My Personal Branding Breakfast Club

Personal Branding

I had the pleasure of spending an entire day recently at a local coffee shop due to a power outage at my office.   As you may have guessed, the mere thought of being without Internet access was completely unacceptable.  The plan was so to sit, peck away on the laptop, drink coffee and soak up the atmosphere.  It was my idea of turning lemons into lemonade.

The store was packed as there was a certain buzz in the air as people scrambled for their position in line to order their beverage du jour.  I always find it amusing to hear people order their favorite rendition of a caffeine beverage as if they are bilingual.  The ego and pride that comes with it is freaking hilarious.  I notice upon my arrival a core group of “regulars” sitting in the corner who always seem to be there regardless of the time of day.  It is interesting what you begin to recognize when forced to change your frame of reference.

For some odd and unknown reason, I decide to jump in the pool with them and swim some laps so that I too may gain a deeper appreciation of this eclectic group of coffee aficionados.   I inquire as to why they are so happy.  Is the coffee that good?  Why this place?  Why each other etc…  I hear such things as its menu, location, its culture and the sense of community they feel with one another.   I was certainly not surprised to hear it but I was struck at how emotionally attached they were to each other, the store, and the mention of the word “community”.   This sense of community was especially intriguing to me as it developed organically with the coffee shop serving as its host.

It was certainly a great day and a reminder of the symbiotic connection between brand and community.  It is no accident that the coffee shop created an environment conducive to making connections easy.   Are you creating an environment (professionally or personally) that is also conducive to people wanting to associate and mingle with you?  Secret Sauce: Your clients do not desire to buy stuff but rather join stuff. 

I learned a great lesson that day and one that I will not forget- Uncommon insight often comes from uncommon placesIn a world where the present is often an unreliable guide to the future, success depends less on planning for what is next and more on experimenting with what could come next.

It is about progress not perfection!


Devin Hughes, The Chief Inspiration Officer is a former college basketball player, sales, marketing and personal branding aficionado, professional speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations as a catalyst for meaningful change.  He is a graduate of Colgate University; he lives in Southern California with his wife and four daughters.  Follow him on Twitter.  Connect with him on Facebook and Linkedin. His website is  He is available upon request for consultation.