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Get Busy this Winter! Lead a BrandED Team on the Fresh Snow of Innovation in 2017


Looking at the calendar in NYC, I’m thinking snow. Actually we  had our first snowfall here this past Saturday. As we welcome winter tomorrow I see this image of fresh snow as a metaphor for a BrandED Storyteller-in-Chief. For those of you, like my co-author in BrandED,Eric Sheninger, who won't experience the chill of an east coast winter, you can still use your imagination to see the future of innovation using brandED thinking !

We welcome WINTER, but have our Wyllie Jossey Bass publication date in sight for SPRING: April 2017. The landscape of a new snow is a natural metaphor where creative untapped ideas, like a BrandED mindset for school improvement, await innovation. In that field, ripe for change,  see the faint outline outline of the those who led the way, those who influenced your own innovative thinking that brought you to the field.  The thought leader’s prints of the new insight are part of the great wide open possibility that lays before you--follow us. It's our invite to innovate. The field in 2017 is awaiting your tracks and, more importantly, the tracks of your school collaborators and early adopters who can support your interest in developing a school-wide brandED presence. If you take on a BrandED professional development mindset, you won’t be alone for long as you venture onto that field. Building with BrandED is contagious.

Eric Sheninger and I had our footprints in the snow back in 2009 for developing school brand. It was  disruptive thinking about using a business tenet of BRAND that was influencing our professional lives in connecting ways. It was fired by that little blue bird of Twitter. 

As early adopters on Twitter, Eric and I made connections on the “fresh snow” of the digital field and created a mindset about brand. Since then, the world has rapidly changed as digital and social reach grew. We have developed our first 30 pages of 2009 thought into a professional leadership book with the help of a valuable academic publisher. And our field of digital snow is now Amazon! As we bring BrandED to the educator community, I know  BrandED will be an unifying innovation.

Don't wait for SPRING! Look around this winter, school leaders. Start talking about brand and gather  like-minded team members  who are probably standing with their snowshoes strapped on tightly ready to take on the BrandED challenge. You can lead a capable diverse team in a Distributed Education model to craft and deliver a school brand. But start the conversation now. Find early adopters who will see your own "Storyteller in Chief " footprint on the snow-covered field of school innovation. Enlist a diverse group to talk about brand and then partner in an effort that improves their school. In the spirit of collaborative Design Thinking, your team can join you at the edge of the snow covered field of a BrandED innovation as a diverse collective. They will be a powerful, multi-generational stakeholder force, owning a range of human capital skills and social capital skills that rival a Madison Ave creative social media brand team-- they can power the communication change that is BrandED.

Thanks to the support of Twitter followers and testimonials, my own position on the field feels exciting. I’m feeling the connected presence of awesome educators who are out there on the edge of their own BrandED Thinking, and they are ready to learn new strategies to define their work and strategically build their school's positive perception in the community. A BrandED leader builds a collaborative team using the role of Storyteller-in-Chief and purposefully guides them to brand building as their capable steward. Make yourself known on the field of innovation now as you welcome winter-- use BrandED as your guide and create your own unique footprint in education.  

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.


The Near Future of Education: Watch for the Signals!




This past week I had  opportunity to visit the digital agency, Sparks and Honey (www.sparksandhoney) with my Marketing Strategy students. Thanks to CEO, Terry Young, we were hosted at one of their uniquely innovative daily-- yes, daily, one hour briefings on cultural content as the company shares the sparks of our world across five themes reflecting cross industry global topics. Pretty heady for a rainy Wednesday.

In the company of 10 of my marketing students, we watched,arena style, their innovative approach  to design thinking ablaze on a NYC business morning on “buttoned up” Madison Ave. The briefing reminded me of sitting in at USAToday in their editorial meetings. But this was 2016 different.

This daily briefing is the energized, fast paced short visual presentations from platforms all over the world, You tubes, apps, websites, etc and engaging twitter length organizational feedback/ conversation around the 30 or so views on all sorts of worldwide cultural data. The team refers to these sparks as SIGNALS, the content cues found in the massive online  environment that create creative worldwide cultural connection for change---These are the ideas that may cause us as marketers--or as simply as humans-- to stop and say “Hey”!-- Say “Dude”!-- Say “Whaaa”? ---Say “Yeah”! They are REMARKable sparks of interest… REMARKABLE as mega marketer, Seth Godin has pointed out is the foundation for a good brand buzz... But, these are the early early smoke SIGNALS that shows what the near future is asking us to notice-- To put that signal into our busy brains for future reference. (For me, it included the possibility of gifting a friend with a $60.00 purchase of a uniquely grown melon with a naturally grained logo-ed Hello Kitty logo! Say “Whaaaa”???)


OK, aside from  culturally bizarre notables ,what did this visit tell me about the near future of education? SO much...for so many blog posts.

Watching my students was key. These aren’t youngsters, they are post grads and they are multi-skilled global students, and I saw  they were excited to see this kind of workplace, and yet a bit anxious. They knew that even for themselves as young millennials, who can be facile, this transparent, connected world of work will demand more from them. Sparks and Honey is a place that brings IT, Creatives, Quants, Designers, Writers, Marketers, Self-starters, Collaborators, Dreamers, Doers, Futurists and In-the-moment-ists ( I think I invented that word, sorry.) together.  It's a window on the world of collaborative work. The agency is a signal in itself.

THAT is one  charge to education. To continue to build school communities that reflect this design model of connected, collaborative learning where we can ready the Gen Z's.  Break out and breakaway educational thinkers at all levels of the organization must create places that exist that embody goals and objectives linked to educating our near future workforce, a workforce that will be impacted by the complex changes that Signals will bring to their lives --the signals move into a reality in the snap of a digital finger.

I know it's possible. I know from seeing so many connected educator communities that are growing worldwide online, I know from writing a book about brand in education with Eric Sheninger, and I know from the look in my learners’ eyes. The power of transparency in the digital world brings conversations quickly  to the upper registers of cognition. Collaboratively designed communities fire and SPARK  thinking. And the HONEY that results?...sweet learning.


The Near Future of Education can be sweet when sparked with innovation and design thinking. In creating a BrandED community as we suggest in our upcoming read, BrandED new school strategies will bring relational behaviors that can spark and sweeten our young learners' school journeys ...watch the signals, school leaders--- and make a few yourself this year as you close out the school term and eye the near future of fall 2016-17 school year.


Three Ways to Show your School Brand Stuff: Champions are more than Opinion


“Impossible isn't a fact, it's an opinion.” Muhammad Ali

Before the word Brand became the topic of the worldwide chatter, Muhammad Ali was building and living a true brand. When he passed last week, his unique value was celebrated. Ali will be honored in Kentucky on Friday. Reflecting on his brand, the value of his bravado was that he proved his greatness. The feedback he received from fans kept him moving in good times and challenging times. When he talked like a braggart, he could. He had proven himself. He'd moved beyond opinion. The quote makes me appreciate how the line between fact and opinion. What was impossible for him in the eyes of others' opinions was silenced. Through proof, he created the fact that he was the greatest boxer in history.

One reason any big brand is successful is that the brand keeps its eye on proving itself and on feedback. Winning brands act boldly and take the temperature of their communities--their fans and stakeholders, and they share and celebrate. Anybody can have an opinion about a brand. Great brands show their stuff to prove brand value. They do it through demonstration.

Demonstration… Just as Ali did on his feet by his actions... proved that impossible was an opinion of those who doubted. Having just a little data of the right sort moves your brand calendar and your efforts into the world of fact. When you can prove your efforts to develop a brand through a bit of measurements of demonstration, it goes a long way to developing credibility.   It doesn’t take much to get that feedback if you know where to look. Where do leaders go to see the benefits of bringing brand thinking to their school communities? How do they to move past opinion? Leaders focus on at three school wide areas: Culture, Performance, Resources.

Determining a  measurable and attainable brand goal demonstration in one or more of these areas gets you information that can be celebrated. Getting feedback can produce the positive, tangible feeling and connectivity for a school brand to thrive.  Setting goals in any of these three areas moves the school brand conversation along to a level of priority. If you want to be serious about an effort, produce some of your own facts about it and get past opinions that can be share in a moment in our digital world..

Shape the direction of gaining feedback and measurement by asking questions:

What are goal messages that reflect our brand?

What do we want to stand for as a brand in the areas of Culture, Performance and Resourcing?

How can we measure our efforts, get information in a manageable way, and know we are on track?  


When you identify a goal for any of these three areas, a simple bench marking process can be planned.

The goals are shared through all communication channels demonstrating your sincere intention to see the results of brand at work in the community. Being engaged with the community around attainable and measurable goals for Culture, Performance, and Resourcing, keeps the work on track and helps to create flow toward results. Through storytelling, through performance, through focus groups, surveys, social media and other feedback channels, grassroots data/demonstrations about the identification and implementation of brand strategies can be claimed-- and efforts can be proven.

When your goal brings results success needs to be shared, valued and celebrated. The last question you will enjoy asking yourself is “How will we communicate the good news of our progress to stakeholders as we meet our goals? " Sharing the positive news of a growing thriving brand keeps the community engaged and connected. A social and digital age offers many ways to promote your proven brand exist.

Choose a goal for your brand effort in Culture, Performance and Resourcing and watch how BrandED takes root.

Then, use another terrific  Muhammad Ali quote as you grow your brand in a new school year...” Don't count the days, make the days count! "

Proving that will be a win for your entire community.


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.