More Thoughts on Branding Startups and Communities

Mark Suster wrote an interesting article on the branding of the LA tech scene, specifically in response to the recently popularize name, “Silicon Beach”. It’s a good read that walks you through some basic steps of branding.

I humbly disagree with his discontent.

I agree with his points in this post. If I were to “name” our community top down, I don’t think it would have been Silicon Beach.

However, I think you can’t ignore how the name became popular. A small group of entrepreneurs put together a Facebook group with no intention but to keep each other connected. This small group grew quickly past 500 people, and is now a place where entrepreneurs announce events, showcase their products, and ask each other questions. I believe a large portion of our entrepreneurial community today associates the name “Silicon Beach” with our collaborative and helpful community of entrepreneurs.

As a brand, I think there’s few things more exciting than your community coming up with a nickname for you on their own and wearing it like a proud badge. It’s easy to say, “hey, that’s not my brand,” but I’d like to suggest that this is an opportunity a brand should embrace.

I’m pretty sure PBR didn’t set out to be a brand for Hipsters, but when they noticed that Hipsters loved their product, they went with it. That worked out pretty well for them.

I personally think Silicon Beach is a playful name which many entrepreneurs in Los Angeles can relate to. Regardless, I think it’s great that our community is increasingly growing and bonding, and for all we know this silly nickname has something to do with it.. I also believe we can attribute a portion of our increasing press coverage to this memorable nickname.

I’m not writing this to suggest that “Silicon Beach” represents the LA startup community well, but rather to suggest an alternative viewpoint to the branding of the term.

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