Building Your Brand?

A Starbuck’s just opened up right down the street from my house and while I realize this is not an earth-shattering or uncommon event, it’s still for me very exciting. I love Starbucks.

Several years ago I wrote an article and asked myself just why I loved going to Starbucks. After all, it’s more expensive than other coffee houses, and since back then it wasn’t near my house, I usually had to drive out of my way to get there.

In the article I decided that I chose Starbucks not because of the coffee, but because of the experience. I felt better when I left Starbucks than when I did when I got there. When you look at the success of Starbucks over the years, clearly I’m not the only person that feels this way. From a business perspective, that’s a pretty big deal when it comes to building a successful brand.


You are building your own personal Brand as we speak. The question I have for you is- If you were out shopping would you choose to buy your own brand? Have you ever thought about the experience you create for people that you come into contact with through the course of your day?


Think about all the emails, phone calls, texts, and face to face interactions. Ask yourself, as a result of these experiences that people have with you, do they tend to leave feeling better or worse?


We all have a client or someone in our organization that when we see their caller id or an email that we literally have a negative physical reaction, almost sick to our stomach feeling. How would you describe this person’s brand? Are you that person for someone in your own organization? How do you think people would describe your brand?


Every interaction we have during the course of our day has the ability to build our brand in the way we want, or slowly destroy and devalue our brand, and believe it or not that choice is ours to make.


Starbucks has built an amazing brand, and so can you if you pay attention to the lessons this organization has taught us. Here are a few.


  1. Create a language and coach people on how to communicate with you. Starbucks has created a language unique to their organization. Tall, Grande, Vente, Trenta, Frappachino, you get the idea. In order to get what you want, you have to learn the language. Have you coached those around you the language to be effective with you, or are you expecting them to figure it out on their own?
  2. Listen to your customers and your team. When Starbucks felt their message and brand was being warped and convoluted they did something few retailers would ever have done… They shut down every store in the country for an entire half-day training. This was a bold statement not only to customers, but to their entire organization that what they do and what they stand for actually matters. Are you listening to those around you, have you stayed true to your mission and your values? Would anyone know what they are if you asked them?
  3. Learn and use a person’s first name. Sound simple but how often are you doing it. At Starbucks they usually ask your first name, write it down on the cup and say it out loud when it’s ready. Let’s face it, most everyone’s favorite word in any language is their own name.


Building an amazing brand that people will respond to takes time and a focused effort. The thing to recognize is that you are slowly building your own personal brand whether you are focused on it or not. Everything you do in the course of your days, weeks and months goes into building that Brand and you can choose it, or it can be chosen for you. Make a good choice and start building a brand that you can be proud of.


In a few weeks, I am releasing my fist book, My Quarter Turns.
Inside I dedicate a whole section to asking you strategic questions about who you are, who your company is, and how you can inspire and engage your customers for more success and growth. Stay tuned, I’ll share all the details ASAP.