I originally wanted to title this post “Why People Buy Overpriced Coffee at Starbucks” but that would be incorrect. It would only be overpriced if nobody would buy coffee at Starbucks. But guess what, every time I sit in my beloved Starbucks to fuel on my creativity, it’s almost full. 

Thankfully, I start my work at 7am and most people are still asleep then and I am usually the first to enter Starbucks to reserve my office spot for the day next to the fireplace and large window.


Coffee Place X vs. Starbucks

I tried many different coffee places in many different countries. If I’m in Europe, Starbucks is definitely my favorite for several reasons.

There are probably not many, if any coffee places, where you pay more for your coffee than at Starbucks. Then why are so many people going there?

I go to Starbucks to have a break. I go there to do my creative work, which is most of the important work in my business. I go there to think, write and create.

I love the atmosphere. I love to be among my peers. Most people are about the same age as me. Most of them have a Mac and love to show that to the world. Many of them are creative professionals, freelancers, bloggers, artist, entrepreneurs, people I feel naturally drawn to.

Even when I was still trapped in the corporate rat race, I often went to Starbucks to actually be able to get my work done. I never liked working in an office. I felt like in a box that was opened twice a day, at 8:30am and 5:30pm so people could get in and out.

Working at Starbucks makes me feel creative, among a community of peers, I get more done than anywhere else and I do better work.

Update: By reading this paragraph during my editing, I realized that I don’t really go to Starbucks to drink coffee but to do work.


The Starbucks Brand

Starbucks certainly does not appeal to everyone and that is one of the secrets to their success. 

They have picked a very specific target audience. They deliberately exclude many people and therefore are even more attractive to the people they are meant to serve.

I love the vision and mission statement of Starbucks and it shows that they stands for something big.

The Why is there. The purpose is there. I can identify with Starbucks’ vision because I also set out to make the world a better place.


How You Can Become a Sought After Expert

How can you have a similar effect with your personal brand? How can you create a brand identity that is as strong as the one from Starbucks?

There are many elements and going into all of them would fill a book, probably many books. Therefore, I will only go into the most important ones here.

I’ll write the books later.


1. Include & Exclude People

The first thing you need to do is defining who you want to work with. Michael Port calls this the Red Velvet Rope Policy and I think that’s the perfect name for it. 

To create a strong brand, you can’t be appealing to everyone. If you try to serve everyone, you will fail miserably. 

Your community needs to have insiders and outsiders.

The insiders will become raving fans because you tailor every message, every product and every service to them. They feel like home when they interact with you. They tell ten of their friends about you because they know exactly what you stand for and what values you hold high.

The outsiders will also come and have a look from time to time. They will look, listen and leave because they don’t get it. 

You don’t want to spend your time with people who don’t get it. It’s important to exclude outsiders because they will feel home at another place but not yours.


2. Know Who You Are – Know Your Why

This is so important. You have probably heard me talking about this before and I guarantee, you will hear me talking about it in the future because it’s so important. 

If you don’t know why you do what you do (just for the money is the worst answer of all) and what you stand for, how are others meant to identify with you? 

You need to have a strong Why statement to attract people who believe what you believe. That’s what it’s all about.

You don’t want to spend your time working with people who don’t get it. You don’t want to work with people who drain your energy. You don’t want to work with people who bore you to death.

You want to work with people who inspire you, people who energize you and people you would work with for free. If you can sincerely tick these three boxes, you have chosen the right people, anything else will ruin you.


3. Know Who You Serve

Some call this the target market. I recently wrote about this as part of one of the lessons I have learned in 2013.

Choosing which group of people you want to work with is crucial. Being more specific than you feel comfortable with about who that group is is essential.

What group of people inspires you the most? What group of people do you find fascinating? What group do you know most or would love to learn more about?

Pick a group that you feel naturally drawn to and it will make your life so much easier.


4. What Do You Help Them Achieve?

Once you have chosen your group of people, you have to decide what they get from you. What would they type into Google if they were looking for what you deliver? What result do you help them achieve?

This is another core step in the process. Without this, you don’t know what your clients hire you for. 


5. What Benefits Do They Get?

I neglected to think about this for quite some time until I realized its power. Along with your Why, this is the reason people actually hire you. Let me explain it in another way.

People have two different kinds of problems. There are the problems people tell you they have and then there are the problems they actually have. With the result that you help them achieve, you talk to the problem they think they have. That’s important because people think that’s what they need.

With the benefits, you talk directly to the problems they actually have, sometimes buried deep down. People know, most of the time unconsciously or unwillingly, that they want to solve these issues but they won’t tell you. They tell you they want the result.

A while ago, I heard a quote that I get reminded of so many times because it expresses this point so brilliantly.

“Sell them what they want, give them what they need.” I don’t know who said it first but it expresses very well what this point is all about. 

Sell them the solution to the problem they think they have, then massively over deliver by giving them all the solutions to the problems they really have.


An Example of Result and Benefits

Let’s say you think what you need is more connections, a stronger network of people and a powerful and unique personal brand. Great, that’s what you get when you work with me. But guess what, you also get some bonuses. 

You get a whole lot of security and feel much less stressed about your career and business because more people know you, recommend you and support you. 

You also have higher earning potentials because you are better known, are more in demand and therefore can charge more for what you provide. 

You feel more fulfilled, energized and healthier because you only get to work with people who inspire and energize you. 

You feel more confident and proud of your work because you do something that matters to you and you believe in. 

You feel a sense of higher purpose, life becomes more meaningful and your work aligns with your values because you connect with the right people and choose the right activities.


How to Get Started to Build Your Expert Brand

First, go through points one to five above and do the exercises. After that is in place, start blogging

Express yourself in the most authentic and bold way possible. Start writing your first articles on Medium if you don’t have a blog yet. Just get started. 

Write about your opinion, insights, experience, stories. Write about things that matter to you, things you believe in.

If you have absolutely no idea where to start with writing, address it to yourself 5 years ago and provide insights, feedback and inspiration.


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