BrandED building view and what the best leaders do to persuade.

When you are building a school brand, emotion figures into the design process.This is important to the process, so click to share

In Brad Vanauken's business book, "Brand Aid", his words about brand motivation help leaders into a new leadership territory of the  brand building zone. As we learn more about adapting brand tenets for school improvement, we can use our educator's view to innovate with a careful eye on sticking emotional chords  Led by  a collaborative team, the school brand design experience, the building and implementation,  can be as creative and impactful as any cool ad agency can offer. As leaders guide people toward a discussion of brand promise, they keep the emotional connection to the brand they are building in mind.

it's not the time to create a tough forced directive tone. Move beyond the heavy tone that we now are exposed to regularly. Develop a school promise with claims that create authentic, positive emotional connection to the brand for your stakeholders. 

Words that support positivity in positioning your school brand will become the select categories for curating meaningful stories, online and offline, to promote  the good work of your school. Talk to your emerging community of brand supporters about positioning the school as a place of safety, a place of empathy, a unique environment, a place of competence, or a place of intellectual strength. Be a place that cares. According to Van Auken, these are the words successful marketers use to make connection. Leaders can adapt these words to our school brand work using them as guides to content that will show the positive story of the school. 

What will attract people to your institutional brand? These appealing stories you build  are significant offers that make the school unique. Told from  the perspective of our teachers, kids, staff, and parents they sustain a positivity that is needed in all school communities.. Showcased regularly, they begin the  storytelling effort lead by the Storyteller-in-Chief, the BrandED leader.

Fear not. Tell your story, build relationships, empower learning with brand.

BrandED Schools and That Perfect New HOME

             Betty Lee

             Betty Lee

Meet Betty Lee, a Brooklyn-based residential real estate professional .

I recently met Betty at a professional event focused on the use of social media tools for business. Betty’s unique journey using social media in the real estate business caught my attention. She was out there in the digital/social world! But she’d already caught the attention of online realty platform, Zillow, who highlighted  her creative business use of Snapchat in a recent article.

Zillow is cited in the upcoming book, BrandED, by myself and my co-author Eric Sheninger. Zillow measures the concerns of parents as they buy homes as part of their social “listening”. Zillow tells us that today’s millennial parents actively seek a school that performs. They use digital and social tools in their search. Parents want to see the same return on investment and engagement from their schools that that they get from their other providers of branded products and services when they go online. Buying a house is a serious buy, and consumer purchase behavior is hooked to the educational experience provided to owners of that new home who are often parents.

Meeting Betty got me thinking--and a lot of questions came to mind. Could using the powerful concept of school branding nudge a collaborative opportunity?  Could school leaders work with the real estate community as stakeholders in getting the word out about their unique school brand value? Could understanding what clearly branded schools offer help realtors talk to parent/clients about this most important consumer purchase? Could knowing the  brand value of a school be a valuable part of the home buying choice?

Betty provides some interesting professional insights and answers to my questions in ways that can connect BrandED school leaders who  build and share brand. BrandED leaders are looking for  social and digital connection to communities just as savvy realtors like Betty are  in this connected world. The information value of a well-crafted school brand to the public is important, and could create a win-win for schools and residential brokers and---for kids and their parents.

Let's hear what Betty Lee has to say...



You can't park your dream home next to your choice of school! Find a good match with BrandED thinking!

You can't park your dream home next to your choice of school! Find a good match with BrandED thinking!


The Benefits of Digital and Social Media Schools Stories to Buyers

 Betty believes that her clients are very diligent about researching schools. Having the transparency of a school brand would bring a new dimension to their search.  As someone who knows the power of social media from her own business, a school’s attention to sharing its brand on social media could tell a story about the mission and values that the school represents. This would also be a resource to professionals who could learn more about the good things the school is doing. 

According to Betty, potential buyers could learn the benefits of the school from the stories about the kids, stories that come through different social media school channels. The achievements the school community makes could be more easily shared.  In this transparent world, she suggests that an inside view of how the educational leadership organizes their efforts would also inform a buyer. There’s no more Ivory Tower! Schools could show the hard work around events, fundraisers, or even explain why they support certain events/organizations that could educate the community and buyers. These are all stories too and social media can be a platform where ideas or suggestions are solicited and a bigger picture of a school can be shared.  If parents of a school age child could see what opportunities there are with a school around conversations, and suggestions for improvements, it could also promote the school brand. 

Betty feels brand and digital transparency helps professionals too. Is there a new program, like a foreign language program? A digital brand presence would help professionals learn about this communicate that fact.  It’s a great tool to showcase the benefits of the school and to get more engagement on the part of parents who are making a big decision. 


Making Professional Sense about Schools

As a realtor, Betty is excited to see a movement for schools to share their brand. It helps her be a more informed professional. Even if a home is amazing and fits a client’s requirements, the buyers cannot pursue if the school cannot show value. Having a professional who understands the school’s brand presence can be an advantage.

Betty points out that as a real estate professional, agents cannot publicly support a school, but it would be great to know some key initiatives that a school is headed towards. Being able to see a school’s well-developed brand and its stories would make agents feel informed.  Communicating that value would be very helpful to clients because it would not be information that can be searchable on any standard platform site. It comes from the ability of the school to tell their story every day.

She believes her clients would welcome using social media to learn about the school’s brand if they understood the value. They are essentially going out to the public education sites or the school’s individual websites for information but are not getting the whole picture. The BrandED concept is different. Seeing a school brand presented with stories and connection is more personal.  Betty knows there are often school neighborhood listserves on Yahoo and Google. Those are a great resource for parents to get to know each other and there are always requests to speak to other parents who have kids in a particular school. But, in the end, Betty feels professionals can always use detailed information about a school setting and its goals.  It can only make them more value added professionals in the whole process of purchasing a new home.

















Why Does it Matter?: Educational Leaders Can Embrace a School Brand Strategy

Why Promote a School Brand?

Brand evolved out of a revolution in the last century that is touching every of corner modern life. A respected voice in its evolution is the father of advertising, David Ogilvy,  who said, “Today, brand is the intangible sum of product attributes, the name, the package,the price, the history, the reputation and advertising ” (Oglivy, 2012). If this is true, how do we align this advertising stance in  schools ? Educators don’t have an Ogilvy advertising agency budget to create intangible brand loyalty for their stakeholders, but we can surely adapt, and we don’t need advertising to create a brand.



The term “promotion” takes the place of “advertising” in  BrandED strategy. It’s the necessary adaptation. Unlike advertising, promotion doesn't cost a thing and it is required in today’s world of education to create brand power. It’s essential for educators to promote themselves in this digital world of connection. Who is better at sharing the story of the wonderful work of the school than those stakeholders who are creating this? Kids, teachers, staff can be the genuine voices of the narrative of success that is built through promoting the school’s brand. Educators who are strategic in promotion can reach stakeholders through the tangible and intangible connection of brand awareness. You don’t have a marketing department, but leaders can promote and advance BrandED’s foundation: image, promise, and result for connectivity. These three brand elements form the focus of a leader’s plan to benefit your school. Thanks to our world of digital advantages, brand is a fit for this journey.



Today, a teenager on his own personal brand journey on social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram is pursuing the same brand elements: image, promise, and result. That average teen is not as informed as a professional, but is selling and promoting like a pro to his or her audience. Why? He or she wants to matter. There’s surely a lot of emphasis on image and result on that kid’s part, and maybe some attention to genuine promise. Teens are sailing on the social media sea  delivering personal brand value for better or worse. Recognize that their search to communicate a brand that matters is real. These young stakeholders are sitting in our classrooms. They can be among the first  to embrace and power the new school brand and they can fit into a systemic role as a school brand is developed and promoted. Leaders come from all levels. Their voices matter.