BuzzFeed Executive Moves to BlackRock as CMO

By Rishi Shah,   
Money and Investing Writer

BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK), a global asset management company recently hired Frank Cooper as chief marketing officer. Cooper, who has been served as BuzzFeed’s CMO, has a long history of marketing and has been with Pepsi Co for 12 years prior to his 18 month role at BuzzFeed.

Why would such an old fashioned and unrelated company hire someone from the entertainment industry? The answer is simple according to the WSJ who reported “He will report to Chief Executive Laurence Fink, who sent the internal memo and highlighted Mr. Cooper’s experience using “new marketing technologies to help organizations—from global consumer companies to technology startups—to drive growth.” Mr. Cooper is set to lead a marketing team that focuses on research and analytics, digital marketing and branding”

Looking further at Cooper’s career as CMO, he started his career path after graduating the highly renowned University of California at Berkeley and later completing his doctorate from Harvard Law School.

He founded an internet company in the late 90’s, Urban Box Office Networks INC (UBO), which was very successful and soon moved to the Pepsi Company (NYSE: PEP).

An article by AdvertisingAge reports on his early start at Pepsi., “During his time at PepsiCo, Mr. Cooper was heavily involved in Pepsi’s music and entertainment deals.

He joined the company in 2003 after stints at AOL, Motown Records, Def Jam Recordings”. This role transformed into working directly with Pepsi’s core drink business and Cooper drastically changed the company and brought their advertisements and sponsorships to the modern age. He worked closely with digital branding and even had season long deals with Fox’s hit competition “X-Factor” and Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) “Apple Music”.

In a 2010 interview, Cooper said “approach entertainment as less of a sponsor and more of a creator”, this tactic had clear success and companies are now constantly straying away from standard consumer-firm relations and connecting with buyers in various ways. With BuzzFeed, Cooper led the effort to bring the company back to projected revenues after 2015 revenue fell short 20 percent.

With Cooper having great experiences in the internet, music, soda and digital entertainment industries, what exactly does he bring to the table for an asset management company? The answer is clear, his previous experiences had one commonality which was to bring company revenue up and use modern marketing techniques for the ultimate consumer experience.

According to the WSJ, “world’s largest money manager works to bolster its business from individual investors”, BlackRock has ownership of enormous quantities of money, in the trillions! Their revenue speaks otherwise as this money cannot be capitalized.

This trend in the industry is clear as more old fashioned firms make the move to modern day digital marketing and services. It is hard for many to keep up with inexperienced executives following their comfort zones and leading their companies to ultimate demise as they fail to conform to market and societal changes. BlackRock hopes to diversify their company and grow in other sectors.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.

Contact Rishi at
rishi.shah@student.shu.edu

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