You Are More Than Your Product

Tyler Hawk
Aug 6, 2019 · 7 min read

The idea of “adding value” can be quite the nebulous statement. It is often the sales pitch of the predatory (or incompetent) marketing company looking to lure you in with promises of immense amounts of exposure for your brand. Most people don’t even know what the phrase “adding value” even means, not even these companies. Real, tangible value is hard to come by but if you can create it for your customers, you will always grow your audience and they’ll be even more loyal than if you were just selling your product alone.

As a part of the Praxis program, creating value is ingrained in everything I am learning and doing which has given me a good idea of what actual value creation looks like. Value creation goes above simply selling your product or service. It’s about creating something that your customer wasn’t expecting and making it a part of your brand. In terms of a brand, it’s about creating a community, a space for your customers to get together and show their passion for your brand.

This is the ultimate marketing technique.

I’ve written about how a great marketing technique like a competition can help a lot in a previous post. A competition such as one where your customers participate by using your product and showing their passion for it in their submissions and having an awesome prize is a great way to build a stronger community around your brand or product. You are actively engaging your customers through their submissions and it strengthens the relationship they have with you. This technique, however, is only really effective with an established audience.

What I’m talking about here instead is a fundamental way of doing things as a business. Think of it as a lifestyle change for your brand.

It doesn’t require big social media campaigns, fancy content creation, and it is the oldest but most effective marketing plan in the book. Take care of your customers, go above and beyond, and you will have a dedicated marketing force thousands strong that are die-hard fans of your brand, ready to tell everyone they know about you. I want to dissect a company that excels at adding extra value to their customers and how this has translated into one of the biggest cult followings of a coffee shop Instagram has ever seen.

So who adds value better than even some of the world’s biggest companies?

Brother Moto

Brother Moto is a coffee shop located in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta. As you can see, they’ve grown quite the following on Instagram and spending just a couple minutes on their page you’ll quickly realize just how devoted and passionate their customers are. They constantly share photos of themselves in Brother Moto t-shirts all over the world and in turn, Brother Moto shares them on their own Instagram story. Talk about getting the word out. So how do they do it?

On paper, Brother Moto is just a coffee shop. Sure, they sell apparel (which admittedly, I’m a huge fan of and own several of their t-shirts) and they check all the trendy Instagram coffee shop tropes including minimal design, lots of plants and string lights, and a slew of vintage paraphernalia (notably motorcycle and automotive decor). It is in this brand identity that we start to see what separates Brother Moto from every other trendy, independent coffee shop.

Image of their built-in motorcycle garage

Firstly and most notably, they are adding unexpected value by having a motorcycle garage attached to their shop. It’s obvious that the owner has a strong propensity for two-wheeled modes of transport as it is central to the brand’s identity. The attached garage is the physical manifestation of this. It is a place where members of the Brother Moto Garage (a membership you can apply to online) can store and work on their bikes. I can’t think of any other establishment that combines food and automotive repair under one roof. However, value creation doesn’t stop there.

The other big way that Brother Moto adds value to its customers is through weekly and monthly activities and meetups. These events include a weekly motorcycle meet up at Victory sand which bar (a nearby Atlanta staple), a monthly ladies-only motorcycle meetup, a “Drink and Draw” session where artists come to drink coffee and draw, and my personal favorite, Newb Sundays where people who know very little about motorcycles can come and learn tips from a professional in the Brother Moto garage.

This along with the garage achieves one of the most important concepts any company in 2019 should focus on: community. By focusing on building a strong community, you will always have an army of loyal, die-hard fans who are always ready to buy the next thing you put out. Their weekly and monthly activities give their customers a chance to come together and nerd out about the things they are passionate about, including Brother Moto as a brand. In turn, their customers become their ultimate marketing force, taking pictures of Brother Moto t-shirts, stickers, and mugs from all around the world giving them more reach and exposure than they ever could get with traditional marketing techniques.

But what about me?

You may be thinking that this is great advice if you’re an entrepreneur who is building their million-dollar empire but what if you’re a freelancer or work in a more traditional work environment? The idea of adding extra value that is more than others expect of you is just as powerful for the individual as it is for the business.

If you’re in sales, help out the marketing department every now and then; even if it’s just going on a coffee run. If you’re a freelance photographer, send your clients different edits of the same photos and maybe offer nice prints to go along with your digital photos. Figure out the ways you can go above and beyond what those around you expect. This advice is timeless and people may think this is all about getting a promotion but it goes far beyond that.

By being that person who helps out departments outside of his or her own, you build a stronger relationship with those around you. Sure, a promotion may be an aftereffect of this but you also have more people to vouch for the work you do. It allows you to make lateral moves around the company if you wanted to move into another department of the business as the people in that department know your work ethic. Those around you may also even pay it forward and help you out in times where you may need it. This technique is also an incredibly effective networking technique as doing small things, like sending someone an article related to things you talked about when you exchanged contact info, will help them remember you and be more open to collaborating in the future.

Just like this technique builds an unstoppable marketing force for a business, it also builds one for the individual. You’ll have a whole host of co-workers, clients, or people you’ve networked with ready to gush about how great it is to work with you and about the great work that you do. If you employ this technique, you’ll never be without a great job ever again.

Could Brother Moto get by just fine without these added goodies? Sure, most likely. They have cool apparel and the cool shop that looks aesthetically pleasing which could probably get them somewhere. However, it is the extra value they add that pushes them to the next level. On paper, it may say that Brother Moto is just a coffee shop, but in reality, they are a coffee shop, motorcycle garage, fashion brand, and a hub for all things motorcycle related and gear heads to meet up and share their passions. Furthermore, they’ve created an army of die-hard, true fans that will push their brand message out further than they ever could alone. Whether it’s your business, your freelance career, or your office life, there is no better way to make it better than by making those around you want to shout your name from the rooftops.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal…

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at

Tyler Hawk

Written by

Design | Media | Lifestyle. I’m a budding digital designer, photographer, and filmmaker who likes to write about professional creativity and lifestyle design.

On Breaking the Mold

Where unconventional paths in entrepreneurship, personal development, and education meet. Learn more at