The future of branding

Startups Magazine talks with Julie Rice, WeWork Partner and co-founder of SoulCycle, to discuss what she envisions for the future of branding.


"The brands that are going to win are the brands that have an emotional connection to their users. We are all so overwhelmed with digital marketing and have so much information coming through our smartphones that brands need to figure out how to really connect with their customers in an authentic and emotional way, otherwise the messages will just go over people’s heads. Authenticity is key."

THree take-aways as a co-founder to a startup

"People should trust their gut. I think founders actually have great instincts about their businesses and their customers and often they get deterred by professional management thinking someone else knows better than them. 

"Put one foot in front of the other, sometimes I think that big visions put us in a state of paralysis. When I started the business we would each make a to-do list every day with three things, we would each finish our three things then report back to each other and start over with another three things. I think small steps lead to big businesses.

"Don’t dwell on mistakes, just look at them as tuition, everybody makes mistakes." 


Julie Rice, WeWork
Julie Rice, WeWork Partner

"The importance of community to startups is huge. With WeWork you get a workplace community straight away. There’s a great marketing article called ‘The Hundred True Fans’, it basically talks about how as a business you don’t need a million customers, if you can find your thousand people, that you’re creating your product for, and figure out how to maximise those – and again this plays back to the idea that we want to find authenticity – if you can find those thousand people that your brand really speaks to, then you can deliver. That’s the important thing, that not only are you finding the right audience but that you're also delivering on the experience that you promised them. But if you can find your people and deliver on it, your brand most likely will market itself."

I've built my brand, do I grow or hold on to it?

"Once you have established what the mission and the message is of your brand, you do want to hold on to that. I think people are always growing and evolving, I can get a new skillset, become a mother, it doesn’t make me different from who I initially was and I think brands are kind of like people in that way. 

"At it’s core a brand needs to continue to deliver on its promise, but look at Apple. To me Apple is kind of the shining example of a hero brand, they always promised that they would deliver elevated design and products that helped the way that we live, and they continue to evolve on that. So I think you want to remain at your core who are you, but continue to grow."


"Simon Sinek wrote a book called ‘Start With Why’. And he says, and this is very true, it doesn’t matter what we create, it's why we create it. So at WeWork the why is that we want to change the way that people live and work in the world, the what is that we create office space that people want to share. So figure out the why and that will tell you what your brand is."


"If a startup has no money, they should sit in a room with a couple of friends, or anyone they know with a little expertise, and really talk about why they’re starting the company, who they want to be in the world, what type of change they want to create and then figure out how to create a brand around that."


"Yes it was. It's funny I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately because I left SoulCylce about two years ago and I think that when founders exit a company and make some money, everyone’s reaction is 'congratulations', but companies are like children, they’re creations that come from your heart and your soul, and it’s always hard to part with that, but there’s a mourning period, and then you figure out what’s next. And for me I’m really enjoying being a part of WeWork."