The What, Who, and Why of Branding

There’s something about the harmony of team that I love. Don’t you? Shawn, my husband, and I have been working together in all things books, for more than 30 years. Even though we mesh well, our approach to any given situation is often polar opposite.

I tend to take a friendly, let’s-have-fun-getting-to-know-each-other approach, while Shawn tends to react from his quick-processing and crazy creative mind. Our mutual goal is always to help, but our execution differs.

Shawn’s known for his mind-to-mouth approach and is often accused of having no filter. This mostly works well for us, because he quickly processes ideas and comes up with solutions and concepts that would take me days to even come close to. A friend of Shawn’s has coined his unfiltered wisdom as Shawnisms. When my husband misses the sensitivity mark, another friend calls it Shawnsitive, meaning, he isn’t being very tactful about a matter. I love it—and if you’ve ever had a conversation with Shawn, you know just what this means.

A few years ago, I overheard Shawn on a call with one of our SuzyQ (now Brookstone Creative Group) clients. Though I personally love a call on speaker phone, Shawn mostly takes calls through his headphones. In this case, I could only hear Shawn’s side of the conversation, and this is what I heard.

“So, what?” Long pause. “Who cares?” Long pause. “Why you?” Long pause.

Shawn’s tone was very direct and matter of fact. As you can imagine, I was dying a thousand deaths thinking, He has just shocked our client, offended them, and our business is done for.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, none of that was the case. In fact, our client was thrilled that Shawn spoke plainly, prodding them to answer crucial questions they had not asked themselves.

I learned something valuable from my husband that day. (Don’t tell him I told you.) Whether writing or speaking, it’s imperative that we answer the following questions related to audience engagement.

So What?

You have to determine a person’s need. If there is no need, no solution is needed from you. Is there a felt-need that your specific message addresses?

Who Cares?

Who is your audience? Are there specific people, businesses, ministries, or organizations who will find hope, healing, direction, or purpose from your message? Who are they? (Hint: Your audience is not everyone.)

Why You?

What uniquely qualifies you to speak on this topic? Do you have experience? Do you have a degree? Do you have a passion? What distinguishes you from anyone else who may want to speak into the same space?

I love this quote, “The things that make me different are the things that make ME.” –Piglet, Winnie the Pooh

I’d like to invite you to join Shawn and me for our pre-conference session, Brand-Storming. In this three-hour session we are not only going to discover your brand by answering questions about So what?, Who cares?, and Why you?, but we are also going to help you determine Who you are, Who you want to be, Who you are perceived to be.

Yes, we will work towards discovering your individual brands, but we will also help you figure out your What, Who, and Why, so that you are better prepared to respond when asked those questions by Speak Up faculty, publishers, those who book speaking engagements for events, and your audience.

So, let’s dig in, and discover the things that make you you.

Know who you are. Hone your message. Impact more people. Expand the Kingdom of God.

Keep reading our other posts:


  1. Yvonne Ortega on 2019-07-01 at 10:53 PM

    Thank you, Suzanne Kuhn. I love the terms, “Shawnisms” and “Shawnsitive.” Y’all make a great team.

    • Suzanne Kuhn on 2019-07-08 at 1:59 PM

      Wish I could claim them as my own but two of Shawn’s friends came up with them. See you soon!

  2. Carol Kent on 2019-07-01 at 10:12 PM

    What a refreshing, fun, informative, encouraging, and inspiring blog! Many thanks to Suzanne Kuhn for her excellent contribution. I LOVE “brainstorming” with creative people who ask the right questions and help to guide me as ministry grows. What I love most about Suzanne and her husband, Shawn, are their hearts for equipping Christians to carry the message of Christ to a world in need!

Gain the tools needed to grow in an ever-changing industry.

Learn from ministry leaders like Jill Savage, Bruce Martin, Cindy Bultema, and many more.