Last night, on my drive home from teaching at the university, I began thinking about what I felt I represented. Essentially, what is my sales pitch to students to get them to take my class. Better yet, what defines my “brand?”
“Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical.”
Admittedly, this is an oversimplification. To take it one step further, please accept the following analogy:
Branding: The “ego” of the advertising campaign. Meaning, loyalty, and longevity are of the utmost importance and branding [ego] is grounded in a sense of reality.
Marketing: The “id” of the advertising campaign. It is a second nature, done without pause [on impulse] strategy seeking mutual gratification of both buyer and seller; sometimes out of touch with reality.
With this logic, I came to the conclusion that as a music educators seeking to build a program, we need a brand. Students need to understand what we’re about, and this should not surprise any veteran teachers. As it stands, I tell every student year after year, that I exist to educate, and that I am brutally honest. I will never lie to a student, especially concerning their performances (good or bad). Sometimes they learn that the truth hurts, but they have more than once thanked me for it.
But about the brand…
I sell honesty and quality. I know in some corners of the world, some will read this blog and say I wouldn’t make it in the corporate world. The fact remains that my students leave my class and my rehearsals as better musicians and people because I was honest when I told them that quality matters. My brand isn’t the only brand, and I know it. But I advertise it as the best, and perhaps we need to brand our programs on these principles before doing so on trophies and championships…
So, what’s behind your Brand?