About a month ago, I treated my two oldest sons (24 and 17) to concert tickets to see one of their favorite alternative rock bands, the Arctic Monkeys. As the concert date approached, I realized this experience was going to be interesting for me. We would be seeing the band in a venue with no seats, and I knew they would like to get as close as possible. Counting the time in line outside the venue, waiting for the show to begin, and the concert itself, I spent nearly five consecutive hours standing up that evening while trying to co-exist with throngs of young fans crowding around. Not only did I survive the show, but I had a great time even though I was not very familiar with the band’s music.
If You Like Your Coffee Hot…
As I listened to songs from the band’s new album, AM, the lyrics of one song grabbed my attention.It is the track “I Wanna Be Yours.” It is a ballad, somewhat of a change of pace from the high energy packed into most Arctic Monkeys songs. One line from the song stopped me in my tracks. I cannot help but see connections between seemingly unrelated things like a ballad and branding, but this line had powerful parallel meaning for me. The line is innocent enough, almost hokey- “If you like your coffee hot, let me be your coffee pot.” But as I thought about the meaning of that line, I did not envision a guy longing for the company of a girl (or vice versa). Instead, I was reminded of what it means to create a brand that adds value by being in service to others… keeping their coffee hot, if you will.
…Let Me be Your Coffee Pot
Personal branding has gained favor as a strategy for managing one’s professional identity and career trajectory. One of the myths of personal branding is that it entails constant communication or demonstration of your expertise, particularly through social media channels. In reality, a great brand (personal or corporate) is one that adds value to others through service, leadership, mentoring, or coaching. It is not so much what you know, but what you do for others that positively impacts whether a brand prospers or wallows in medocrity. In my role as a college professor, the coffee pot imagery means to me that I serve as a mentor and advocate for my students as they sift through possible paths that ultimately lead to their career choices. I need to help “keep their coffee hot” as they progress through their studies and prepare to embark on their professional careers.
Be a coffee pot for someone-open yourself to keeping the coffee hot as you do your part to equip others to succeed. Below is a video of the Arctic Monkey performing an acoustic version of “I Wanna Be Yours.” Enjoy.