Do You “Live Your Brand?”

How are you building your brand online?

Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, has built over a dozen brands. In this recent video that he did exclusively for Mixergy, he talked about how build a brand.

Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis


Jason Calacanis is an entrepreneur and blogger. He founded and has built over a dozen brands.

Here’s the paraphrased text of what he said:

When I ran Silicon Alley Reporter magazine, I had an expression, “You have to live the brand.” I had tshirts made up that said, “Silicon Alley Reporter” and I wore one every day.

And it had a beautiful logo. I’m a believer in beautiful logos and really great brand names.

The brands I launched–Engadget, Autoblog, Joystiq, Silicon Alley Reporter, Digital Coast Reporter, Mahalo, TechCrunch50–all have memorable names.

And if you look at the logos, I spent extra time on the logos. I’m a little bit obsessive about a beautiful domain name, a beautiful logo, a domain name that you can spell over the phone, that is under a certain number of characters.

I think you need to have a really solid brand identity. And you have to suffer over creating it.

Even Autoblog, we debated that name because it was so simple. But we made it a good looking logo and it became a brand over time.

The mug I’m sipping from has the Mahalo logo. When you come to our office and have a cup of coffee, you’re going to be drinking from our logo.

Be the brand–in all ways.I would go to events wearing the Silicon Alley tshirt. I would have a backpack filled with 100 copies of the magazine. And would be walking around with a handful of them. I think some people thought I was a little crass, but I would rather be known as being a little over-aggressive or crass than have people not know Silicon Alley Reporter.

I handed a copy of my magazine to John F. Kennedy Jr. at a Knicks game and wound up having a conversation with him about it. I sent one to Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone magazine, and to Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and wound up talking to both of those guys about the magazine business.

You have to be aggressive in getting your message out there to people and building a great brand.

If you don’t live it, why should anybody else?


  • this interview touched up on may key points that I found interesting.

    #1 – brand equity takes a while to build, there is no such thing as a winning lotto ticket in the field of entrepreneurship. I can tell you for sure, over time I have seen our brand equity become more value and I would have to agree with Jason having a name and logo that is catchy is very key because people will remember you more clearly then the competitors if you have an easy name and good looking logo. Your brand communicates to the world who your company is, so maybe start ups should start with their brand first, which will setup a good tone to move forward.

    #2 – there are a lot of opinions out on the web, and yes going beyond opinions on your blog is going to set you apart, although I think opinions are important, offering more then just opinions will increase the authority of your blog.

    Jason, mentioned energy, specifically wind turbines and solar panels towards the end of the interview, which really caught my attention, he just me a really good idea, it was almost like he was talking directly to me, how ironic!

    What did you take away from this in-depth interview?

  • Crass!

    Getting a name out in a crowd is a far from humble task.

    Wearing the brand, carrying the brand, drinking the brand, it’s perfect. I think this goes perfectly with the old saying that no publicity is bad publicity. Being remembered as that real overt guy from XYZ company still has that person remembering XYZ. The only risk, is it a turn off to be overt, even if it’s not overbearing?

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.