Sometimes you have to rely on sources other than Harvard Business Review to get inspired.
Don’t get me wrong. My Associate Vanessa Wassenar gave me a subscription to the Review years ago (a great gift she thankfully keeps on giving). I devour it.
Sometimes, though, one longs for something less cerebral.
Enter More Magazine. Stated demographic: “Women of style and substance.” I take that to mean "cerebral substance," just not as "scholastic" as HBR.
The magazine happens to be on the coffee table. Meredith Viera on the cover. Southwest of her smile, I notice the headline: Why You Need A Personal Brand (and How to Get One).
I bite. Inside is a six-page spread that includes advice on focusing your Twitter content, getting narrow to go big, creating personal mission statements.
The article asks if you’ve been lax about burnishing your brand--or creating one? “Your personal brand is what you stand for and your reputation—what others say about you when you leave the room.”
Judy Robinett, author of How to Be a Power Connector, connects the dots: “It expands your options in life by communicating to others that you are a person they would want in their circle.”
How much of this is true to authentically branding our schools? We hear a lot about making a “brand promise.” We talk about “mission,” speak to “core values,” quote our “philosophy of education.”
But that matters not to your brand, which is, for the most part, out of your hands. It lives in your customers’ minds. It's what they say and think about you after you’ve left the room.
I’ve often said that a school’s brand starts by taking a strong and public stand on “who we are, who we are not, what we stand for, what we will not stand for, why we matter, and where we are headed.” It’s important for people to be able to proudly associate with you. “That’s who you are, that’s who I am, and I want to go where you’re going.”
That’s where brand starts. Without that first step, you will not be heard.
But ultimately, brand becomes what they say and think about you after you’ve left the room.
Better be listening.