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.


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.



I Get so Emotional...How Harvard Feels about Measuring Brand Feelings

The title of the post comes from  a line in an old Whitney Houston song that muses about how emotions can be shocking. In the recent Harvard Business review's post shared on my Marketing Class, #bmark15 feed, I came upon a great idea courtesy of one of my terrific students, Barbara Mair about how emotions are now part of analytics in the marketers' search for following the sustainable scaled buy that signals brand loyalty. https://hbr.org/2015/11/the-new-science-of-customer-emotions.

It speaks abut the new breakthroughs in big data measurement that can help marketers understand how emotions  create fans, and how psychology is more important than ever in the understanding of customer "buying patterns" that creates a connected and satisfied community. 

The article takes me to the BrandED positioning I'm trying to develop that meshes or mashes(!) the best thinking of business minds with the best practices of education.


The study suggests that Brand professionals see that emotions can provide a better gauge of customers’ future value to a brand better than any other metric, including brand awareness and customer satisfaction, and can be an important new source of understanding growth and profitability. It seems hundreds of motivators have been determined that drive human behavior--motivators that explain how people become emotionally connected to becoming part of what Seth Godin says, The TRIBE.

This notion fits for me as I view the role that building brand, brand awareness and customer satisfaction plays in developing school leaders who get results through using Branding principles of BrandED in their public schools. As leaders we can look at the power that our networks and connections bring to feel good emotions. If you agree that schools are now in the service business thanks to the internet and social, customers become more connected  at each step of a predictable “emotional connection pathway” as they transition from (1) being unconnected to (2) being highly satisfied to (3) perceiving  school brand differentiation to (4) being fully connected.

Communication is a primary tool of successful school leaders. Working on developing your school brand can bring about a level of awareness  that leads to a better school experience for your customers. And thanks to the Harvard article, we can actually treat this as a science. There is a way to measure the impact of emotions that are part of the school BrandED experience. Looking forward to sharing more about emotions and measuring them for school success!