The Truth About a Good Donut


By Tim Schuster

A couple of years ago, my wife, Kelsey and I (Tim) passed through Anoka, a small town north of Minneapolis and the home of Hans’ Bakery. And as we stood in line talking to the locals, we learned that Hans’ was actually shut down for a few years. For a long time, this bakery was a hallmark of the local culture, and recently a new owner had bought the recipes and revived the business. Our wait in line was well worth the Maple Bacon Long John and the Custard Bismarck (in addition to whatever Kelsey had).

We sat down and I noticed their slogan: “History in the Baking.” With such a long and meaningful history – and now a story of rejuvenation – this brilliant tagline captures something unique about their identity and their story. It has the added benefit of being catchy and

Most importantly, their tagline was true.

It was true because unless I was sinking my face into one of the most delicious donuts in the Midwest, it’s just a tagline. It’s a different story if it's dry and stale.

I bring up donuts in Minnesota to bring up buzz. Buzz is the integration of product and story in such a way that it embodies the truth of what it is and the value it adds to people's lives.

Whether you call it sales or outreach or Monthly Active Users or donations or participants or customers, something about your product or service needs to earn the attention of others in a way that allows people to not only use it, but to speak on its behalf.

And pay for it. Or donate to it. Or refer clients to it.

Buzz starts with that thing burning inside you. You want to do it better, quicker, or cheaper. You have an idea for something you believe people will respond to. You are at the end of your rope, and the time to fix the system so that it benefits all people is now.

You can pay someone to create your brand. And you can find resources for building your business. As you bring together your brand, business and buzz, its culmination and success is entirely up to you. The buzz will come from your vision. It’s what got you into the game. 

Mostly, buzz is a vision for something that will make the world a better place.


This post is adapted from Brand, Business & Buzz: A Guide for Social Entrepreneurs

A new generation of leaders are discovering that paying the bills and making a difference are both possible and necessary. But it will require new tools and resources. 

Brand, Business & Buzz