Brand Before Fans and Sticky-Note Solutions

Home/Branding, Social Media/Brand Before Fans and Sticky-Note Solutions

Brand Before Fans and Sticky-Note Solutions

I’m a doer. You know the type: 1) Hardworking; 2) Always willing to take on a project; 3) Ready to move whatever forward even without full knowledge…because I’ll figure it out! Like with any work type, there are benefits and detriments. A doer’s downfall is that we sometimes plunge forward to maximize time and hit the satisfaction of “getting ‘er done” without completely understanding all the components of the project. You know what? I’ve realized most small business owners and marketing managers are doers when it comes to social media generation and management. Content is generated and posted without truly understanding what that content’s foundation truly is: the company brand. Luckily, with branding, I’m a thinker and a planner as well as a doer.

I conducted a two-hour workshop for small business owners and non-profit professionals a couple weeks ago. This was a learning opportunity for hard-working people who know they need to keep in contact with their customers and clients as well as excite future fans, and drive traffic to their website and/or store, restaurant, etc. Some had experience in generating content for the right social media channels for their business; others had absolutely no experience. I thoroughly enjoyed helping this crew – but the point I’m trying to make is: Many of them had never thought about their brand and whether or not what they promote either in a live day-to-day way or through traditional or digital marketing truly reflects what they believe their brand to be. They thought in promoting product terms and not in brand showcasing terms.

We worked through a couple exercises. One was to put themselves into the mind of their customers or clients. Why in the heck do they come to that business: not only for specific products or services but how do they feel when they’re there, when they leave, when they use the product or access the service. If the business is a home health care agency, this can initially be pretty easy to surmise. People access or are directed to home health care to receive services: let’s say physical therapy for a knee replacement. So when that individual thinks of the home health care agency, he or she thinks of his or her particular experience: physical therapy, professional practitioner, consistent care. Another patient who receives different services will have different words.

Sometimes businesses have to dig deeper. In the home health care agency example, what might all patients/clients feel about their services (assuming all goes well – and I’m sure it usually does!). Get in that patient’s mind: sitting on the edge of his or her bed; waiting for the practitioner to show up at the door; nervous about standing up but knowing that he or she will soon be walking again. What does that patient think and feel about the home health care agency? Perhaps that it’s filled with EXPERTS. Absolutely that they are CARING. When the practitioner is at the bedside, they feel SAFE. That they deliver HEALTH.

It’s easy to come up with brand words that are surface explanations of what your business does; it’s harder to do the deep dive. You can do this yourself: put yourself in your customer’s mind. OR you can survey customers and ask them what they think and feel about your business or non-profit. OR you can ask your employees to do this. I recommend you do all the options.

I often use stick notes in a workshop. You can do that in a small setting with your employees in a meeting room or behind the counter before your store’s doors open for the day. Have them write down their perception of the business brand. One word on each sticky note. Then have them write how they FEEL about the business. Then have them write down how they think customers FEEL about the business.

Once you’ve increased your brand awareness THEN you’re ready to start thinking about the types of content you can generate to engage your customers and pull in new fans. Thumbs up!

If you are interested in learning more about understanding your brand to better tell your stories, email me! Or find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Go out and buy those sticky notes!



  1. Denyse April 27, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Nowhere near enough thought given to brand in my experience.

    • Dawn Stanyon April 27, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Great minds think alike, Denyse!

  2. Geniece Brown May 1, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Dawn,

    I agree that you have to understand the end all purpose for what you’re posting on social media and how you want each post to affect your customers. For what I do, I’m able to put myself into my client’s shoes so usually if it doesn’t resonate with me then I already know it won’t resonate with my clients or prospective clients.

  3. Nafissa Shireen May 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I agree – everything in business needs to have a purpose and a desired outcome. It can be so easy to just post away on social media for the sake of posting!!! Having strategy and a clear brand voice is crucial.

    • Dawn Stanyon May 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks, Nafissa! So many small business owners know they need to connect with their fans through social media but are at a loss for strategy because they are worried it won’t be authentic. Understanding brand and then telling stories/sharing content that is consistent, confident and credible is as authentic as it gets. You don’t have to shoot from the hip to be real. :>)

  4. Tandy Elisala May 3, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Dawn, I SO agree with this article. I teach about the importance of knowing your core values and sharing them to help everyone be aligned with the mission. I see this as kind of the same thing. I can see the differences between branding words and core values; yet, there should be some congruence there. I’m going to think about my branding words! Thanks.

Comments are closed.