We had the pleasure to talk with Aswin Rengarajan about the original source of inspiration for starting IYOPS and what’s new and interesting in their future plans.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do before IYOPS?
I hail from a small town called Thanjavur in the Southern part of India. I was a national-level cricket player in high school and then joined a university to study architecture. By the end of the first year, I had a career-defining injury and had to quit both my sport and architecture school.
Shortly after, I joined business school, co-founded a digital marketing agency with a friend, and started participated in competitions like business plans, case studies, etc., across universities in my state. Soon enough, I found myself with 45+ accolades participating in 100+ events throughout the first two years at my business school.
Amidst that, I applied and won a fully paid scholarship sponsored by the US Government to study Entrepreneurship for two semesters in the US. Midway through my time in the US, I and my friends from around the world started IYOPS, wanting to spread ideals of peace and sustainability to the remotest parts of our planet.
How was the idea for IYOPS born?
My friends and I hailed from different countries and we all had experienced different hardships throughout our lifetimes. Whether it be flooding, drought, freedom of expression, equality, abuse, or so on.
We wanted to shed light on all of these different issues and came to the conclusion that to solve any issue, there needs to be an awareness about what’s happening and what can be done to make the situation better.
That is when we decided that providing access to information and awareness to underserved people from the remotest parts of our world is the best way to begin addressing any issue.
What does IYOPS do?
We work with passionate youngsters from around the world to create educational content online to raise awareness around the pressing issues of our world, host live sessions with subject matter experts, and offer internships and volunteer opportunities to University students to aid them in their skill and career development, amongst other things.
How did you name your brand? What was the reasoning behind choosing the name IYOPS?
Our core ideals were to spread peace and sustainability, and as we were youngsters and believed that the youths are the emerging leaders who can make a change in our world, we named our organization IYOPS – International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability.
What domain name did you choose for IYOPS? What is your experience with it?
We were fortunate enough to get the domain name (iyops.org). It was our first choice and directly related to our organization’s name. Being a nonprofit, the .org was important as well.
I have some experience working with domain names, as I’ve been handling websites for about 5 years. A domain name should reflect the name of your business, location (national domains work well for local businesses, and .com works for international businesses), industry (.org for nonprofits, .io for innovative tech companies, .nft, .eth, and other domains for web3 companies).
In general, a .com domain is the best option overall and also for SEO.
What is your biggest challenge with this business? Have you overcome it, and how?
Our first biggest challenge was the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a couple of months of starting the organization, we were hit, along with the whole world, by the pandemic and lockdowns.
We were forced to change our plans and do everything online. We started a virtual speaker series with experts from all over the world, a newsletter, a blog, a virtual internship program, and some social media campaigns. Since then, these online campaigns have been our go-to strategy to get more eyes on our work and help people.
As the world is returning to normal, we plan to expand our presence offline as well.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business when it comes to naming their brand?
Naming your brand can make or break the first impression when someone hears about you or your product/service. Unless your offering is out of this world, you need to take care of branding and marketing right from the get-go.
Spending a bit of time, in the beginning, to think about this will save a lot of time and effort down the road, eliminating the need to spend more resources on rebranding.
Some other factors to consider while naming your brand are the availability of domain names, relevance to the product and market, ease to understand and comprehend, and native language.
What do you know about premium domains, and what do you feel is their role in building successful brands?
Earlier, there were only a few options when it came to domain names. A .com or .org or .net or .edu were some famous ones and to get a good domain name, one had to spend a bit.
Recently, there have been way more domain names in the mix including national domains, .io, .tech, .xyz, etc. Anyhow, a .com domain still holds the top spot due to it being easily recognizable.
Getting a 2/3/4/5 character .com domain name (like anime.com/lol.com/horse.com) can be a bit expensive, but if you think it makes sense and you already have a solid business plan centered around it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it.
Where do you feel your knowledge about domains as brand assets can improve?
With more domain names arising every year, it’s a bit hard to keep up. Ones like .nft, .eth, .club, etc., can work well with next-generation companies, and having more case studies on them can benefit people in the branding space or entrepreneurs wanting to know more about how they can name their businesses.
What is next for IYOPS?
Collaborating with more leaders across the world is something we’re planning to do next. As we are more focused on content recently, having a wide range of voices from diverse parts of our planet would certainly benefit our audience.
Beyond that, we are also in the works to have more in-person events in parts of the world where access to the internet and digital devices is hard to come by.
Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions, where can they reach you online?
People can reach out to me on LinkedIn or through the contact form on our website. I’m always open to helping youngsters, whether it be related to their careers, education, social issues, or mentoring.
Also, at IYOPS, we are always looking for people who can volunteer, write, advise, and partner with us. Come join us in helping shape the youngsters of today into efficient leaders of tomorrow!