Article Transcript from Natural Awakenings Magazine December 2010
Julien Brandt, Cultivator of Excellence Online
by Linda Sechrist
While most of us recognize that the acronym CEO represents the chief executive officer of a company, these initials have now been given new meaning by Julien Brandt, founder and owner of OrganikSEO, a San Diego-based firm dedicated to helping small businesses grow by increasing their online exposure via search engines and social media marketing. Brandt is to his clients what the most masterful of horticulturists is to a bountiful garden—a cultivator whose expertise improves the expected yield. For that reason, he decided to coin the term CEO: Cultivator of Excellence Online.
Brandt’s form of cultivation, however, involves the build-out and management of social media campaigns and the implementation of local search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives to improve a client’s website ranking on a search engine’s results page. SEO and social media elevate his clients’ online exposure and provide a cost-effective marketing strategy that establishes a stronger presence and brand awareness, making it easier for consumers to find the clients’ products and services.
For Brandt, OrganikSEO is more than a company name; it’s a lifestyle. Healthy living and environmental awareness were rooted in his upbringing and have been a lifelong passion. “I grew up in rural Carmel Valley (Northern California) when the population was only a couple of thousand; today, it’s a mini-Napa Valley,” he says. Raised by parents who subscribed to using solar power and eating locally grown, organic food, he came to appreciate this sustainable way of life.
“During my early years, our closest neighbors, a Swiss family, sold my parents fresh eggs and milk in glass bottles that came from the cows grazing on their property,” advises Brandt, who rarely strays far from his family’s values. Like his mother, who is the manager of community relations at Earthbound Farm, the nation’s largest grower of organic produce, Brandt now does work that allows him to honor what he has come to appreciate most.
Brandt’s studies at San Diego State University included computer science, graphic design, economics and business. “Although I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics, with a business minor, I considered all my studies to be the natural culmination of my high school love for the arts. The good news is that I now use all of these different mediums today in my business,” says Brandt.
After college, he worked with a Rancho Santa Fe real estate agency, honing his computer and graphic skills while building their website and helping with their marketing. “I got to develop successful online marketing campaigns and websites for agents who were technologically challenged,” he remarks. Hours spent daily in these areas made it easy for Brandt to build a dedicated client base and transition into being an entrepreneur. “At that point, I decided to find my niche, one where I could weave in my personal passion for helping green, organic and eco-friendly companies,” he recalls.
As is often the case, Brandt found that the moment he committed to helping other sustainable businesses, a whole stream of positive events issued from his decision. In 2008, he founded OrganikSEO, in Del Mar, to serve local green and organic companies and became involved with organizations such as Natural Awakenings magazine and the San Diego Green Chamber of Commerce. In January 2010, Brandt moved his office to Solana Beach, the hub of San Diego’s green community.
“Opening an office on Cedros Avenue was a great move for us,” he says. “We are right in the middle of the environmental and sustainability revolution. Just in our building alone, there are multiple green and organic companies: Coromega, Earnest Eats, Greener Dawn (a solar service provider), White Raven Acupuncture and Cedros Works, a new co-working office environment with 20,000 square feet of collaborative office space for 30 to 40 new start-ups and businesses.”
Now enjoying his success, Brandt has time to step away and give back to his community. He serves on the board of directors of the Green Chamber and the advisory board of Cedros Works. He also serves on the communications committee for the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership. In addition, he writes for Examiner.com, a San Diego online marketing media outlet, and does pro bono work for charities and social justice organizations such as Sustainable Comprehensive Humanitarian Assistance and Planning (SCHAP.info).
“I’m doing everything I love to do,” says Brandt, “and I’m helping to make a difference, another value that our family holds dear.”
Julien Brandt at OrganikSEO, 444 S. Cedros Ave., Ste. 189, Solana Beach 92075. Call 858-345-2569 or visit OrganikSEO.com.