If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, just write about it.
I really like to walk around funky downtown areas and shopping malls and just look around.
Because I believe that our schools are very much like “brick and mortar” retailers – and there’s so much to observe.
Like the top retailers, most of us do our best to provide quality programs (or products) while operating under the weight of a highly competitive environment and demanding expectations, including great customer service, safety, changing demographics, attractive visuals, convenience, expertise, clean bathrooms and common areas, effective communications, good parking, state of the art technology, and “feel good” brand appeal.
Also like the top retailers, most of us try to take full advantage of the annual “Back to School” season as well.
And it was last week’s day-trip to Chicago’s Michigan Mile that once again reminded me about our many similarities to storefront retailers.
Certainly we both share the same trend line. For the most part, schools and retail stores shifted away from community-based and independent “mom and pop” type operations long ago.
Unfortunately though, my excursion also came at a considerable cost; not a financial one, mind you… just a big blow to my ego.
My walk-about painfully pointed out for me that I dress like a complete frump.
Ouch! But I couldn’t ignore the accuracy of this fact. How could I when complete strangers kept approaching me to drop coins into the plastic water cup I was holding?
If I could help it, I wouldn’t be seen in public with me, either – especially on Michigan Avenue.
Of course, it’s not all my fault. (And note how quickly I can cha-cha past accepting blame. See? There are some things I’m really good at.)
Much of the fault is on the shoulders of retailers who sell clothing to men.
Steve Faktor of the IdeaFaktory wrote in Forbes about what these retailers can do to “reinvent themselves.”
It’s a thought-provoking and very funny read (by my standards, anyway) and we school communicators can hardly claim that this is the first time we’ve ever heard the word “re-invent.”
In our environment, when someone challenges something other than our own organization to “re-invent itself,” we should be all eyes and ears. There’s a learning opportunity right before us that is neither threatening, nor budget-taxing.
In the Forbes article, you’ll see how Faktor outlines the present problem for retailers, describes the decision-making process men use to buy clothes (as real-world choosers), advises retailers how to integrate technology to improve results, and delivers three or four simple, but supportive info-graphics.
The article is a smidgen on the long side (like I should talk…) but the LOL humor is maintained throughout (unlike what you’re use to in the Encourager, I know…).
My hope is that you’ll glean an idea or two that is applicable to your world.