How can you ensure that your brand becomes—or remains—a long-term strategic asset? Brand governance is the new buzzword in managing brand equity, increasingly necessary in an age of fierce competition, growing uncertainty and consumer empowerment. But what does brand governance really mean?

Born of the understanding that strong brands don’t just create competitive advantage but actually have value that can be quantified on a balance sheet, brand governance is the systematic building and nurturing of that value by organizations. This system is built on policies, held together (or governed) by processes, which require tools—technology—to function efficiently.

If that sounds a little too jargon-y, let’s introduce a malapropism here to help you relate to it: Instead of brand governance, think of it as brand “governess” (thus the Mary Poppins illustration)—a brand nanny whose job is to ensure your brand grows up safely, intelligently, and reaches its full potential in the world.

The more important brand equity becomes to an organization’s bottom line, the more vulnerable it becomes to potential hazards along the brand experience path. And what hazards are lurking in the bushes waiting to ambush your brand? The one with the sharpest teeth, perhaps, is growing consumer sophistication that leads to intolerance for any gap between what the brand promises and what it delivers. Couple this with the growing number of distribution and communication touchpoints, then throw in the particular risks of social media, and you’ve got one treacherous path for your brand to navigate.

But, if you have the right policies, processes and tools (your nanny) in place, your brand has built-in safeguards.  Proper brand governance helps your organization develop an ethical framework for decision making, along with the transparency that’s essential for building trust, one of the three pillars of a strong (and valuable) brand.