When polled about public perception of K-12 schools in the United States, attendees of the recent edWebinar, “Transform Your School’s Brand by Becoming a Storyteller-In-Chief,” offered mixed results. While there are some positive stories, many seemed to think that there isn’t much faith in public education. Trish Rubin, founder of Trish Rubin Ltd., and co-author with Eric Sheninger of BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships, and Empower Learning, explained that much of the issue stems from how school leaders tell their story and communicate their brand.
First, Rubin challenged the attendees to think about why brand matters to education. She wasn’t talking about logos or typically generic mission statements, though. What she meant by brand is the emotion, the gut feeling that someone has when they think about your district. Classrooms are no longer ivory towers where students are educated in isolation, she said; they are places where children live and learn for the majority of their lives. Teachers are trying to build a community, and the perception of that community is vital to getting support from the school members and beyond.
Emphasizing the rise of social media, Rubin next talked about how community members are sharing these perceptions and their stories about school. Educators need to be tuned into the “camera culture” and the value of pictures in presenting their brand. If your district’s educators and administrators aren’t doing this, other constituents will without any influence from school or district leadership. Even if the school leadership is putting out news stories, the pictures from the constituents will be the controlling message.