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What does SFSN mean? Sounds Fabulous - Signifies Nothing

And why this acronym is one of my favorite tools in working with brands

Munroe Bergdorf, Model and Activist, UN Women UK Advocate and Jess Weiner speak during the Unstereotype Alliance Global Member Summit 2022 at United Nations on November 17, 2022 in NYC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/ Getty Images for Unstereotype Alliance)

People Love Acronyms

I always love a good acronym.

In a pinch, they help me remember key lessons in life. The first acronym I was taught was from my dad. The 6 P's of management: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

But it also turns out there's a psychology to it. If you've got an important message to spread, you'll be psyched to know there are studies that prove the benefits of acronym use.

Think about it... how many times have you used WTF, OMG + LOL?

Acronyms Help Market Ideas + Make Them Catchy

Have you ever heard of KISS (Keep It Super Simple)? That acronym works on multiple levels! Not only is it an excellent example of an acronym, it also inspires us to stick to the point and deliver it as simply and clearly as possible.

Which brings me to my favorite acronym that I use in my work with brands…


"Sounds Fabulous, Signifies Nothing."

Since I am in the business of walking the walk, I try to only work with clients who are committed to making important changes in culture and within their organizations. But even the companies with the best of intentions need to be held accountable to the work they are doing. So enter…SFSN.


Being an Actionist® means taking action, even if it's only in small ways.

In my next Personal Note, I'll be including action steps you can take TODAY.


How SFSN Inspires Accountability

I began using this acronym over a dozen years ago in my consulting work as a quick and easily remembered way to remind my clients they can’t just lean on marketing slogans or Rah-Rah ad campaigns when they are addressing more complex social issues.

Recently, I did an interview with Munroe Bergdorf (model, activist + 'Changemaker of the Year' at the 2018 Cosmopolitan Awards) at the UnStereotype Alliance Summit (held at the United Nations HQ in NYC).

In the moment below, we were speaking about how brands need to engage in more direct accountability for their inclusion campaigns.

ICYMI: I am a founding ally and partner of the Unstereotype Alliance with UN Women.

And even if you are reading this and don’t work for a company or have no interest in marketing campaigns — here’s where SFSN can work for us human beings.

The next time you want to cheer someone up or show your support - use your words carefully — instead of throwing inspiring quotes their way or giving them platitudes “you’ll get through this!” or “you can do it” — try instead to give some thoughtfulness to the complexity of what they may be feeling. Try not to fix them!

It may be better to even listen with an open mind vs going directly into giving advice — so that the words you speak aren’t hollow — they aren’t meant to rush someone along in what they are feeling but they are strong, intentional, and communicate that you are there to support them in the long term.

I think we’ve all felt what it’s like to be given a pep talk by someone and although the words sound great - they don’t feel like they are really intended to connect and be relational. Instead of rushing in to fix someone with our words…allow the space needed to really honor their process, and then choose to say what’s in your heart.

As my friend Brené Brown says — it’s good to be awkward, kind, and brave. Avoiding SFSN can help you do that.


To get my personal notes where I share the behind-the-scenes of my career and stories I’m not sharing on social media (or anywhere else!) sign up here!


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