The Home Trust International (HTI): Why marketing?
Paul Friederichsen (PF): It was a way I could be creative and make a living without becoming a starving artist on the street corner.
HTI: Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career and why?
PF: Fear of failure and desire to win. You only have so much time and no one knows their expiration date, so why not go for it!
HTI: If you could have told your 20 year old self one thing, what would it have been?
PF: Stop smoking. I didn’t quit until much later.
HTI: Please tell us about your family and your personal life.
PF: I’m married to a saint – she’d have to be to put up with me all these years (we got married at 18). Raised five kids, all through college and three through grad school. Now we’re poor.
HTI: What is the best advice you have received and who was it from?
PF: Keep going until somebody says stop. From my wife. She’s not a quitter.
HTI: Is there a common thread that runs through all great products?
PF: The work I do is strategically on point. Creativity is often a subjective opinion.
HTI: Do you prefer the country or the city?
PF: I’m a suburban kind of guy.
HTI: What recent project or transaction are you most proud of?
PF: You know, I’m really proud of the work I do for a trade show, Domotex USA. It doesn’t rely on my usual skillset, but I like the fact that I have a hand in bringing some very smart and talented people together to make other people smarter.
HTI: In what ways has your company or your industry changed over the years?
PF: It’s gotten more competitive and complex.
HTI: The one thing I’ve had forever is:
PF: My scalp. My hair left a long time ago.
HTI: What do you miss the most?
PF: My hair.
HTI: What is your favorite object that reflects extraordinary design and why?
PF: I have a piece of channel iron that I accidentally bent into the most fluid shape when I worked in college on a scrap yard. I retrieved it and have hung onto it. I love it because it’s extraordinarily simple, elegant, and even looks like a human form. It reminds me of the summer I labored in oppressive heat and that sometimes something beautiful can emerge by accident.
HTI: What makes a room or object sing?
PF: Simple elegance … like my accidental scrap iron shown above.
HTI: What place most inspires you?
PF: Colorado. I love it there.
HTI: Please tell us about your taste in books or the arts?
PF: I’m a history buff, so dig into non-fiction. My taste in music runs the gamut. Love Bob Dylan.
HTI: Do you have a favorite museum?
PF: The High. It’s where I live and a pretty respectable place.
HTI: What is your favorite brand?
PF: Apple. I’m working on one now. Apple has everything a truly great brand needs. It’s the gold-standard in my opinion.
HTI: When you’re not working where are you most likely to be found?
PF: On the road or on a trail. Love walking and jogging. Or working with the Atlanta Track Club.
HTI: What makes a great organization?
PF: The quality of the people in it.
HTI: Why The Home Trust?
PF: See the previous question.
HTI: If you could be granted one wish, what would it be?
PF: To be remembered as someone who made a difference.
HTI: If you weren’t a highly marketing guru, what would you be doing?
PF: I’d be working on my grad degree. I love learning.
HTI: Who is on your personal ‘Board of Directors?’
PF: My wife. And a couple of my kids.
HTI: Paul, thank you for your time today. We’re grateful for all your insights and guidance.
Paul has helped shaped the fortunes of emerging, national and global brands including The Home Depot, where he played a critical role in brand development for more than a decade. Working closely with the client he developed proprietary brands through every phase from brand strategy, naming and brand identity standards to packaging and merchandising. His work was instrumental in the launch of the Traffic Master brand, recognized as one of the most successful launches in company history. Other brands include RCA/GE, Jenn Aire, White-Westinghouse, ITT Tech, Dixie Crystals Sugar, Royal Oak Charcoal, and others.