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“You can’t be an outstanding brand if you don’t stand out.”

Rick Julian is the Chief Creative Officer at The QUO VADIS Agency. QUO VADIS develops sophisticated brand strategies and award winning creative assets: names, logos, websites, films, trade show displays, marketing collateral, and radio and television commercials that have helped its national and global clientele grow over $2 billion in new revenue.

Quo Vadis

BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to write a book highlighting the usefulness of Taoism in modern life?

Rick: About a year ago, I asked myself the question, “What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life—the ones you want to share with your children and the world, as a record of your being here?” That’s a big question to answer, but writing The Red Pill—A Modern Tao Te Ching came to me pretty quickly, so that’s what I did.

BusinessInterviews.com: How do you feel that your belief systems have helped contribute to your professional success?

Rick: I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “Oh, it’s just business . . .”
I don’t see it that way. This is life, and business is but a small part of it. Being mindful of this requires that my business interactions are humane, and genuine, and the trust and relationships that approach has earned me is the cornerstone of my success.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are the most common mistakes you see companies make when it comes to brand development?

Rick: Too many companies are satisfied with blending into the branding landscape among their competitors, and consequently surrender much of their brand’s power. Branding is an exercise in memory creation, cultivation, and retention, and blending into the sea of sameness does not produce a memorable brand. You can’t be an outstanding brand if you don’t stand out.

BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to a startup looking for innovative ways to engage with their customers?

Rick: Instead of thinking like a company, think like your customer. There was a hospital that was looking to create a more effective and efficient emergency room process for itself, and a better experience for their “customers”, so they strapped a camera on the head of a one of their employees, then pretended like he was an incoming patient in order to get a sense of the experience through his eyes. Watching that footage was very revealing to them, and led to the development of some remarkable changes in their operation that helped them accomplish their goals.

BusinessInterviews.com: What tips would you give to someone contemplating running their first Facebook marketing campaign?

Rick: In social media, the most effective brands are the most human and interesting ones. They have a point of view, an engaging voice that communicates it, and quality interactions with their social audiences. My favorite brands on social media give me quality content on a consistent basis that keeps my engagement with them high.

BusinessInterviews.com: What’ the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?

Rick: We were working on a branding campaign for a client who sold bricks—perhaps the most basic, commoditized product ever. All of the competitor’s branding looked the same: their ads always featured photos of large suburban houses, so true to our philosophy of not blending in, our creative team was told they were not allowed to use a house in the branding campaign. Instead, we positioned brick as a fashion statement, and hired a world famous photographer, Jim Fiscus to photograph bricks as fashion accessories: a handbag, a belt, and sunglasses. The campaign, rocked the building products industry, grew our client’s brand awareness and revenues by leaps and bounds, and is now featured in three university level text books in chapters relating to how to differentiate commoditized brands.

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