Brand Story, Episode 9

Andrea Dono

Fostering Community Through Storytelling

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Episode Summary

Andrea Dono, Executive Director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, knows all about connecting with the community. When you lead a successful downtown revitalization organization, it takes teamwork to lead efforts, create events, and promote the area.

Andrea shares insights learned from her time at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center and how that experience shapes how she approaches her role as Executive Director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. She talks with us about showing off your brand’s personality, staying true to your mission, and how storytelling builds community.

Episode Highlights

Show, instead of tell. When possible, show your audience how to do something, instead of just telling them — it provides more value and leads to stronger relationships.

Build relationships. How do you earn your audiences’ trust? By investing the time to get to know them. Building relationships with the local business community is key to HDR’s success.

Listen to your audience. To define your brand’s current and future identity, ask your audience — and really listen to what they say. Doing so will help improve brand experience, which increases brand loyalty.

Stay true to your mission. When a crisis hits, focus on your mission — that’s how you’ll stay on track and best serve your audience. During the pandemic, many businesses benefited from assistance they may not have been aware of otherwise, thanks to HDR’s steadfast dedication to the organization’s mission.

Tell stories. Telling your brand story by sharing stories from your audience not only builds your brand but builds the community around your brand.

About Andrea

Andrea Dono

What she does

Connector-in-Chief, a.k.a., Executive Director of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance


Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance

Words of Wisdom

“When you have relationships with people, they trust you and they know you’re coming from the right place and they welcome you into their business and they welcome your feedback… It’s not something you can just show up one day and start doing. You have to get to know people and really care about what you do.”

About Steve

Steve Gilman

As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.

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