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Brand New Brand One

Written By: Nicole Fera

Photographed By: Michael Wesley

As I pull up to one of the beautiful villas at Pelican Hill, I am greeted by the enthusiastic, friendly and well-dressed Cody Soto, one of the founders of Brand One. I head inside where the other two parts of the Brand One puzzle, Grafton Darnall, and Jason Winkler, are waiting to talk to me, equally as handsome and vibrant. The boys lead me into the villa and are eager to talk about their company, Brand One, and all of their big plans for the years to come. Their enthusiasm for their company, brand and work is truly inspiring, especially because I sense that they can’t be too much older than myself at just 24. Despite their age they seem fully confident in the work that they do and future endeavors to come, so I’m immediately interested in knowing more about what they’re up to. We take a seat outside on the patio, which overlooks the golf course and the ocean in the distance. They begin to answer all of my questions and assure me that coffee and bagels are on the way— the true way to any Jersey girl’s heart.

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They seem to be the perfect combination of smart, driven, hardworking men and three guys young and cool enough to know what people are going to want. Anyone can make an Instagram or a Facebook page for a company, but these guys have the connections and understanding of what’s going to sell.

They’ve come together to create their own business and work hard to achieve their goals. They truly believe that they can offer the world of advertising a fresh take on things, and they’ve done an amazing job so far. With Brand One fresh off the ground, only being in business for a mere six months, there’s no telling what these guys are capable of doing. Any smart business man or woman would be sure to get them on their team while they’re still available!

Q: So let’s talk Brand One. If I’m not mistaken the company you’ve founded is fairly new…

Cody Soto: The three of us came together to start Brand One about six months ago, so the company is brand new. However, we’ve all been in the industry and worked for different companies doing what we’ve set out on our own to do now.

Q: And what industry is that? What sort of company is Brand One exactly?

Jason Winkler: Well prior to this we were all working on different companies that we help developed and launch to market.. We wanted to get away from the corporate world, take all of our different talents and create something truly original in the world of marketing, business development and public relations. Brand One is essentially a marketing business, but our ultimate goals includes so much more than that.

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Q: Okay so let’s start from the beginning. You’re all working with different companies in LA and OC, so then what brought this magical trio together?

GD: We like to think of Cody as the glue that sealed this friendship and business partnership together. He was friends with both Jason and myself, and once the three of us got together we knew it was “meant to be.” We felt and still feel that it’s been easy to do business with friends because the trust factor is already there. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with their friends all day long creating something powerful and establishing a core team?

Q: Sounds like the dream team. How old are you guys anyway? You seem so young to have started your own company, which is amazing, by the way.

CS: We’re 24, 25 and 27 -so we’ve been working for a bit, but we’re young enough to know what works right now in the world of advertising. We understand how to appeal to our generation because we’re it, and that’s an edge that a lot of companies don’t have.

Q: So essentially you’re a business development/advertising/marketing/all your PR needs company. What’s the first order of business for you guys?

Graftan Darnall: Exactly. Well, first off we’ve taken some of the clients that we’ve been working with already and have begun to market them with our own unique ideas and strategies for starters.

Q: And who are some of these lucky first clients?

JW: Well, one of the first companies that I helped develop and bring to market over 4 years ago is Liquipel. When we started Brand One, Liquipel was one of the first companies we brought over, which is a tech company that creates and provides liquid-proof nano coatings to different electronics. This is something that most people can definitely benefit from and a cool concept that we love representing. Other clients include Gold Standard and Black Reserve, which are two vape juice companies that are a cut above the rest. We bring high-end imaging and packaging to an industry that has not yet seen this. We look forward to being able to help these companies branch out and using different tactics to forward their growth.

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Q: What exactly will Brand One provide that will set it apart from other companies like it?

CS: I think the fact that we have so many different connections and partnerships is what sets us apart from other agencies. We are going to be able to involve different celebrities and musical talents and create strategic partnerships with them and different brands and clients. For example, some musical acts that Jason signed a partnership with for Liquipel already include Steve Aoki and Pharrell Willaims. We’ve also gotten our products in music videos and events with French Montana, Juicy J, Rick Ross, and Wiz Khalifa. These are just some of the big names that we can pair up with our other clients to create strategic partnerships, and that’s what sets us apart from the rest.

Q: So the clients that you take on, such as Liquipel or Black Reserve, get paired up with big names that people know and boom?

JW: Haha. Essentially, yes. We’re un-standardizing the market. The “cool” factor is what is going to set us apart. We want to take something like a tech company and use the music industry as an outlet to sell their products. This way it gives that tech company an edge and more of an appeal to a larger audience.

Q: So what are some different strategies that you’ll be using to achieve this goal?

JW: We use and plan on using a variety of strategies, such as featuring different content through videos, social media apps, photo shoots and of course our big partnerships, which is our secret weapon. Instagram is huge right now, so we’ve done photo shoots with a variety of Instagram junkies—anything that’s big right now and appealing to as many people as possible. We also have the ability and connections to introduce any new clients to other potential business partners and like we said, those partnerships are a huge part of what we do and how we make things happen for everyone involved.

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Q: Are you guys based in Los Angeles?

GD: We are actually based out of Irvine, but we like to think that our foundation is in LA. That’s where we were all working when we came together to start this venture and that’s where most of our connections and clients are.

Q: If you could describe your company in one word, what would that word be?

JW: Hmmm … the first word that comes to mind is innovated, but I feel like I want to give you a better word than that, (laughs). That’s what we do though – we come up with creative ways to market things and make our clients successful.

CS: I would also say that a good word to describe us would be innovative. Our approach is young and fresh because no one is taking the products that we manage and pairing them with the kinds of talent that we have on board.

Q: Both of those are some solid choices. Besides making sure your company is both creative and innovative in the future, what are some of your other goals for Brand One?

GD: Our future goals for Brand One would be to have it become an influential market and powerhouse with all of the resources that we have between the three of us. We hope to eventually create some of our own products, partner up with as many big companies and clients as possible and get involved with more APP companies, which is something that we’ve been working on lately. The possibilities are endless because we’re just getting started on this journey and have a millions ideas for what we can do.