Building Your Brand

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 by Adobe Education Latest activity: Aug 17, 2014

11 4,172
  • 7 Ratings

The prolific and accessible creation and sharing of digital information allows for building your brand online. How have you, as an educator, built your brand? Why and what difference has it made?

Comments (11)

Frank Vandenburg

Posted on Aug 3, 2014 7:53 AM - Permalink

I've done branding for my consulting business that I operate in addition to my education work, but personal branding has always taken a bit of a back seat. I'm realizing with the people I'm meeting in the Education Exchange that individual branding should really be the priority now as people are much more interested in who they would be collaborating with, or who might be a good project partner or grant co-applicant than they may be in selecting an organization.

It's helped me to realize that many of my opportunities were due to people following up on presentations I've given that were posted by conferences or organizations. If that sort of serendipitous promotion is beneficial, imagine the benefits of a more organized and diected approach.

Shawn Drake

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 11:26 PM - Permalink

The concept of branding to me is somewhat strange on one level in that to me it requires a level of self-confidence that was foreign to me. When I stop to think about, however, it makes absolute sense in a world that is shrinking daily due technology that enables us to expose or share our true selves instantaneously. Having been an educator for a short period of time after leaving the corporate world in search of a vocation that is more meaningful to myself and finding that this is what I enjoy, and more specifically, what I wish to continue to do for some time in the future I find myself in a position where I need to take risks and quit playing it safe. To make a long story short, it's time to get into the show.

Ginny Holm

Posted on Jul 18, 2013 1:07 PM - Permalink

While I haven't branded myself professionally (outside of the school), within the campus I have been slowly but surely building a sort of "brand" with my graphic design class. I have created a classroom logo that easily identifies my class and have used websites that I put together that offer examples of previous student work, give details on assignments, and provide music and descriptions that help students easily identify topics. I am going into my third year of using a Learning Management System (LMS) that enables me to continue instruction outside of the classroom by offering discussion posts that students can comment on from their home or dorms as well as the ability to contact me at any time without having to make an appointment. The easy format of the LMS allows me to post assignments, homework, upload documents, create hyperlinks and allow for students who may be traveling with an athletic team and miss class to keep up and ask for help. Students can also collaborate with each more easily.

As for branding overall, like Carolyn, our marketing and branding is already in place. It is crucial however, for teachers to follow the guidelines provided by the school such as current logos, taglines, and using images that belong to our school and are more recent. In the past teachers have used clip art, pulled pictures off of the Internet and made up their own version of our logos to create flyers, eblasts, etc. Our marketing department works hard at branding our school, and are updating staff and faculty regularly on current logo usage, and other branding such as specific colors to use, the proper mascot graphic, etc. They are encouraged to contact the marketing department for any print and digital media that they need so that everything is uniform and easily recognizable as being our school brand.

carolyn brown

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 6:08 PM - Permalink

Having an online presence that connects learners to more resources and opportunities than the instructional materials you use in your class is crucial. Many students believe that learning only happens in the classroom (online or off). My online presence is often their first connection to the larger world of online learning that is not class-based. That said it is relatively difficult for me to brand this effort, since I teach in a State college and almost everything I do is branded by the college. Any ideas as to how to disconnect or extend the brand away from college would be appreciated.

Adobe Education

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 2:42 AM - Permalink

@ Mike - Nicole is right! We love your work and are so lucky to have you sharing it with us here on the AEE.

@ Kelley - We ABSOLUTELY agree with Mike (thanks for the link) - such amazing stuff you're doing. Please do share your resources, experiences, and so on here on the AEE. We're sure many in our community would love to see your work.

@ Marc and Nicole (and another example) - you've built a pretty great brand yourselves!

@Dan - like Mike - you're starting a great presence here on the AEE. For all of you - does that help with your brand?


~Adobe Education

Mike Skocko

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 2:03 AM - Permalink

Nicole: you're too nice. :)

Kelley: Epic response. You're inspiring! And you have to post this story on the Exchange for others to benefit from. What a learning adventure for the kids! (Can't wait to meet you in person this summer at Adobe.)

Kelly Kermode

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 1:35 AM - Permalink

I can say from experience that having an online presence, and fostering its growth, is extremely important and beneficial. As far as a "brand" goes, I am still figuring that part out. My career and passions are so varied that I don't want to pigeonhole myself and miss making connections. I try to simply present myself as a creative, a teacher, and a learner. Specifically, the actions I try and take on a regular basis include: post pictures of my classroom, my school, my life; write online; publish articles; tweet regularly; update online resumes/portfolio sites (work-in-progress); and create and publish something creative on a frequent basis.

My biggest motivation for doing all of this is to model for my students. Model online presence. Model lifelong learning. Model how to brand oneself. They RARELY get to see this, and well, they need to be able to ask questions, give feedback, and evaluate what works and what doesn't. Their feedback has been invaluable. They are ruthless and honest, and I love it. If I publish something, I often ask them for feedback immediately. They detect tone, they detect an uncommon cultural reference, they detect the lifelong lesson. They see someone growing professionally, taking risks, and reaching out. Sometimes I ask them to define me off of my online presence. It's a funny discussion - and it creates a dialogue to help us all understand what actions online mean.

While I was busy having kids, I stopped posting stuff online. It definitely hurt me professionally. I did all of these cool, innovative, creative activities with my students and staff, but I didn't share it online. No one knew. And that's just what I was giving to the community. I didn't realize how much I missed out until I became active again online. With that said, when I was ready to come back, the support was overwhelming. I have not looked back.

When you have a voice online, when you represent yourself, everyone can know you without being in the same room. People can recognize your vision, your passion, your commitment. I have had teachers a mile down the road talk to me about something I updated on my profile. They could recognize that I was a resource to them, and it drew a deeper connection. It allowed for better sharing. Having an online presence has also increased my relationships with students. That's what they do... they want to "preview" a person before investing time in someone. If they can google me, and find out what makes me tick, then it allows for better conversations in class.

I am not sure how to encapsulate in a small comment how important community is in our profession. I would be nothing without my peers. They inspire me everyday. They push me to be better. My online presence also serves as a reflection of the people with whom I surround myself. I don't know how that fits in the branding discussion, but it is a small truth about online identity. A big portion of that online presence is what you give back to those who help you grow.

Piper, I hope this helps with the questions you posed. Let me know if you want any more information, specific case examples, or specific websites.

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 1:24 AM - Permalink

Mike, You are so humble. It's not by sheer dumb luck! I am sure it had to do with the quality of the content! I love your "share everything" attitude. In education, if you are not willing to share everything, I think you are in the wrong business!

Mike Skocko

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 12:49 AM - Permalink

Hi Piper,

It's through sheer dumb luck that The Mac Lab has become a recognizable brand of sorts. (Google it to see for yourself.) When I began teaching (as a second career) in 2002, I also began recording and uploading video tutorials to enable my kids to work at their own pace. A couple of years later, the email began arriving. (I don't add metadata or play search engine games. I just uploaded my resources.)

At first, I recorded silent movies like these (we had no funding for headphones) then expanded to richer, more developed videos like these. Today, I maintain a blog that's a little more than four years old. In that time, people from over 9,000 cities in 184 countries and territories (and all 50 states) have accounted for more than 2 million pageviews (and that doesn't count any hits on the older video tutorials).

I don't particularly like Facebook or Linkedin but I do tweet from time to time. Outside of my blog, my main outreach mechanism is right here on Adobe's Education Exchange. I firmly believe in radical openness—sharing everything, but I'm not really driven to building a brand.

If you are, my best advice, to paraphrase a favorite movie of mine, is to just build it, and they'll come.

As for the difference, well, the kids are always amazed that so many others are paying attention to what we're doing in our little classroom. It raises the bar and as you well know, when expectations rise, student achievement usually follows.

Mark DuBois

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 12:34 AM - Permalink

A personal brand is very important these days. There is no guarantee that a given job will last as long as you think. Therefore, it is important to have a brand and be consistent. Obviously, one should convey a high level of professionalism. It is also important that we, as educators, set a model for others. Definitely, this is something we should develop and improve daily. Every interaction and message we convey helps or detracts.

Dan Armstrong

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 11:58 PM - Permalink

Well I know somethings I use to understand how my personal brand ranks. First I don't have a web page but I have no excuse for that. The tools are easy to use and in most cases I understand them anyway I just don't make time to do it. That being said and having admitted that it's my own fault some things I have done include: checking in on to keep up to speed with how my online presence is. I'm trying to keep twitter updated along with Facebook. There is a lot to do but I think a great way to take care of a person brand would be to set aside 10-15 each day that you could post something to the web to dedicate to the effort of a personal brand. I know it's critical and can give you some big bargaining chips when it comes to getting a new job.