The Freelance Teacher
What Is A Brand?
Our fictitious English teacher, Sally, had a brand. One could see it instinctively but couldn’t define what it was. She was doing something right, and wasn’t even aware how she did it!
Here is a brief summary of Sally’s brand.
Sally’s brand made a promise to the people looking for medical English lessons. Brand, in this case, was a concept, not a physical object or sign.
Her brand told them what to expect from her service. It was different from all other advertised English lessons, whether from her colleagues or from teaching schools and institutions. Her brand encompassed how her students and customers valued her as a person and her teaching service.
- Her brand promised medical English studies exclusively. Her students knew exactly what to expect from her and her teaching service. She focused on medical English, not the whole spectrum of English language teaching.
- Sally’s brand confirmed who she was. In brief, she was a person with expert knowledge in medical English coupled with a teaching background. Are you looking for a competent medical English teacher? ‘Go to Sally,’ would be the response.
- Why did they recommend Sally? Because her reputation went before her. It proclaimed she always did her job well. Not only did Sally’s brand image support her case, but word-of-mouth recommendations confirmed the perceived value of what future students would gain should they take her lessons.
Simply put, Sally’s brand promised her students what to expect from herself as a teacher and her teaching service. It clearly differentiated her teaching service from other teaching services. Informing her students who she was and what she wanted to be known for, and then becoming that person, allowed her students to perceive her professional image as a freelance medical English teacher.
Over the years, Sally had consistently built a brand for herself; layer-upon-layer of her work and experience. What she did unconsciously was to remain consistent in everything she did that had to do with her work and her students—and that finally produced the brand image of Sally, Medical English Teacher.
What did she do consistently?
|Visual:||It was how she presented herself and her work—as a professional. Her business cards reflected her focus on what she taught (medical English), as did her teaching room, complete with the appropriate books and equipment.|
|Communication:||It showed in the consistent way she communicated with her students, whether in writing or by telephone, including the way she answered her phone.|
|Strengths/Weaknesses:||She regularly evaluated her own strengths and weaknesses, and she also used feedback from her students. She worked on her strengths to expand and develop them and found ways to compensate or remove her weaknesses.|
|Attitude:||It showed up in her enthusiastic attitude towards her work, her self-confidence, self-motivation, and drive.|
|Presence:||She was true to her character and didn’t pretend to be somebody she wasn’t. She kept to her area of medical English teaching and didn’t, for example, diverge into teaching English to the oil industry, bankers, or children.|
|Value:||All the above led inevitably to giving her students a value of service they had come to expect—brand value.|
As a result, Sally had unwittingly managed to brand herself and her teaching service. Her students knew who she was, where to find her, and what she did. But why did her students and customers believe they were also getting great brand value?
Sally had developed a passion for medical English teaching. The more she became involved with the subject, the more she became passionately involved with its intricacies. She learnt more. She knew more than her colleagues. In fact, she had become nothing less than ‘The Expert for Medical English Language Learning.’ It became her unique contribution to the marketplace. It gave her an advantage that no other teacher could match.