On Saturday morning I engaged in a chat on Twitter with a number of colleagues around the world. We were discussing the importance of building a brand, and whether it was problematic to not only share a message, but become the message as well.
There were many differing viewpoints, and I’m still not sure where I stand on this (which is a good thing; we should never force ourselves to reach an idea that still needs the time to develop).
What I am sure about, however, is that whatever our message, and even if we become the message ourselves, we have to, with fidelity, build a message that puts all learners first, and that consistently is about others, not ourselves.
This isn’t always easy. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in the “feel goods” of positive attention, and once we become a spokesperson for something that is really well-loved, it can become a challenge to remove ourselves from all the hype. Can we keep the message about the idea and what it does for learners? Or, do we start to let it bleed into who we are as well. That’s where the danger lies.
One key learning that I left the chat with was the fact that the best messages always put people first, and if we do that, it becomes harder for us to get sucked up into it ourselves. I’m a fan of the “Rule of 3Ps” which is a really simple idea. Basically, it says that in any given situation, people need to be held higher than the process, and the process needs to be held higher than any given product.
So far, that rule has served me well, and hasn’t yet led me astray (if I’ve gone astray, it has been because of my own ridiculousness J). But, that said, I still struggle with separating myself from the message. It is clearly an area I need to continue to develop around. Thankfully, I have the counsel of colleagues close and far, who can help me continue to reflect on how to build a brand and share a message that is always focused on the learners down the line.