Speaking to marketing graduates at Northwestern University's commencement, Paul M. Rand, president and chief executive officer of Zocalo Group, spoke on five steps that can ensure you are regarded in the manner you desire.
- Develop a clear and purposeful story of how you want people to talk about and recommend both you and your brands. How do you want your students to see you? Your colleagues, parents and supervisors? Develop a clear vision of how you wish to be perceived. For our purposes, our brand is what we want to sell. For the third grade teacher it might be outstanding methods of differentiating instructions to meet special needs. It might mean being an a teacher responsive to parents' concerns. You choose your brand and how you want to be known, and let these decisions guide you in developing your reputation.
- Live Your Brand. Do you want to be known in your school as a leader in implementing the Common Core Standards? Communicate your effort. Do you want to be known as a teacher who has outstanding communications with your parents? Don't go for days without returning phone calls. Don't let your weekly newsletters slide. Do you want you library media program to be the centerpiece of the school? Keep promoting it. Be a part of everything that keeps you in your audiences eye. (I am personally very guilty of letting the PR aspect of my program slide. Not good. Certainly not smart.)
- Be Human, Transparent and Live Up to Mistakes Quickly. Shocking as this may seem, none of us our perfect. But our children tend to idealize the adults they know. They tend to think their teachers know everything and that their librarian has read every book in the library. It's okay not to be perfect and to confess to that. It is healthy for children to see grownups admitting deficiencies. The same goes with our interactions with our peers. s your brand being a leader in professional development at your school, but failed to read the assignment for the book study? Confess, catch up and email your peers you understandings of the missed assignment. Be true.
- Stay engaging and interesting. Keep the conversations current. It is what you are doing now and how that fits into present issues that will interest your clientele. What you've done in the past might build an impressive resume, but "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" is the question on everyone's mind.
- Regularly evaluate and evolve – but stay true to your core. All of our programs are evolving, for if they don't evolve, they die. This is especially true of libraries but applies to other aspects of education, too. Know what is going on in your profession and evaluate how you can use this knowledge to improve what is important to you.
Rand, Paul. "How to Live a Recommendable Life." - Brian Solis. N.p., 5 July 2012. Web. 05