Our June episode of 31Minutes, “Moving Beyond Logos to the Heart of the Brand,” features a content-rich discussion with Elon University’s Vice President for Enrollment, Greg Zaiser. Greg joined us to talk about how his institution transformed itself into one of the preeminent schools in the country, in no small part by employing successful, campus-wide brand stewardship.

Besides Elon University’s current-day reputation of being consistently ranked among the best colleges of its kind in the country, it is also the subject of the late George Keller’s 2004 book, Transforming a College, a case study on Elon’s trajectory over four decades.  (Take note of the terminology used in the book’s subtitle—strategic climb to national distinction. They began their journey on this hill over 4 decades ago!)

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Greg for several years and have worked on numerous projects with him and his amazing team. The level of professionalism that each person brings to our collaborations highlights the responsibility that is felt for stewarding the brand. It’s a lens that is employed for making decisions and ensuring that each action is intentional and considered. And it works. The proof of success is evident in its alumni, the campus, the staff and faculty, the current students, and the prospective students and families attracted to a very special educational experience. It’s also apparent when Elon has graciously hosted H·A ThirtyOne’s Ideastorms on the campus. Attendees are always interested in seeing Elon, and its way of leading, with their own eyes.

I can see (and feel) how this campus embeds and embodies brand—-as a promise and a lived behavior—-every time I have the pleasure of visiting. It’s hard to describe, but it’s palpable. It’s absolutely worth experiencing if you’re preparing to make a strategic climb.

How can you learn more about Elon’s approach to brand stewardship? Start here or subscribe via popular podcast channels (Apple, Google, Radio Public, Spotify, Stitcher, and more).

This month’s bonus download from the H·A ThirtyOne team is a handy Brand Stewardship Checklist for you (and your team) to do your own self-assessment after listening!

Download: Brand Stewardship Check-Up Checklist