Mark Danger Powers

How To Be The Next Starbucks

Like ’em or not, Starbucks has one of the most integral ingredients a successful brand requires . . . consistency. When you scrunch up your nose, put on your best snob face and order that iced single Venti, 7-pump peppermint, caramel Sauce top AND bottom, light ice, no whip, mocha, you already know EXACTLY what it’s going to taste like.

What about you and your personal and/or professional brand(s)? Do people know exactly what to expect when you pick up the phone? When you accept taking on a new project? When you sell them your product or service?

Be honest with yourself. If the answer is “no,” then you haven’t yet given them a reason to know what to expect. You aren’t being consistent.

Being that the majority of my readership are musicians and artists, some of you might be wondering how (and if) any of this applies to you. Are you kidding me? Of course it does. Being consciously aware of the brand we are presenting to the world is just as important for creative-types as it is for someone in any other line of work.


Musicians: Do you have a fairly predictable attitude toward your fans, students and booking agents? Do they know that you’re going to be super approachable, cool and ready to bend over backwards for them?

Have you spent the time and money on an effective, easily recognizable band logo? Or does your graphic image drastically change everytime you release a new CD, gig poster or website update?

Painters: Do you have a killer looking business card that reflects your killer art? Use a snippet of your best piece as the image on everything you do. Those cards, your website, your email template header, the “About the Artist” bio posted at your local gallery exhibit. Remember- being (and showing to others that you are) professional will encourage people to do business with you. Or more business. Or pay a higher price than they otherwise might.

Photographers: Are you always on-site well in advance of the scheduled shoot, setup and ready to rock? Or are you the guy who’s always calling at two-minutes-’til, exaggerating about the ‘bad traffic’ and needing better directions?


What methods have you found that add to your level of consistency and increase the value of your brand?
Comment below and share with the rest of us!


  1. As a photographer my primary focus (photography humor there) has always been customer satisfaction. I had a shoot recently for a product line of life jackets. I showed up 45 minutes early and had already scoped out the best areas to shoot, checked the lighting, made all the necessary adjustments so that when the client and the models showed up I was ready to rock and roll. Part of my brand is being dependable and flexible for my clients. There is always more I can do though and ways to improve but that is all part of the growing and learning process. I like to be the photographer I would want if I were to hire one. Good things to think about Mark!

    • “I like to be the photographer I would want if I were to hire one.” A perfect example of the Golden Rule in practice! Thanks for reading and commenting, Matt.

  2. This is really weird reading this, as today Michelle and I talked about going one direction musically with Copper Box. ( not 4-7 different genres of music like we have been )

    Great advice!

    • Hey, Danny! Cool to hear it relates to the band- let me know what you guys end up doing. Thanks for taking the time to drop a line, dude!

  3. The statements about personal branding are so dead on. Whether I am auditioning for a band, showing up as a sub, playing a date with my regular bands or just going to an open jam I always try to give a very genuine impression of who I am, what I do and what I can bring to the table. My logo and brand are great attitude, great sounding reliable gear, knowledge and experience and hopefully great (or at least good) personal appearance. I find I can tell alot about players even before I meet or hear them and I assume many players and potential audience members can do that too.

    I take the same approach in my day job where attaining people’s trust and confidence is key. If I come off like a used car salesman (or at least like that stereotype) it’s pretty much down hill from there. I would say that people who deal with me in any capacity know what to expect but there is always room for improvement.

    With regards to your Starbucks example, after reading the article, the familiar round green logo with the twin-tailed siren popped into my head causing an intense Pavlovian response. I’m currently sitting here with my grande Pike’s place! I think this speaks volumes about the power of branding and great logos.

    • Dave- thanks for the amazing comment! Having performed with you several times now, I can fully attest to that brand that you’ve created for yourself. One’s brand = one’s reputation, which often precedes you. Definitely true in your case. I heard that you were a great sounding, reliable player (and super cool guy) well before we’d ever met or played together. It’s so important to keep that branding in-mind because, when it really comes down to it, perception is reality. Thanks again!

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