One of my favorite authors is Tom Peters. His work has had an enduring and powerful influence on me as a leader of learners. I am indebted to people like Tom Peters, Jim Collins, Peter Drucker, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, Chip and Dan Heath, and Warren Bennis (members of my personal Business Authors Hall of Fame) for their great ideas and thought provoking concepts. The title of this Blog entry originated with a thought provoking phrase I extracted from a series of power-point slides in a presentation Tom Peters supplied on-line http://excellencenow.com/part-1/.
We live in an environment that grows more personalized or customized each day. From shopping on-line and designing the merchandise of our desire (selecting color, specific size…) to confronting targeted advertisements generated on the basis of what we choose to view on the Internet (i.e. ebay or Amazon recommendations evolving from prior shopping experiences) to the food establishment that encourages to make your own salad or sundae, we exist in a differentiated market of ideas, services and products.
What can public schools do to thwart further enrollement erosion and avoid becoming extinct, while soliciting support of taxpayers for sustainability? Start by asking constituent members to identify three words that describe the school. Then, analyze the accumulated list of responses and discover which words are mentioned most frequently. that will reveal the perceptions of those associated with the school. Now, ask yourself, does the list of the three most commonly used words to describe the school match your perceptions? If not, there are mixed signals, or the school's trying to do too much or be everything to all people.
Think of advertising techniques. Think of a product or service (i.e. cadillac, Apple...) and observe their advertising to see how they emphasize a few certain qualities or characteristics. The company is attempting to direct your attention and asscoiation with their "brand."
They can seek to differenitate themselves from competitors through clarity (manage meaning and focus on purpose) marketing (articulate the mission in a concise and precise fashion)
Here are excerpts several books that I have found to serve as valuable resources regarding differentiation and developing and sustaining a company’s brand, points that address the distinct or extinct issue.
From Good to Great by Jim Collins
From Kellogg on Branding by the Marketing Faculty of the Kellogg School of Management