Nish Nadaraja

Creator of Yelp Elite, Brand Consultant and Advisor

Nish Nadaraja, the creator of the Yelp Elite program in 2004, took the stage in a fireside chat with David Spinks just after lunch. In their conversation, they touch on getting your brand right, persona exercises, and building friendships with your first 100 users.

During the process of building the Yelp Elite, Nish realized that the more he made people feel special, the more they wanted to belong. And the more that people wanted to belong, the more the Yelp community activity grew. Each person in the community should feel a strong sense of belonging, Nish argues.

Nish also advocated for a living, breathing document in every department: a brand guide. The guide can change and evolve over time, but it should be used as a guidepost for all community activities, conversations, and strategy discussions.

And, of course, most important to Yelp’s success was Nish’s focus on the people. That’s what made Yelp so cool after all: it was a group of cool kids, going out and getting exclusive access to events, restaurants, and bars. That’s why Nish urged community professionals to look at the first 100 people and to get to know them so well that they shape your brand entirely.

Watch the whole conversation between David and Nish to learn how the Yelp Elite was born and how they set themselves so far above the competition.

Carrie Melissa Jones