Rohit Bhargava on Branding Your Startup: Do It and Massage It Later

This past Tuesday, at an event held at the Crystal Tech Fund in Crystal City, VA (right outside Washington, DC),  Tech Cocktail celebrated the launch of Startup Mixology by Tech Cocktail’s very own co-founder Frank Gruber. We invited local entrepreneurs to join us on-stage for a discussion on various aspects of starting up, apropos of the topics covered in the book. At the event, we were luckily joined by Rohit Bhargava, founder of the Influential Marketing Group and author of five best-selling books on business and marketing, including Likeonomics. When sharing his thoughts on what startups should do when it comes to crafting a brand for their companies, Bhargava replied: “Do it, and massage it later.”

“I realized that maybe I was spending a little bit too much time crafting that brand, and not enough time actually focusing on the thing itself. And that was a lesson for me,” said Bhargava.

Bhargava shared his own experiences with starting his own company, and expressed the initial frustration of thinking that it was necessary for him to go through this long, intensive process of figuring out what to name the brand, doing months of branding research, and then finally working on the company/product itself. Ultimately, what he ended up doing was coming up with a name directly from the beginning, found a logo that worked for him through a website that offered logo design, and then went to develop his company from there. If you spend too much time trying to figure out the name or lay out your entire brand strategy, it will take you forever and really does a disservice to your company; once you’ve established the brand, you can work to develop it or “massage” it along the way, alongside developing your company.

“So, I think for entrepreneurs, I don’t approach things the same way anymore, like, I don’t say ‘you gotta spend all this time to figure out what this brand’s going to be before you actually do something.'”

Additionally, Bhargava talked about the importance of having a great, infectious personality – something that companies can really leverage. He cites my Hollywood BFF Jennifer Lawrence, and the importance of “just being yourself.” Lawrence is an example of a brand with a personality that stands out and authentic – a refreshing contrast to the rest of Hollywood. You have to create a genuine personality for you brand, and that will naturally attract people to your company.


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Written by:
Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.
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