Former College Roommates Become Co-Founders of a New Digital Marketing Agency
NEW ORLEANS – An enduring friendship that began at Tulane University nearly fifteen years ago has led to a flourishing business collaboration. Matthew Berman is teaming up with his former college roommate, Warren H. Cohn, to create a full-service, digital marketing agency called Emerald Digital.
Berman is the CEO of Ember Networks, a local marketing digital agency. Cohn, who lives in New Jersey, is the founder of the New York City-based HeraldPR public relations firm.
“Matt and I have been best friends since college,” Cohn said. “We have been working together seamlessly for years; it only made sense to create Emerald Digital as a bridge between our two companies in order to offer public and media relations and digital marketing services to our clients.”
Cohn is the CEO of Emerald Digital; Berman is president.
“Warren and I push each other to do better,” said Berman in an email. “We’re both hungry and hardworking. For us, it was natural to bring together these two parts of our life. We get to do great work, and I get to spend more time teasing Warren about his corny jokes (jokes which, for the record, I enjoy).”
Although Emerald Digital will host offices in both New York City and New Orleans, the organization will work with clients around the world, aiming to integrate brands, consumers and distribution channels through a data-driven, creative and analytical approach.
The New Orleans office is currently situated in the Broadmoor neighborhood, but the founders of Emerald Digital are eyeing new workspace properties in Mid-City and the Riverbend.
“I don’t think you’ll see us renting anything in the CBD,” said Berman. “I really like the idea of unique office space in such a unique city. We’re a group of creatives at heart.”
Berman and Cohn met on the uptown campus of Tulane University in January of 2006, months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. The two spent time together gutting houses; raising funds for charity; working on political campaigns; and serving as brand ambassadors for a local marketing agency.
“Warren’s family is my family; and my family is his family,” said Berman.
The entrepreneurs have collaborated in an unofficial capacity on dozens of projects within the past 18 months. They formed their first formal collaboration with Emerald Digital, which successfully launched this past December.
“We’ve hit the ground running,” said Berman. “It’s been a really busy month and a half. We’re working on some cool projects that are letting us flex a lot of creative and technical skills.”
Emerald Digital is already managing digital campaigns for recognized brands in a variety of industries – from retail and private aviation, to fitness and tourism.
“We’d love to bring in more New Orleans clients under the Emerald partnership. I live here, my friends are here, and I love working with local businesses,” said Berman. “I’m happy that I work with a lot of my New Orleans clients for years at a time, (because) we become very close. It’s been the bread and butter of Ember for many years, so there’s no doubt that trend will continue with Emerald.”
By Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, Biz New Orleans associate news editor