Thursday, April 7, 2016

Anatomy of a School Superintendent

By David Brake

Let me be clear at the outset: I have not physically dissected any school superintendents in the process of writing this blog post. (Sorry if this disappoints anyone.)

But it is a dissection, metaphorically. There’s also a “modest proposal” woven in, one that considers the evident anatomy of school superintendents.

Accepted Beliefs are the Bones of the Beast

Part of my job at Grandview and VisdomK12 involves creating representative “personas” that help clients understand their consumers and stakeholders better. Creating a set of personas involves asking a lot of specific questions, observing the demonstrated behaviors of individuals in the target group (including their social media activities and public statements), and then formulating what some people in the market research industry call Accepted Beliefs. It’s these accepted beliefs and attitudes that ultimately help determine the individual personas.

For most assignments we try and create a set of five or six personas that constitute reasonable representations of that subgroup. Before creating each persona, however, we like to determine the Accepted Beliefs that all (or a significant majority) in the group have in common. Think of it as the common anatomical structure of everyone in the larger group.

Superintendents Have Strong Bones

We’ve been doing this with superintendents, principals, and other high-ranking school administrators since August of 2015. We’ve learned some interesting things so far about their bones.

Some Observations:

  1. The average school superintendent is in their job for three years. It’s hard to have a real impact on a district in that amount of time. We tend to give football coaches more time to build a winning team. Are school districts and boards of education eager to throw them out after three years? Of course not. Replacing a superintendent is disruptive. In many cases superintendents leave for bigger or different opportunities. Like most professionals, they are building their resumes. But still, three years is not a lot of time to execute real change.
  2. Superintendents avoid taking risks. As one high ranking official with a national superintendents association told me: “For a superintendent, risk equals losing your job.” Since hearing that statement nine months ago, I’ve had over 100 school administrators and school board association executives privately confirm this observation to be “absolutely true.”
  3. Superintendents are quick to support statements and programs that are both safe and low risk. We presented this quote from former Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to hundreds of superintendents and asked for a reaction: “Simply put, no school can be a great school — and ultimately prepare all students for success — if it is not first a safe school.” Complete agreement, 100 percent. We did the same thing with this simple statement from a leading presidential candidate: “Common Core is a very bad thing.” Not surprisingly, responses were mixed. And in personal interviews most of the people we talked to were careful about being “on the record” with their real beliefs about Common Core.
  4. In building their resumes, the prevailing belief among superintendents is that a “tangible gain” rather than “mitigation of loss” is a better strategy. This means that increasing student test scores, bringing tablet computers to the 4th grade, or building a new aquatics center are better resume builders than saying that there were no major school safety incidents during their tenure.
  5. Superintendents exude confidence and optimism on the outside but reflect obvious insecurities on the inside. And who can blame them. They have to navigate some pretty tough waters on a daily basis. The stakeholders in every school district, a group that includes school board members, administrators, teachers, staff, and parents, represent diverse and often conflicting agendas. As one superintendent told me, “there’s no easy way to measure the real sentiments among these groups, to know how they really feel.” Consequently, many superintendents live in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” world.

The bottom line is that the typical school superintendent is a highly political being. This is not news to anyone in the education business. Superintendents have extremely difficult jobs. Seldom can they say what they really think about an issue, unless it is completely safe to do so. Advocating or introducing real innovation requires some degree of risk, and so a lot of great ideas are never expressed, discussed, or acted upon.

A Modest Proposal

What if we could give every superintendent in the U.S. a set of reasonable and measurable performance objectives and an eight-year employment guarantee. Then, encourage them to act like entrepreneurs. Keep in mind that successful entrepreneurs do not typically dictate and demand. Rather, they develop and validate their ideas with their employees and their consumers. They go to great lengths to capture and understand the “voice of the customer.” They carefully monitor the products and offerings they introduce into their markets, and they iterate, introducing improvements based upon real customer feedback.

And now, let’s get really crazy. At the end of the eight years, reward demonstrated success with a payoff that promises the superintendent a degree of financial freedom for life. Some of the winners will choose to retire and enjoy life. Some will choose to move on to another school district and try to do the same thing there. Nobody, however, gets a second eight-year guarantee. Eight years and then it’s time to move on.

No doubt you can think of several reasons not to give a school superintendent this kind of offer. I’ll also admit that my perspective is probably a little naive, indicative of someone who is a risk-taking entrepreneur rather than a seasoned professional educator.

A Call for Real Climate Change

Does doing the same thing over and over again again, expecting different results, really make sense? Innovators do not accept the status quo. They challenge convention. Innovation requires risk. School superintendents can be innovative. But there needs to be a climate for innovation. We don’t appear to have the right climate right now, and we won’t if the stakeholders in a school district fail to acknowledge that climate change is their responsibility too. Make no bones about that.

Comments are welcome. Dissection is a two-way street.

David Brake is CEO of The Grandview Group, a technology company that helps organizations leverage the wisdom and insights of customers, prospects, and stakeholders using a life cycle review platform. His special area of practice is On-Demand Learning and qualitative Audience/Consumer research. He co-authored the first edition of an international best-selling book, The Social Media Bible (Wiley, 2009). When he’s not working he enjoys ultra-distance cycling.
View David K Brake's LinkedIn profile View David K Brake's profile

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Power of Video in Content Marketing

By Trevor Denton

Video has become a proven method for effectively delivering content online. And as more companies move into content marketing–using education, comedy, drama, and lifestyle as means of brand promotion–the prospect of cutting through the noise to engage target audiences can seem even more overwhelming.

But consider this: an Online Publishers Association study shows that over one third of internet users surveyed took some sort of action in the 30 days prior, due to watching a video ad online. These actions ranged from purchasing the specific product or physically visiting the company, to at least visiting the company’s website or looking for more information on the video topic.

Also consider that the number of people who watch online video each day is 100 million (give or take a few). If the first study’s numbers were to hold up against the second study, it would mean that within 30 days 9.6 million internet users would have purchased a product from a video they saw. And 17.6 million would have visited a company’s website to learn more.

That’s a lot of fish in the sea.

Here at Grandview, we make focused videos that engage those target audiences. We help our clients create the kinds of engagements that turn their viewers into advocates. People are always seeking information, and it’s your job to be there with it. Think about the power of positive association, and consider powering your online content with video.

Check out this video about how using Explainer Videos can lead to an expert content marketing strategy.

Visit the A-HA! Explainer Videos page to find out about our unique approach to video production, coming from decades of experience in Higher Education publishing.

Trevor Denton is Director of Media at The Grandview Group, where he manages a team of creative professionals. His areas of specialty are motion graphics, visual storytelling, and audio design. He brings instructional design and storytelling methods to life through video and podcasting, building sensory connections between businesses and their online audiences. Outside of work he has recorded several albums as a studio musician, and enjoys writing fiction and blogging. Contact Trevor at

Friday, April 1, 2016

PODCAST: Are you Disruptive or Dysfunctional?

Bestselling author Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, has trained his sights on our education system in his book Disrupting Class.

Listen as his coauthor, Michael Horn, talks with David Brake and paints a vivid picture of the problem and talks about the disruptive solutions that are needed to revitalize the system.

This book comes with a warning that it “will challenge everything you ever learned about learning.” Its premise is simple: the ideal way to learn is not compatible with the traditional way that we’ve been taught.The implications of this are wide-ranging, impacting our economy, our national identity, and our future.

David Brake is CEO of The Grandview Group, a technology company that helps organizations leverage the wisdom and insights of customers, prospects, and stakeholders using a life cycle review platform. His special area of practice is On-Demand Learning and qualitative Audience/Consumer research. He co-authored the first edition of an international best-selling book, The Social Media Bible (Wiley, 2009). When he’s not working he enjoys ultra-distance cycling.
View David K Brake's LinkedIn profile View David K Brake's profile

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Anatomy of a Virtual Focus Group

By David Brake

Focus groups have been a mainstay of product development for a few decades now. In practice, they are qualitative rather than quantitative events. There is something compelling about having a dialogue with real consumers, and focus groups facilitate a kind of feedback that is simply not possible with standard surveys. Focus groups allow you to show a gathering of eight to ten people real things and envisioned things. You can facilitate dialogue that lets you hear the voice of your consumer. Most importantly, focus groups can be done at all points along the Product Development Life Cycle.
Face-to-face focus groups can be expensive, however. So for many companies focus groups are viewed as costly and incapable of producing actionable, reliable metrics.

Before you accept this inside-the-box thinking, consider the virtues of a Virtual Focus Group.

Having managed and moderated over 800 Virtual Focus Groups in the last six years, let me first outline the process and highlight the value of Virtual Focus Groups.
  1. A quick definition: a Virtual Focus Group (or VFG) is a one to two-hour event in which participants sit at a “virtual table.” All they need to participate is a telephone and internet connection. There are two clear advantages to a VFG over a live focus group. First, for what a live focus group will typically cost, you can conduct two and sometimes three VFGs. This means that you are hearing from 16 – 24 people in your target market rather than eight; this can significantly increase your confidence level in the conclusions you derive from this activity. Second, a live focus group limits you to a specific geographic area–not always a bad thing–but a VFG allows you to bring people from across several time zones and zip codes together.
  2. VFGs are “high touch” events. At my company we typically interact with the selected participants more than ten times before and after the event. This is notable because in today’s socially networked world many of your VFG participants can actually become vocal champions for your product or service. Most people are pleased to be part of something BIG. If you manage the relationship properly not only do you get valuable insight from your participants, but you also create advocates and stakeholders.
  3. Every VFG begins with a qualifying screener. Think of this as a mini survey. The goal is to find the most qualified participants from a larger population within your target market. A properly designed screener can serve a dual function: 1) It helps you identify qualified participants, and 2) It produces valuable quantitative feedback from your market. Indeed, if you screen a few hundred people, why not construct the screening tool so that you capture other market intelligence as well.
  4. Many VFGs include a “pre-event activity.” This is an online activity that typically takes 15 – 30 minutes. VFG participants are asked to complete such an activity prior to the scheduled VFG. On one hand, it allows you to confirm their real interest and commitment to participate in the VFG, and on the other hand it allows you to present information or content that you want them to experience before the VFG. This can range from completing an actual product review to previewing a new concept. You can use a pre-event to test different messages or promotional campaigns. Important to note here is that you can present visuals, audio, and video in the pre-event activity. It’s an effective way to gather initial insights from the participant as you get to know them better as people. It can also inform the final Discussion Guide.
  5. Every VFG should be professionally moderated and driven by a Discussion Guide (DG). It’s hard to be both product developer and focus group moderator. If you’re biases don’t show, your VFG participants are likely to be suspect. They’ve become too used to being “sold to.” The DG should be an interactive tool that presents a topic to be discussed, and then asks each participant to grade, rate or quantify something before you engage in discussion. This means that each participant sees a question on their computer screen, and responds online before anyone vocalizes his or her thoughts. This approach has two advantages. First, it greatly reduces the possibility that one member of the VFG can influence the responses of others because everyone has to “lock in” a response before you discuss the topic. Keep in mind that human beings can be influenced by others. There might be an especially articulate participant who sounds smart; others at the table might be inclined to agree with this person because they want to come across as smart as well. It happens. Likewise, we’ve seen situations where a participant is inclined to disagree with another participant because of factors such as geography, surname, or the tonal quality of one’s voice. If you had a really bad dating experience in college with a guy from Boston whose baritone voice still lingers in your long-term memory bank, you might have a subconscious reaction to someone at the VFG table who reminds you of that person. The second advantage is that by having VFG participants provide ratings to certain questions we move the event toward more of a quantitative activity. It’s really the best of both worlds. You measure reactions and then you hear consumer voices.
  6. The format of the VFG allows you to present a live demo of something–anything from software to a walkthrough of a website. You can also present video, audio or visuals. You can do everything from introducing a new concept for a product or service to presenting potential advertising and promotional approaches they’d like to get reactions to before launching to a wider audience.
  7. VFGs should be recorded, and you should generate transcripts for the session. Keep in mind that transcripts are valuable to peruse after the fact, but the tone of someone’s voice is more powerful than the words that come out of their mouths. Think about the statement “That’s a great feature.” You might get excited to read that in a transcript or in a survey comment box. The statement can be voiced with tones that range from adulation to sarcasm. You can’t read that, but you can usually hear it.
  8. Most of VFGs include a follow-up activity with the participants after the event. I highly recommend this. This might be a brief survey with a few follow-up questions.  It could be a brief interview in an effort to further build a relationship with the participant.
  9. Your VFG should result in some kind of summary report for the stakeholders at your company. At Grandview we favor something we call a “Snap-Shot Report” produced by one of our analysts who has carefully reviewed the audio recording, transcript, and responses to the Discussion Guide. This is, in essence, an Executive Summary that details the conclusions drawn from the VFG (or series of VFGs). It also provides a “Next Steps” overview that suggests potential strategies to consider, including a plan for staying connected to those VFG participants who are most likely to be viral promoters of your product or service.
Virtual Focus Groups are one of the best ways to “connect” with consumers. And when I say “connect” I am talking about using VFGs to create awareness, amplify a problem, fulfill a need, and ultimately win a customer. Hopefully, a very loyal, extremely viral customer with lots of people in their social networks--just waiting to hear more about your product or service.

Your VFG does not have to follow the exact format I've described. Some of our clients insist on 60-minute VFGs, and others find two hours to be ideal. Some clients like to conduct a pre-event activity while others don't like to consume that much of a participant's time. Your VFG strategy and execution will vary depending upon the audience, product or service, and your stage on the Product Development Cycle. To conclude, I'm including a quick video highlighting Grandview's general approach to Virtual Focus Groups. We've had excellent results with this format and approach.

David Brake is CEO of The Grandview Group, a technology company that helps organizations leverage the wisdom and insights of customers, prospects, and stakeholders using a life cycle review platform. His special area of practice is On-Demand Learning and qualitative Audience/Consumer research. He co-authored the first edition of an international best-selling book, The Social Media Bible (Wiley, 2009). When he’s not working he enjoys ultra-distance cycling. Contact David at
View David K Brake's LinkedIn profile View David K Brake's profile

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

“The Future is Not What it Used to Be”

By David Brake

Every product or service begins with an idea and then follows a path through several distinct stages. The Product Development Life Cycle is a way to visualize these stages. Some ideas go from IDEATION to LAUNCH very quickly. Others take years. Every product or service will vary in how it moves through the cycle.

As we approach the sixth anniversary of Apple’s iPad, let’s consider its journey through the Product Development Life Cycle. You might be surprised to learn that Steve Jobs, the demanding, forward-thinking founder of Apple did not take the iPad from IDEATION to great success quickly. It took almost 30 years. Let’s take a closer look.

There is no doubt that that the iPad has been extremely successful. During its first day on the market in April of 2010 it racked up sales of 300,000 units. It sold over 2 million units in its first 60 days out, and over 19 million during its first year. Sometime in 2011 the iPad replaced the DVD player as the best-selling consumer electronics product of all time. From one perspective it would appear that Steve Jobs ideated the product, built it, and people did come. But there’s more to it than that. Much more.

The ideation started as early as 1983, some 27 years before the iPad was officially launched. That was the year that Steve Jobs gave a speech in Aspen, Colorado. He was attending the International Design Conference (IDCA). The theme that year was “The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be.” Remember, this was 1983. Apple’s Macintosh had yet to hit the market, and IBM’s PC was the market leader in personal computing.

In the speech, Jobs shared Apple’s long term strategy to “put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around and learn to use in 20 minutes.” He got a little more specific about exactly how that would be done, mentioning the use of a “radio link” that would enable the user to communicate with other computers and “larger databases.” Was Jobs’ predicting the future, or was he in the throes of an IDEATION stage that would last for years?

Fast forward ten years to 1993 when Apple introduces its first tablet computer, the Newton MessagePad 100. Apple sold 50,000 units of the product in its first three months on the market, but it never realized the kind of future that Jobs 1983 Aspen speech predicted. (It’s also important to note that in 1993 Jobs was no longer running the company. He would stage his victorious return to power in 1997 when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, but that’s another story.

Validation & Viability

The verdict for the Newton, however, was that it was a failed product. The market did not VALIDATE it nor find it to be a VIABLE solution. I suppose the story could have ended there, but the concept that Jobs introduced at the 1983 IDCA meeting was still alive. It wouldn’t become a reality until after the iPhone was released and iterated a few times. Remember that part of the speech about the “radio link” that would enable computer to computer communication? Cell phones are nothing if not “radio links” to other computers. The iPad needed the iPhone before it could be a viable product.

Execution/Development and Launch
On January 27, 2010 Apple announced the coming forth of the iPad. This was 17 years after the introduction of the Newton and 27 years after Jobs’ Aspen speech. Not many people remembered the Aspen talk. Many more remembered the failed Newton. Reactions were mixed and there were plenty of naysayers, some saying it was nothing but a “big iPhone” and others questioning the ultimate utility of something without a physical keyboard. Apple’s product launch was brilliant. They had a strong feeling that iPhone buyers would be the first to embrace the iPad and that the shared applications and similar functionality would drive sales of both products. Clearly Apple understood something about their consumers that the so-called experts had not grokked.


In April the iPad will celebrate its sixth birthday. You can be sure that Apple MONITORED it’s product carefully through social media, user groups and forums, and a lot of direct contact with customers. Product monitoring is a critical part of the Product Development Life Cycle. You don’t just build it, throw it out there, and let fate do the rest. You stay in touch with your customers, and Apple has become a master at that.

What Apple does best, however, is to REVISE and REGENERATE. The iPad (and the iPad mini) have been through at least six rounds of regeneration since April 2010. Regeneration is a key to ultimate product success. On January 27, 2015, five years after Apple’s original announcement of the iPad, the company reported that they had sold over 250 million iPads. The iPad has been one of the reasons that Apple is the most financially fit company on the planet.

Steve Jobs is no longer with us, but his 1983 idea “to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around and learn to use in 20 minutes,” is very much alive. The iPad’s 33-year journey from IDEATION to REGENERATION and around the cycle again (at least six times), has been a dramatic one. To be sure, most people and most companies would have given up. But if you understand the life cycle of every great product or service, and if you employ specific strategies during each stage of that life cycle, you will greatly increase your chances for success.

With apologies to James Earl Jones, I don’t advocate the notion that if you build it, people will come. I do believe, however, that if you involve people before you build it, while you build it, and after it is built, you will find success. You might even say that “the future is not what it used to be.”

David Brake is CEO of The Grandview Group, a technology company that helps organizations leverage the wisdom and insights of customers, prospects, and stakeholders using a life cycle review platform. His special area of practice is On-Demand Learning and qualitative Audience/Consumer research. He co-authored the first edition of an international best-selling book, The Social Media Bible (Wiley, 2009). When he’s not working he enjoys ultra-distance cycling.
View David K Brake's LinkedIn profile View David K Brake's profile

Friday, March 11, 2016

Marketing Through Education: How Thought Leadership Will Build You a Better Brand Online

by Trevor W. Denton, Director of Media and Chief Animator, The Grandview Group

As a director of media production working heavily in educational publishing, I noticed, predictably, our publishing clients’ requests for digital media growing in frequency and scope. As publishers started moving more and more into the online space, as have marketers, musicians, engineers, and—okay, every industry—the old model of publishing content has been reimagined.

Beyond just publishing, businesses across every industry are taking control of their representation in that digital space by publishing content themselves; they’ve become their own online publishers. Even if the company’s business isn’t directly conducted via the internet, they are still filling that digital space with their own free content. How-to videos. Explainer videos. Infographics. Blog posts. E-books. Podcast interviews. Online courses. Marketing has becoming much more than just delivering sales pitches; it has blurred the lines between education and promotion.

Give Them Stuff to Find

The statistics surrounding the future of online video (click to see full infographic) in relation to both consumers and students can be summed up pretty easily: it’s already big, and it’s going to get even bigger.

Standing out as a thought leader in an industry is important in the digital climate. Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn have all become important avenues for thought leaders to expose their ideas to specialized audiences. And when people have questions about an industry, they look to Google searches and social media outlets to find answers. How much would it be worth for you to be the one with the answers?

I have a friend whose company makes specialty computer replacement parts. He voiced his hesitation about a new project to build market visibility involving a digital media content push. As part of that plan, his co-workers thought that having a series of short instructional videos containing tips about installing or replacing common computer hardware might help boost their name recognition in their industry. He was a little reluctant, knowing that their target customers (mostly repair shops and specialty stores) were already computer experts and wouldn’t be likely to be searching the internet for how to install a drive.

Before coming to me, his co-workers explained to him that social media outlets like YouTube and Twitter serve as platforms for experts to become thought leaders in their fields. The platforms give those experts access to hundreds of thousands of people who hunger to hear from industry leaders. And positioning oneself as a thought leader is as simple as taking the reins, creating content using industry expertise, and finding effective ways to share that knowledge for free.

But with an ever-growing sea of online video content, standing out is much easier said than done. As it should be. There is a lot of really dumb stuff on the internet. Which is why the substance of the content matters.

Telling Versus Selling

Traditional marketing is something I just never had the knack for. I held a couple of sales-based jobs in my early 20s; it didn’t take long to discover it wasn’t my thing. I’ve always had a mind for entrepreneurial applications to things, but it didn’t translate into the ability to persuade others of those applications.

Lucky for me and people like me, the invention of the internet and online media blew the doors open on a new side of marketing: associating a brand with great, free content. Here’s just one of hundreds of examples:

Video Series: “Becoming a Coffee Connoisseur”

Transcend Coffee operates a group of Canadian coffee shops and roasters. But they wanted business from beyond brick-and-mortar shops, so they chiseled out their own web presence simply by hosting free, quality content that their target audience might be interested in. Their YouTube channel features a series of How-To videos about cleaning grinders, roasting beans, brewing with a French press, etc., titled “Becoming a Coffee Connoisseur.” They also have videos promoting areas in which they can claim thought leadership, such as “Sustainability in Coffee.”

Beyond their three cafes, Transcend describes themselves as “a specialty coffee roaster, online coffee store, and coffee education company.” They have the online content to back it up, which translates into some real online credibility. With such a range of industry-relevant web videos, internet users with questions about coffee will likely stumble across their content in their search. With no sales pitch given, Transcend Coffee tells instead of sells. They build industry leadership by offering up their own expert knowledge as a free resource.

I’m not claiming that direct ads and sales pitches are obsolete or antiquated. Certain markets continue to thrive on that type of promotion. But in other markets, especially in B2B, being the company that is always there with the answers, leading the conversation in your industry—that’s what builds positive relationships with your target audience. That’s where lies the value in publishing your own media online.

Escaping the Viral Video Trap

I’ve sat around many a conference table where the decision-makers declare that they would like to produce a viral video. If you’re like me, you cringe when people say things like that. Viral videos can’t be produced. I’ve explained to bosses that they’d have better luck predicting an earthquake with a broomstick. Videos are made, then some of them go viral. It’s a memetic phenomenon that no amount of The Selfish Gene readings will ever allow us to pinpoint.

It’s natural for a business-minded person to see the massive audiences viral videos can reach and want that level of exposure for their brand. Logic might suggest that if a video made without intent of going viral can attract so many views, a video made with the intent of going viral would perform proportionally better. However, it’s false logic; intention appears to be irrelevant. Therefore, a media content budget is much better spent on rich, quality, educational videos or stories because they offer more meaningful ROI. An educational video series may not get you the sheer numbers that Grumpy Cat has amassed, but it will do a hell of a lot better job of letting your actual target audience know who you are and what your company is about.

We produced a web video series for a pilot e-textbook for Intro to Psychology, which debuted in 2013. We produced 26 educational animated web videos, the scripts for which were written by subject matter experts who curated material from peer-reviewed content. Each video my team produced was uploaded to YouTube, embedded into the e-textbook and, because our resources were limited, no other promotional efforts were made to exhibit them. They just sat on YouTube, and the keywords were there to be searched for.

From October 1 to October 31, 2013, the channel as a whole received 2,781 views with an average of 1 min. 40 sec. per view, coming to a 71% average view duration. We were pleased with if not floored by those results.

Fast forward: one year passes by.

During the month of October in 2014, the channel received 22,414 views—a more than 700% increase, and way above the number of students who would have been using the e-textbook.

One more year later: over 400,000 lifetime views. And the average view duration also went up. YouTube analytics reports that the vast majority of these views were a result of YouTube searches, suggested video links, Google searches, and sharing through both social media and school LMSs. The YouTube channel, from its inception, gained over 2,000 subscribers, 405,000 likes, 143 comments, and 1200 social media shares.

Most mid-sized businesses would be thrilled about that type of online engagement surrounding their brand.

How to make it happen? Become your own publisher and keep putting content out there. Use video to grow your presence, because video performs better by leaps and bounds than any other medium online. Use it to educate your audience, to tell your company’s story. People are likely to listen because investing in stories is free. It will bring your viewers a step closer to becoming customers and your new customers a step closer to becoming loyal advocates of your brand. Being your own content publisher is one of the first keys to driving thought leadership around your brand.

Trevor Denton is Director of Media at The Grandview Group, where he manages a team of creative professionals. His areas of specialty are motion graphics, visual storytelling, and audio design. He brings instructional design and storytelling methods to life through video and podcasting, building sensory connections between businesses and their online audiences. Outside of work he has recorded several albums as a studio musician, and enjoys writing fiction and blogging.

Friday, March 4, 2016

How Physical Plant Impact's School Safety.

An Interview with Bill Burkhart

Bill Burkhart is the Director of Buildings and Grounds at the 10,000 student Dubuque Community School District in Dubuque, Iowa. Bill and his team manage all aspect of physical logistics, construction, and maintenance at over 19 building across the Dubuque community.
With school safety constantly in the news, Bill is very aware of the challenges relating to keeping the buildings and surrounding grounds a safe environment for all students and staff. He focuses on importance of secured entry into school buildings, communication systems and all hazards planning.

If you'd like to find out how the physical environment can contribute to safer schools, you'll want to listen in.

Interview by Craig Beytien

Craig Beytien is a past Board of Education President, and a current two-term BOE member in Dubuque, Iowa. He has also served on the Board for the Keystone Area Education Association, a multi-district education service agency. Beytien is the Senior Managing Partner at VisdomK12, which is focused on helping school districts leverage collaborative evalautions. You may contact Craig at