“Reimagining the learning landscape together…“@TechyLeaderEDU‘s brand slogan
What is a brand?
Not coming from a marketing background, I never really thought much about branding when I first started teaching. Even though brands exist all around us, they blend into the daily fabric of life, so easily seen but not necessarily contemplated. A brand however, is a message, and can be a powerful tool to share your story with the world.
What are some of your favorite brands? The first five brands that came to mind when I asked myself that question were: Apple, Nike, Adobe, Google, and GoPro. Those who know me well, would definitely understand why those are quick recalls, given I use those branded products daily.
According to Wikipedia, branding can be a ‘physical mark’, or ‘a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service‘. It’s thought to have begun with the ancient Egyptians, which brought back all sorts of things I learned about hieroglyphs, during my time in Egypt.
- Speaking of which! If you also enjoy history, art, and culture, then go explore Google’s Fabricius, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph translator, powered by AI!
My brand identity is my message to the world, as I advocate for what I believe education could become.
My brand journey
Taking the plunge
I decided in 2019 that it was time I started to share these ideas with the world. Friends and family had been telling me for years to write a book about my travel adventures, but I was so busy traveling and exploring, I never found the time to sit down and write. What I realized coming into my 40’s, was that making the time, was a choice.
So, I dived straight in and purchased my very first domain the summer of 2019, redefineeducation.com. The goal was to start blogging regularly and sharing all these creative ideas that kept sparking, but then…we moved continents!
We moved to Amman, Jordan, and just when we were starting to settle, the global pandemic hit. All my time, over the course of that next year, was spent supporting the transition to remote online learning. But some great learning happened over the last two years, so even though I didn’t get the time I was hoping for to blog, I certainly contributed and made positive impacts to the global world of education. I’m forever grateful the connections and professional growth I made, along with the opportunities that arose as a result.
In my opinion, education is currently a product, with a traditional brand. I typically recall thinking of the famous green apple whenever I think of teaching and learning, what about you? So I dived-in to understand more about this tradition, wondering where it actually originated from.
- “Families whose children attended schools were often responsible for housing and feeding frontier teachers,” according to a PBS special, titled ‘Frontier House, Frontier Life.‘ An apple could show appreciation for a teacher sometimes in charge of more than 50 students.” From Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples and More from the Fruit’s Juicy Past, by Leah BINKOVITZ.
Creating my brand
So if I believe education can be a product, where does that lead my branding?
Well, as a senior leader in education, I started with what I imagine education could be. Ever since I was teaching in elementary classrooms, I was always taking risks to integrate EdTech into my lessons creatively. Whether it was using iPads, MacBooks, GoPros, etc., my students were always inspired to demonstrate their learning creatively and collaboratively, using a variety of EdTech tools.
As the years passed, and I moved into supporting school’s with their digital transformation, I became more and more aware of the constant change factor across education. Just as the world continued changing, and technology was rapidly evolving, so too was the practice of teaching and learning.
That’s when Redefine Education was born, when I realized that I had the power to impact how education was being redefined daily.
“It takes a village to raise a child” is a proverb that means that an entire community of people must provide for and interact positively with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.Wikipedia
As a member of that ‘village’, our global education community, we each play a part in shaping what the future of classrooms might look like tomorrow. And I suppose, that in defining and creating my brand, I finally solidify my leadership choices towards turning this shift into a daily practice.
Logo vs. Brand
So, is there a difference between logo and brand? I suppose that those in the world of marketing and graphic design would definitely say, yes. For me, I would say that the brand defines the purpose, vision, and mission of a product or entity. The logo then, is more of a visual representation of what the brand stands for.
With that in mind, it makes sense that my logo evolved from building my brand’s values and key elements first. My creativity process is quite spontaneous, and if there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to change over time, it’s that my creativity peaks during the creation-phase. So whereas some people may choose to doodle or think-tank their ideas first, I dove straight into the creation part instead.
All of my designs were completed with Adobe Creative Cloud Express It.
I finally discovered my brand logo, when I remembered the ‘change‘ constant, and the playful and spontaneous nature of how I evolved my own teaching and learning practice over the years.
Brand elements include things like shapes, colors, and even sounds, tastes, and movements. Well, education is also a movement in and of itself. It moves people along life’s pathways, but it also continues to move and evolve as a product. Education is therefore movement to me, in every sense.
What is brand identity?
My branding message includes these building block elements.
- Playful exploration
- Curiosity and wonder
- Collaborative critical-thinking
- Creative problem-solving and innovation
I don’t suppose they are new to anyone in education. These make up a good chunk of the 21st century skills to thrive, which largely make up what employer’s look for in their teams. Employability has moved beyond the information which we can share from what we’ve learned. It’s clear that organizations want to employ people who can creatively solve problems in diverse teams, innovate across a variety of spaces, and design the things which can be imagined.
With all this in mind, and just as Sir Ken Robinson has been advocating for for years, the current state of education must change.
I’m a part of that change, just as my brand identity illustrates…
Marketing my brand is also becoming easier and easier as time passes.
My formula is this education shift specifically, and it is simple:
Explore + Problem-Solve + Collaborate ÷ Creativity = Innovation@redefineed
What channels can you market your brand through? Notice I chose not to use marketing channels.
This blog is one of the channels which I market my brand through. I share ideas, strategies, and resources in this space, which support educators, coaches, and leaders with this #cultureshift. Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are other spaces I market my brand through. But the most important space of all? School(s). My brand evolved from inside a classroom, grows across school transformation, and strengthens as leaders make better choices every day.
I’m proud of my brand identity, and I’m excited to be one of the active ‘village‘ members, creating positive impact across today’s learning landscape.
Explore more about branding
Are you interested to learn more about building your educator brand, your business brand, or just learn about branding in general? I recommend the following resources to get started with branding.
- Adobe for Education’s Branding Course
- Coursera’s Top Branding Courses
- The Best Online Branding Courses & MOOCs in 2022
Finally, once you have had some time to think about your brand elements and you’re ready to start creating, then dive into brand-creation with any of these tools.
- Adobe Creative Cloud Express It’s Logo Maker
- Canva for Education‘s Logo Maker
- Google For Education’s Google Drawings
Let’s keep the conversation going! Connect with me in any of my creative spaces to join the conversation, and leave a comment below to share some of the ways you’re creating impact through your brand identity.