Design and digital expert Michael Gaizutis founded RNO1 more than a decade ago. He created the agency as an alternative to the typical marketing consultancy groups found throughout the world. Using a distinct west coast philosophy, Gaizutis and his team have been grinding away as successful brand makers. Partnering with a number of major companies including Airbnb, LOLIIWARE and more, RNO1 has been on the forefront of brand strategy.
Gaizutis isn’t just a major player in the world of brands and digital design. He is also an accomplished writer. As an expert in his field, Gaizutis contributes to Forbes and shares his first-hand knowledge of business to readers worldwide.
Gaizutis recently sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to talk about his company, RNO1, aligning with clients and the company’s west coast philosophy.
Michael, can you please tell us about RNO1 and the services you provide?
RNO1 is a brand experience and digital design agency deep-rooted on the west coast, with a global edge. With a focus on brand strategy and identity design, UX/UI, App Builds and e-commerce launches as well as search marketing strategies (SEO/SEM/Social). You’ll usually find us aligning with game-changing startups, lifestyle companies along with larger enterprise brands, worldwide.
Please tell us how brands and businesses can benefit from RNO1?
We love what we do, and you love what you do. When we come together we combine our passion, redirected into a winning partnership. Our clients are our partners. We’re a true extension to their team. The net effect is a highly collaborative process, achieving breakthrough results across all customer and user touchpoints. Over the years, several of our client partners have leaned on our team to help them with ongoing design and digital strategies that have resulted in brand growth, more sales and company acquisition.
Please let us know what sets RNO1 apart from competitors?
We’re deep-rooted on the west coast, with a global edge. The west coast is filled with innovation, disruption and passion; which extends to the work produced and people involved. There’s an unexplainable ebb and flow here. It’s a vibe, a presence, that gets applied to each and every project we touch, and client we partner with. Something that you’re likely only to find on the west coast. We like to think of ourselves as West Coast brand makers.
How did the company begin and what have some of the highlights been?
We began as a brand consultancy in San Francisco, originally named Rule No.1. Over the years, we evolved into a full-service brand and digital agency, and shortened our name to best represent who we were: RNO1. Our team evolved to encompass client reach in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Within a short period of four years, while aligning with our agency team, four of our agency clients were acquired by Airbnb, Ericsson, Cox Media Group and a well-known real estate brand. One of our clients aired recently on the hit US TV show Shark Tank and took funding from billionaire investor, Mark Cuban – and we supported their launch for the airing on the show as a lifestyle brand.
Michael, what is next for RNO1?
RNO1 is in growth mode. We’re tapping into new territory, each and every day. While we’re always design first and focused, our digital experience team is rapidly expanding. We’re now getting into very large e-commerce and application builds, and exploring how AI, VR and blockchain will make a huge impact in the design and digital space. Being positioned as a west coast agency, we’re fortunate to be heavily immersed in the space.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
The daily grind. We’re continuously immersed in a million daily tasks, so staying laser focused is always a challenge. Fortunately, we’ve built an amazing team who helps us stay grounded, and allows us to sustain and scale all at the same time.
Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?
Absolutely. Some of the greats including Richard Branson and Elon Musk have always acted as a point of inspiration due to their game-changing focus and commitment to shift and shape old-school industries through innovation.
What is a day in your life like?
Busy, and never dull. We’re professional jugglers, always solving problems through design. Working alongside some of the most exciting and engaging brands in the marketplace, we’re continuously coming up with new ideas and strategies that yield meaningful and memorable outcomes. A typical day always begins with a good cup of coffee – west coast made of course – followed by a series of meetings, emails, Slack exchanges, Sketch designs, calls, calls, and more calls – and ultimately producing breakthrough design and digital work.
What makes you smile?
Doing great work, and seeing it make and drive impact. Outside of that, my family.
What scares you?
In business, not much. We see what we want to see, and we always lead with confidence and conviction. Doing so has resulted in us achieving great success.
What is your greatest achievement?
I was fortunate to become a contributor on Forbes.com as an industry expert in the design and digital space. Doing so has boosted my own personal credibility and fueled the growth of our agency over time.
What is your secret talent?
I read people quite well. Most of my day-to-day conversations are virtual, as our client partners are all over the world. I have an amazing ability to read people in person or virtually, just as well. One of my favorite gifts and skills.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
The brilliant Marcus Aurelius.
Michael, do you have any hobbies?
I like to drink wine, watch movies, indulge in life. I also love to “beach-it” whenever I can, spending time with friends and family.
What are you never without?
Electronic devices – never without at least two to three.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“You can’t fail if you never give up.”
“If you’re not creating waves, then you’re not pushing enough.”
What have you sacrificed for success?
Quite a lot of time with family, lifestyle, and more. It all comes with the territory.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
Disease. Anything the affects your health makes life so much harder. Second to that, hate. It’s just not worth it. Life it way too short.
What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?
If you’re ready, fueled by passion, and committed, don’t wait. Get out there and make it happen. You’ll have challenges and pain-points, but it’s worth the fight. Stay focused, stay driven, stay hungry. You’ll win.
For more information on Michael Gaiutis and RNO1, please visit www.RNO1.com.