Branding seems like such a tough idea to “get” for school districts, as well as businesses. It’s tough because to get “be a brand” you have to get past how the organization perceives itself and tries to project that to the world. The Org is still into image management and building a brand means letting your constituents, your customers, your staff, your community step up and tell stories…it’s the frightening side of an open mic available to the Community. You hope everything will work, but there’s always that nagging concern twitching in the corner of your eye when a chair is pushed back that someone will get up and screw it all up.
These thoughts came to me as I skimmed David Armano’s presentation (shown above), thanks to “All About Me” blog entry by John Costilla. John lists a few people in the blogosphere that have a brand, or simply, a story that is recognizable, authentic, and out there.
When I jumped into this process 4+ years ago, my goal wasn’t to build a brand, but to tell a story about learning to use technology in education, to explore the Read/Write Web tools. Then, about a year in, I rebooted and started with telling my story of education and leadership, my perceptions of being a leader embracing new approaches and the power that had on my life…radical transparency, openness…those reflections have had an effect.
In the end, reflecting on my own traits as a leader helped me embrace the possibilities of the open mic, of trusting myself to share my story, as it happens, mistakes and all, with a wider audience. Managing my brand has been simply about being true to my values, being authentic and trying to acknowledge when I haven’t been.
Would that school districts and businesses did the same.