How you share your brand with key stakeholders is just as important as the brand development process. We’ve compiled five strategies to help you ensure that all the work spent developing your brand receives a positive response and buy-in from your main audiences.

Launching a brand is a monumental time for an organization: it requires a level of stewardship that can determine the success (or failure) of your new brand. And effective brand stewardship can’t happen without a solid plan for informing and inspiring your internal stakeholders — what we call socialization.

When you’re developing a brand, it’s easy to get lost in the details. However, if its launch is met with opposition rather than adoption, the success of your project can be in jeopardy. That’s why it’s critical to think strategically about how to socialize and steward the work throughout the life of the project.

So what can you do to engage your community and set your brand up for success?

Remember that people own what they help create.

Early on in the brand-building process, when your team is collecting information and insights that will inform the work, invite your stakeholders to be a part of preliminary interviews. Listen to their opinions about what makes your brand special and what differentiates you in the marketplace. That way, when the work is presented, they’ll know that their voice helped shape what they’re seeing.

Determine who has a vote and who has a voice.

Decide early on which stakeholders will share their thoughts and perspectives, and which stakeholders will have decision-making power and influence. One way to determine this is to use three categories for your campus partners: brand stewards, brand coaches, and brand ambassadors. Brand stewards tend to be heavily involved at the beginning, establishing what the work needs to accomplish. Brand coaches might be part of the core team creating the brand, determining what moves forward or stays behind. And brand ambassadors are important voices for input throughout the process, as they will be carrying the work forward in their individual areas.

Equip your employees.

Provide your people with resources, training, and talking points so that they feel prepared to carry the brand forward. For many of our clients, we recommend brand training. This can be a two-day immersion in the new platform and its components, or a simpler half-day overview. Training helps ensure that communicators know not only their role, but also the value they bring in stewarding your brand’s story. Think of them not as passive contributors to be governed, but as active contributors to be nurtured.

Share the brand journey.

Before sharing any final deliverables, be sure to provide information on everything that went into the new brand: the data and insights gleaned from the research, the key players and content drivers, the setbacks and accomplishments faced along the way. The intentions behind the brand — the “why” — are just as important for you to share as the work itself.

“Think of your people not as passive contributors to be governed, but as active contributors to be nurtured.”

Reinforce, reward, and recognize.

Once they know what’s needed to tell the brand story, give people permission to live the brand’s values in their own ways. This can help preserve authenticity, increase emotional equity, and strengthen affinity. Put the brand and its values on the agenda of every important meeting. And most important, make sure to recognize and reward those who are living your values. Never stop reinforcing the essence of your brand and why it matters.

A brand is an organization’s most important asset. It comprises a set of elements that contribute to an entire experience: attributes, stories, values, history, and reputation, as well as the way it’s expressed. How you share your brand with stakeholders is just as crucial as its development. So make sure that you put the same time and consideration into bringing your community along with you in your brand journey.