The Power of Personal Branding for Educational Institutions


By

Prof. C.Ramalingam
Department of Management Studies
Rajalakshmi Engineering College
Thandalam, Chennai–602105
 


A brand is a tool that is used in the business world to describe all the information or perceptions that are connected with a product or service.

When anyone happens to see the branded products, people get associated with them and they would derive a set of expectations or perceptions. For example: NIKE indicates that athletes at the height of their performance. Apple logo represents cutting edge technology. People associate these concepts, thoughts and images with the particular company or an educational institution.

Branding is an image created in someone's mind. It is both tangible and intangible characteristics of a product or service that makes them unique. Products or services which are branded are often chosen over the other similar other products or services. People in general have learnt to know the perceived value of better and superior service providing institutions. Example:  Thinking of an educational institution, people by and large look for the top 10 or top 25 institutions which offer a specific course in Engineering or Management.

Branding is not just for products anymore. It can be applied to Individuals and the organization as well.  If the individuals in the educational institutions have personal branding of themselves, automatically the institution will be branded as one of the best institutions in the nearby places.  So faculty members in every educational institution got to have personal branding of them.

Every faculty member has to define his area of specialization and must highlight the employer why he should be hired and how the stakeholders of the educational institutions would be benefited by their services.

Branding one's own self is a way of associating great value with the higher learning institutions. It is not for the purpose of getting higher salary in the employment competition. It is making an employer to see the value of an individual to an organization so as to increase the image of the institution in the minds of the public at large.

After having discussed with ten faculty members; it was found that people nowadays change their career on an average 8 times during their lives. Branding of individuals could be consistent through out changes in the career. The factors which highlight the individual branding could be hard- working, sincere, knowledgeable and creative person at different institutions. This information is being referred through known persons. In the existing communication system, it is difficult to express one.  Others only have to do the branding of individuals and the branding of the institution.

The individuals in the teaching community have to do their own personal branding and the Heads of the institution also need to publicize their teaching community faculty members brand image. The positive traits of teaching fraternity must be properly communicated in different forums appropriately. The teaching faculty members also need to know their present skills, required skills and to update them automatically and do paper presentations, conducting various innovative programs, workshops conferences, debates etc and invite the public to participate in those programs effectively.

The perfection and teaching excellence of the higher educational  institution are being judged by students, employer, parents and public at large. 

Steps for personal branding:  If the individuals in the organization do the personal branding effectively, automatically the educational institution also, would get the Branding from the eyes of the public. So, the individual branding is very essential and this could be done evaluating oneself in their area of specialization and try to make an analysis of skills that are to be updated and the skills which are at present available with the institution has to be communicated effectively to the community at large by means of brochure or by means of Television advertisements. The list of accomplishments made by the members in the institution must be highlighted in different Industries by means of News letters those who want to upgrade their skills can volunteer themselves and be an assistant to Professors, Dean, and Director.

The uniqueness of one's personality, need to be made known to others in a common meeting of students and faculty as well. Continuous learning and striving to achieve greater heights are compulsory for improving the institutional brand image. One has to regularly benchmark the institution and individual skills against other educational institutions and develop a plan to keep all the staff skill on the cutting edge. For this purpose, different courses can be thought of; adding innovative programs would be helpful. Conducting Symposiums, conferences, workshops regularly on the latest topics and advertising the same would increase the brand image of the institution.

Preparing the Mission statement for Individuals and a vision statement for the institution would help to achieve the desired brand image in the society. . The Mission statements should highlight the individual's skills availability and their area of specializations and the purpose for which the institution is standing

Example.

1. "My personal career mission is to inspire the confidence among the students that they can become entrepreneurs immediately after their graduation and capable of equipping the students to run a small industry by incubating them within the college premises."

2. Another example could be "Personal   ambition to become a world class Management Teacher".

3. Yet another example would be" To become a world class aeronautical engineer in the commercial aviation industry".

The individual career mission could also be to gain experience in the field of entrepreneurship by getting a M.Phil or Ph.D Degree. The personal career mission could also be master the field of E-Business and clarify all the doubts and problems to public at large. These individual mission statements when published to more members through appropriate forums in common meetings would enhance the brand  image of the individual and the institution. 

The involvement of the individual faculty members in the chosen field is very important The Faculty members have to tell about their mission and vision statements to students as well as to other industries association and also communicate through emails and by publishing good articles in the news bulletins of the college.

Building network and having good relationship with industries and professional bodies with in the city, keeping abreast of latest developments within the nation and  around the globe and appraising the same to the Network members are very important. The research activities done the accomplishment made by the institution have to be published periodically

Conclusion:

The importance of creating personal branding allows one to assume value with others over a shortest period of time. It also helps individual to position himself with the employer and with the public at large. This makes individuals to stand out from others in the teaching fraternity.

Personal branding of an individual and the institution are more powerful to communicate to others as to what they stand for values, abilities and actions. It helps to catch the target audience, makes public easy to remember and executes the promises made to the stakeholders effectively.
 


Prof. C.Ramalingam
Department of Management Studies
Rajalakshmi Engineering College
Thandalam, Chennai–602105
 

Source: E-mail July 27, 2011

          

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