What Bartending Taught Me About Branding


Bartending – Branding

I moonlight as a bartender and I absolutely love it. I’m very good at it and make great tips. I reasoned that I was excelling at it because I have product knowledge and I understand the art of mixing flavors. I figured that those skills, combined with my quick bartending brandingwit were responsible for my success. Then I noticed that a group of customers were following me even when I changed bars. The fact that they would ask when I was working and show up on those days got me to thinking. (Though I admit, being a bar industry type, I was inclined to attribute my Bar Star status to my awesomeness! It just had to be my awesomeness, rugged good looks, or then again, maybe it was simply my humility that was bringing them in!)

After speaking with a wonderful couple who are a pair of my regulars, I discovered that I had actually created a brand for myself without realizing it. A brand which included not only my beverage knowledge and mixing creativity, but also the newsboy hat that I love wearing, plus an element which I soon discovered was the key to it all.

Bartending – Branding: The ‘Why’ Factor

What makes me a good bartender is also part of what makes me tick in other areas. I realized that when I’m behind the bar (and other places for that matter) my desire is to facilitate a unique and positive experience. Stepping back and figuring out why I do what I do was really eye opening. My “look” and attitude behind the bar all serve a single purpose. They are meant to provide my customers with the experience they are looking for. Be it a first date, an anniversary, or simply a chat and a beer after work, my goal is always to have my PEEPS leave in a better state than when they came in. This is my ‘why’. If I am successful, they will come back again and again.

Integrating Your Personal ‘Why’

Discovering why I do what I do behind the bar helped me really uncover and fine-tune my brand. Now, in every endeavor I undertake I ask myself this question: “Why do I do this?” By discovering the ‘why’, I am able to fine-tune my personal brand and the brand of the business or individual I am working with. This helps them take the lead in their industry and achieve their immediate and long term goals.

Working behind the bar, the goals of the customer are very often time sensitive. That being the case, I like to read their body language and converse with them to discover their ‘why’ for the visit. Once this is established, I mesh my ‘why’ to theirs and we become a team with a common goal which has more tools to accomplish these goals. Once I discovered this formula, I realized that it is easily transferable to clients I work with on marketing and branding. My goal is always for them to have the best possible experience and to help them take the lead.

The Benefits

By seeking out the ‘why’ first, we build a solid foundation together for the project. This will then facilitate an upbeat and efficient process – which in turn yields positive results. There is also the strong likelihood of exceeding the expectations set out at the beginning of the project. Behind the bar, in marketing, or in any other industry, establishing a good relationship leads to the all-important Satisfied Customer and repeat business is a consequence. A satisfied customer is a delighted customer, and we all know that delighted customers are the best promoters of you and your business.

The Silver ‘Re’ Cap

  • Discover ‘Why’ you do what you do
  • Integrate your ‘Why’ with your businesses ‘Why’
  • Build your brand around ‘Why’

Social Media is a Conversation


Colin is the Social Media and Content Marketing guru at OTR Web Solutions a web development and content marketing company since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.