Naming Rights

Levis Stadium

When a new ballpark is constructed millions of dollars and a lot of fuss go into who gets to name the stadium. Corporations are seeking long-term brand awareness. They want their names connected to the newest stadiums and most prestigious franchises. Last year, Levi’s agreed to pay the San Francisco 49ers more than $220 million over 11 years for the naming rights to their stadium.

Somewhat ironically, it really isn’t about the name at all…it’s about the experience. As a hometown Minnesota Twins fan I do not drive to Target Field because of that iconic red bulls-eye. For me it’s about the sights, sounds, smells, and experience. It’s about pursuing excellence and creating memories. There’s the tailgating, mascots, team chemistry, and epic victories (or pursuit thereof). All of these things coalesce to make the “brand.”

There are some similarities between our schools and ballparks. The experience our students, staff, and communities have with schools is far more important than the name posted above any given entrance. Yet, that name is important because it is inseparable from the brand.

At our school the brand is all about kids. It’s about the process and excitement of learning, relationships, creativity, passion, and a strong commitment to teaching character.
Our brand is strengthened by the countless hours staff invest in their own learning and professional development. They are some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege to serve. People often tell me that, “At Greenwood staff will drop what they are doing to help students and one another.” (Although it’s a little long, I kind of like that thought for a stadium name.)

Our brand is also forged from a strong partnership with parents and the community. The brand and promise come to life when everyone is working together synergistically in pursuit of common goals; high achievement for each and every student, a personalized education, and meaningful relationships.

The relevance of our brand increases when it encompasses the rich tradition of excellence in our district as well as the meaningful integration of emerging tools and technology that will prepare students for their future. Our brand is not only comprised of our students’ past successes, but also our vision for their future. This is where our brand becomes more of a promise…a perpetual and dynamic effort to get better for kids.

We have the humbling responsibility of working with students that possess limitless potential. Their time is now. Our kids are counting on us to put them in a position to thrive today and excel tomorrow. That’s the brand promise.

What’s your school’s brand? What is the experience you aspire to provide your students?  Make it worthy of naming rights!

Brand pic

Image Credits:
School Photograph by Lauren Ingwaldson

About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on February 21, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Love this post Brad, especially your thoughts about the brand being a promise to the school community. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Curt. This really means a lot coming from you. The part of this blog post that especially resonates is the promise to prepare kids for their future. The world is changing rapidly and putting kids in a safe environment to navigate the changes successfully is critical.

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