1- Think like a boxer
In business, as in life, you will get punched many times. You will not know when, how many times or even by whom, but you can be certain the punches will come. “Those that can take the punches, and get back up, over the long haul, those are the people that usually thrive as entrepreneurs’.
2- Be an explorer
In order to be successful in business you have to know your sh*t, there is no substitute for that. But the most successful people have really diverse interests, they take time away from what they do to day to day to learn about other things in culture: they’re explorers, they’re incredibly curious and that’s what makes them more effective, more interesting and ultimately successful.
3- Give back
Take time to meet with people who are starting, or not as far along as yourself. Not only will you be contributing to other people’s success, helping them the way you’ve been helped before: you will also learn from these interactions and eventually even collaborate and do things together in ways you had never expected
In 1998, Cohen and his partner Stone launched music and lifestyle magazine, The FADER. Now am award-winning global media company responsible for providing artists Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Drake their first magazine covers, and honoring icons like The Notorious B.I.G, Serena Williams, Philip Glass, Outkast, Kacey Musgraves, Beck, and many others. The FADER has been hailed as a “music and fashion bible” by the New York Times, and championed by the likes of NPR, Fortune, The Atlantic, BBC, Newsweek, Fast Company, Billboard, and more.
Prior to Fader, Cohen served as Vice President of Columbia Records’ alternative music department and was head of Alternative Music at SBK/EMI. While there, he was savvy enough to sense a shift in musical tastes and championed such alternative artists including Blur, Alice in Chains and Jeff Buckley and was instrumental in shaping their commercial success.
In addition Cohen is a member of the board of directors for Sweetgreen, and for the Children’s Cancer Association, MyMusicRx, and serves as a senior advisor to Syracuse University’s Bandier Music industry Program.
This interview is part of Chaco’s 90 Seconds Of Wisdom series: our mad attempt at countering oceans of information with drops of wisdom.
OBJECTIVE boost awareness in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup
CHALLENGE Nike and Adidas had famous campaigns, enormous budgets and legendary athletes. Puma did not even have a positioning.
SOLUTION interviewing players we learned that consumers’ perception of Adidas and Nike’s was strikingly similar: the tough American/German coach driven by success with an almost militaristic approach discipline (just do it/impossible is nothing). Puma on the other hand was seen as more easy going, the coach that reminds you to have fun.
Semiotically, Nike and Adidas have both, for years, been using the language of Duty as the path to Glory (much as “the few, the proud, the Marines“). By talking to players we learned that all that hard work is just the cost of entry for any competitive endeavor: after that, what makes the difference is how much you enjoy yourself, how much you love what you do.
Like our competitors, we decided to tap into the Belonging instinct that rules team sports. But instead of insisting on the cost of entry (fulfilling a duty), we claimed Love, its chemical reward, awarding Puma the emotional high-ground.
RESULTS brilliantly executed by Syrup, the Love strategy became a viral sensation giving Puma more visibility than Adidas -the event’s official sponsor- in the weeks leading up to the World Cup.
Even after agencies changed, the brief kept paying off and lead Droga5 to Cannes Gold.
Imitation is certainly the highest form of flattery: today there are no fewer than 3 agencies and a dozen portfolios claiming credit for this work. If you encounter them, ask them about it. It’ll be fun.