I want to begin by thanking Madeleine Cox for her blog post and creative idea of her brand. I had read the articles for this week about tribes and brands but wasn’t sure that I really cared about “my brand”. I thought it is great for educators who change positions every few years to be proactive in using social media to locate a job. If you want more ideas on how to do use social media check out this site. I love my job and my husband is settled in his job so I thought, “What does this have to do with me? Why should I spend my time creating a brand? It really doesn’t matter.”
Last evening I was trying to explain to my husband what I needed to do and the difficulty I was having. He asked to see my blog. We were out at a restaurant and so I was trying to find the easiest way to my blog on my phone, (I don’t have the url memorized). When I did a google search of the title, I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t on the list, but I was surprised by some of the other hits that had a similar title. (I finally got to it through the Coetail website) Thank you to whoever set up the Netvibes site with all the participants’ blogs. My conversation with my husband didn’t get me any nearer to an answer and we are on 2 very different pages about blogs. He has a blog, but does not allow comments and can’t understand why I want comments. I did realize that I want something distinctive about who I am and what I stand for as an educator, that is connected to my digital footprint.
Reading Jeff Utecht’s post on Creating Your Personal Brand was a bit more helpful than my husband’s comments. So I started thinking about who is my audience and what do others think of me. I decided to be bold and ask for some help on Facebook. I knew that I was setting myself up for some wild and wacky answers. I have great friends, but sometimes some of them get carried away with suggestions. One good friend reminded me there already is a truck with my name(Hino) and why not use that. Two problems, first is that the kanji for my name is rather complicated 樋野 the kanji for the truck company is 日野 so it really isn’t the same. Secondly, I am sure that it is already patented and I don’t think this would fall under “fair use“. I also don’t think I want to be associated with a truck!
A co-worker suggested a pinecone.
Our school’s yearbook is called “Matsu” which is an evergreen tree. So I could see a possible connection, but I was not sure how others would interpret a pinecone. So my search continued. This morning my principal, Jacquie Willson, asked if I had chosen a brand. I explained I was still searching. She recommended “Empowering Educators”. Wow! I finally was getting somewhere. I let the ideas germinate throughout the day and asked a few colleagues for suggestions. I finally came up with my brand –
Empowering, Encouraging, Equipping
I am Empowering my colleagues through our Professional Learning Community and hopefully other educators who read my blog. I have always seen myself in a role of Encouraging of my colleagues and students. Our mission at CAJ is to “equip students to impact the world for Christ.” So I see myself Equipping my students and also Equipping my colleagues to try new strategies and integrate technology. I will have to work on the logo or photo that goes with this. I may even go back to the pinecone idea. Pinecones are the reproductive organ of the Evergreen tree. I hope that by Empowering, Encouraging, Equipping others I am planting seeds of hope, growth and change. I think I will be looking for a photo of myself and some pinecones that will become my avatar and brand.
As an educator I also wonder, is it necessary to teach my 2nd graders about brands? Jeff Utecht wrote an article about When to Start Teaching Self Branding. Jeff wrote about a teacher who created a brand for his class to help students identify with a larger group than themselves. I think it would be fun to create a brand for my class to begin the New Year, after our Christmas break. This year we have a class mascot, Brisky Bear, so maybe we need a brand too.
So over the Christmas break, I’ll do some thinking of what “brand” we can associate with our class.
As Jeff Utecht wrote, educators need time to reflect. I was really reluctant to begin this process of branding myself, but as I have been writing and reflecting I more and more value the idea of deciding what I want to represent through my blog and through my interactions with other educators, my students and parents.