CJ Johnson is the CEO and co-founder, with Ambar Januel, of LA-based Januel+Johnson (J+J).
He helps brands get “kick-ass with awareness.”
After successful ventures in consulting and marketing/publicity for several on-demand mobile apps and startups, he went on to pursue his entrepreneurial passion by creating J+J.
He has overseen creative campaigns and consultations for more than sixty successful businesses from countless industries. Among other accolades, he has been featured in publications as Fast Company, Forbes, and Vice.
What does J&J do for clients?
It is a one-stop shop digital marketing agency. We offer what we think provides the most benefit to our clients: influencer marketing, and branding/marketing consultations.
A lot of what we do is problem solving, and re-branding. I think a common mistake we see a lot is rushed decisions made out of impatience or fear.
What is different about your company from other similar companies?
We have personalized relationships with all of our clients. We are an extension of the team-brand we work with. We wanted to make sure we deliver the highest quality, and provide help for those reaching the next level. Ambar and I are hands-on with every aspect of the services we provide.
What was behind the decision to create J&J?
It’s a funny story. I was doing marketing/PR on my own, and Ambar was a project manager at a fashion startup. She was my muse, always inspiring me creatively.
She offered to help me with some projects, to take the load off. Then she left her startup and I asked her if we could officially partner up. She agreed. I jokingly called us “Januel & Johnson, the mega corporate duo.”
We laughed about it a lot, then next thing you know she made it official.
That’s what’s great about our synergy. We make things happen quickly.
What’s an example of a successful campaign, with its unique challenges?
We just had a Kickstarter Campaign for an overseas client. The goal was $20,000 and we ended up getting over $117,000 in 45 days. It was a unique challenge because of different time zones, language barriers, and explaining best working strategies to deliver the best results. They also had all of their creative materials at their disposal versus us creating them, like we usually do. So, the main focus for us was how we can help spread the word, and make sure we showed great results.
What advice can you give to entrepreneurs or companies, about their image, brand, or marketing?
We talk a lot about being authentic. Don’t force your voice on anyone. Start from the beginning. Why are you doing this? What are you doing this for? Who are you doing this for? From there define your voice, do market research, explore competitors and brands that you think are getting it right. Draft a written plan on how you can answer these questions, and a need for your audience.
How would you each describe your own contributions to J&J?
A past client used to call Ambar and me “the wonder twins”. We complement each other because we’re usually on the same page with how we view things. A lot goes unsaid between us.
So, Ambar oversees the creative direction and financial aspect of our company. She really makes sure J+J is a well-oiled machine.
I mostly deal with our clients, messaging, executing creative strategies, and making sure Ambar gets what she needs to keep us reaching our vision of what we want J+J to be.