Personal Branding: Why It Matters For Teachers

Personal branding is a concept that most of us have heard of, but not too many have truly considered.  This issue seems to be coming up more an more lately, and it is worth some additional attention.  I came to the conclusion this week that it was time to dig a little deeper into this concept.

Wake Up: Your Personal Brand Is Already Online

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, takes the notion of personal branding to a bit of an extreme in his recent Sunday comic.  The harsh reality though is that we really do have a lot of additional information about ourselves online and available for anyone and everyone to review.

Well know leadership author John C. Maxwell also did a “Minute with Maxwell” video about the topic last week.  While Maxwell’s take is somewhat based on personal ethics, the points he highlights are true just the same.  He says “Pick now – who you want to be, what you want to be known for, the characteristics and qualities you want to exhibit in your life.”

Branding For Educators

For online educators, this concept is actually applicable on multiple levels.  Students in distance learning classes of course have the ability to follow their instructors, or learn more about them, or do the same type of research that we could potentially do about them, but that is simply a superficial approach to considering a brand.  Rather than focusing on “protecting”, online educators should be focused on “enhancing” their brand.

Educators should have:

  • Tools that students can rely on that are above and beyond the expectations for “average.”
  • Examples of concepts that are directly applicable to course materials and learning outcomes.
  • Integration of websites, blogs and videos that help demonstrate classroom concepts with real world applications.
  • Links to resources that you find valuable and helpful in your personal growth.

That last bullet may be something that isn’t as easy to share because we often times get so wrapped up in the day to day tasks of teaching that we forget about our own learning.  If you don’t have the ability to complete each of the bullets above, maybe now is the time to start working on your own personal brand.  Remember, the focus isn’t on “protection,” the focus is on “enhancing” and promoting our online brand.

Be sure to check out Donald’s most recent article ‘What Are The Most Important Features of Online Education?