Can a School District have a Brand Identity?

By: graphicstockBy: graphicstock

By: Trish Rubin—

School districts have a lot to gain by developing and promoting their own brand identities and a lot to lose if they don’t. A brand can help schools tell their unique story, improve performance and build necessary resources, cultivating important beneficial relationships. Brand has long been built around three key elements: image, promise, and result and schools today can now adapt this historic model of brand and make them fit the needs of schools.

Achievements, big and small, happen at schools everyday. Unfortunately, without understanding how to amplify messages in our digital and social world, many of those powerful stories stop at the school doors. For the first time, a groundbreaking guidebook demonstrates the value of branding tools for educators, school leaders and school advocates who want to improve communication beyond the static presentation of schools through mascots, stock taglines and lifeless school websites to showcase their school’s unique assets that engage and enhance communication with students, parents and all stakeholders. Branding improves the reputation of a school community – even the best schools can be better for understanding the power of brand.

BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships, and Empower Learning (Wiley, April 2017) by marketing educator and brand strategist Trish Rubin, with co-author Eric Sheninger, empowers educators at all levels to take control and create a collaborative strategic campaign to communicate the mission, values, and vision of their schools and build a brand that becomes a unifying force in their community. An engaging collection of transformative conversations, BrandED leads the reader to discover the benefits of designing a school brand and to see opportunities that a school brand presence brings. Even if you have no marketing experience, the easy-to-use framework takes you step by step through foundations of how to spread the good news about your school and build new relationships, both internally and externally, that benefit kids, teachers and the community in a time of choice and school brand competition.

“BrandED is our educator call to action in a digitally transparent world of 24/7 content. Building a brand can encompass – with power and clarity – the mission, value, and vision of your school. Brand is a story to be shared and promoted on an open digital and social media stage among all members of your engaged community,” says Rubin.

Using ideas borrowed from the world of business and adapted for the unique needs of education, BrandED offers a balance of practical tools, templates, and resources allowing you to implement strategies quickly and easily, while stories of real-world schools illustrate what a BrandED mindset can do for your students, teachers, and community. The book also discusses:

  • Branding as your school’s storyteller-in-chief and amplifier through a variety of traditional and digital tools and platforms
  • Improving relationships with key stakeholders, developing beneficial, new strategic partnerships, and attracting more resources and opportunities for kids
  • Fostering a positive culture extending and influencing beyond the school grounds

“When adapted by schools, brand becomes a physical, digital and social beacon of communication – the touchstone that profiles why we act the way we do as a school, why we teach and learn the way we do,” adds Rubin. “Brand goes beyond the tip of the iceberg of a school mascot, deeper into awareness, differentiation, value and connection of a school community. Beyond the emotional connectivity, using a BrandED strategy enables leaders to set measurable goals that ensure long-term trust. As a BrandED leader, guide your community to three tangible outcomes: improved school culture, expanded school performance, and increased school resourcing.”

BrandED is your one-stop resource for designing and sustaining your individual brand as a leader and building the brand of your school or district. Join the conversation on Twitter using #brandEDU.

About the Authors:  

TRISH RUBIN is the founder of Trish Rubin Ltd., a communications consultancy based in New York City. In her journey from a classroom educator to a business consultant, she draws from over 25 years of communication success in local, state, national, and international educational settings. Change process and innovation of teaching and learning for children and adults power her work and thought leadership.

A self-described “educationalist” with a natural ability and a passion for strategically developing powerful networks and authentic relationships, she has worked as a K-16 teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, program developer, and central office administrator and now as an advocate for schools. With a wide variety of consulting engagements across education, business, government and not-for profit, Trish is also an engaging platform and motivational speaker.  She currently is an instructor of Marketing and Brand Management for international business students at CUNY’s Baruch College in the CAPS Division, a member of the Baruch College Executives on Campus Advisory Board, and is a network consultant with the New York City based, innovative ad agency, sparks & honey. Connect with Trish on Twitter, @trishrubin, LinkedIn and at

ERIC SHENINGER is a senior fellow and thought leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). An award-winning principal, he is the creator of the Pillars of Digital Leadership, a framework for transforming school cultures through sustainable change. Connect with him on Twitter, @E_Sheninger.

BrandED is available from Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.