Interviews

Interview With award-winning entrepreneur, founding principle and CEO of 180 South Group Kyle Kane

Kyle Kane is an award-winning entrepreneur, founding principle and CEO of 180 South Group, overseeing the multimodal marketing and production efforts, as well as client relations amongst many of the world’s premier artists and brands. As a thought leader in digital marketing and experiential brand integration, Kyle has budgeted, coordinated, and executed strategic branding and positioning campaigns for clients such as Universal Music Group, Capitol Records, MetLife Stadium, Samsung, Piaget, LVMH, and Brown-Forman.

Kyle’s role as Chief Strategy Officer included the development of strategic partnerships, the analysis and deliverance of market research to key decision makers, and assisting projects totaling over 30 million units, grossing roughly $400 million US dollars. Kyle’s focus on market traction and the development of new media created opportunities to build multi-million dollar production facilities in Fairfield and Princeton, NJ. His exceptional aptitude for assimilation across various demographics has opened up windows of opportunity for the growth and development of the studios, earning three Emmy’s and working with dozens of advertising agencies and production companies to produce original content. It was this experience that led to the creation of 180 South.
Beginning as a platform to provide solutions for artist and brand partnerships, and after multimillion dollar deals with Katy Perry, Samsung, and MetLife Stadium, 180 South has grown into one of the world’s premier brand management firms. Recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc magazine, and #24 in global marketing and advertising, 180 South has received numerous awards, including SmartCEO’s “Corporate Culture” Award alongside Russel Simmons and Arianna Huffington.

Kyle is a highly motivated, personable, cooperative team player, experienced across all facets of business development. With over fifteen years experience in brand management, Kyle’s expertise and entrepreneurial spirit has led to keynotes and speaking engagements at major events worldwide.

Kyle is also a NASM-certified personal trainer, a contributing member to the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, a board
Member of six non-profit organizations, and is involved with regional development initiatives throughout the northeast corridor of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, and international territories through Northern Europe and Eastern Asia.

First of all tell us about the start of your professional career?

Sure! How far back shall I take it? My roots are in music, and I’ve built some amazing relationships while helping to develop the taste and tone of artists on the UMG roster. When it was time for me to do my own thing, I cashed in some of those relationships and formed a small team to construct a platform for artist & brand partnerships. Fast forward through a few years in health & wellness, and an exciting decade of original content production, you’ll find my last 18 months have been laser focused on creating opportunities for consumers to experience innovation through live events. Our latest venture has a real chance at changing the face of American pop culture.

What attracted you to begin a career as an entrepreneur, founding principle ?

I learned very on that in order for me to truly find happiness, I had to move according to my own inner rhythm. I also noticed that when I moved like this, things in my life began to fall into place. Life is too short to do things I’m not proud of, because the work we do results in the legacy we leave.

How do you like to be managed, and What sort of management style gets the best out of you professionally?

I respond more to a Laissez faire management style; I know what to do, and I know how to do it. I’m also a very sensitive person, so while having passion is key, I work best with people whom base decisions on login and reasoning; people that don’t bring too much emotion into the workplace.

What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

To compete in today’s modern business climate, you have to stay lean and mean; what this often results in is an effort to automate as much as possible. However, one misstep I see many early-stage entrepreneurs take is the tendency to want to outsource everything. This type of agency mentality can be detrimental to your business, your value proposition, and ultimately, your sense of life satisfaction. See, there are thousands of companies that look bright and shiny, with plenty of money and plenty of gas in the tank, but nothing under the hood. You have to bring something unique to the table that YOU can contribute. Be the battery; or better yet, be the engine! No matter how many agencies you hire, and how many smart and experienced people you surround yourself with, there are some lessons you will need to learn on your own. And I’d preface that with what I consider to be the most important piece of advice: only do work that actually you care about. It’s easy to be numb to what you’re doing in the name of the paper chase, doing work just because it pays well. You need to look favorably upon the work you dedicate yourself. As you grow older, the work you’ve done becomes the legacy you leave. And when your work is aligned with your passion, you can be content with the time you’ve chosen to allocate to work during this short life of ours. Oh, and one last thing: Be Fearless! The reality is that we are just a tiny ball of energy, driving a meat-covered skeleton while floating on a rock through space. What is there to be scared of?

What’s your motto or the advice you live by?

  1. Do what you love. Life is too short not to do what you love. All the time.
  2. Listen to your body. It knows what’s good for you, and most importantly, what’s not good for you. LISTEN.
  3. Drink half your body weight in ounces of quality water each and every day.
  4. Get REAL rest. Important problems are solved while you sleep. Even if you don’t know it’s happening, it is.
  5. Don’t overthink it. Rely on your gut; it’s truly your second brain.

Since beginning your career tell me about a situation that has made you proud. Why was this, and what was the outcome?

My team would say that the first Emmy award was the most special, but to me, I was so proud when we ranked #13 Fastest Growing Company on the Inc 500 list, and #24 in Global Marketing and Advertising; not because it’s a huge accomplishment in itself, but because that moment signified the first time we were recognized for our thought leadership, and the last time we ever had to “market” ourselves. A close second is winning the Corporate Culture award alongside Russel Simmons and Ariana Huffington. Sharing the stage with those two giants was very humbling and inspiring so early on in my career.

Who is your role model and why?

This is actually the most difficult question you’ve asked me today. I’ve been so blessed to have met and worked with many of my favorite artists, athletes, and personalities, but there are a few interesting entrepreneurs whom have yet to cross my path. For my ideal private breakfast, it’s a toss up between Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. Both are bold visionaries whom I admire. Sir Richard has done such an incredible job with global brand extension, consistently adapting and disrupting verticals from record stores to spaceships and beyond. I’m leaning a bit more towards Jeff though, as I’d love some insights into his plans, not just for Amazon or Blue Origin, but for all of humanity. I’d like to hear about the times when things were not as good, and what he did to overcome the negativity as Amazon pushed to become profitable. Lastly, I’d suggest a unique collaborative effort that would leverage my keen ability to drive conversions using innovative strategies in consumer psychology for effective emotional resonance. If anyone can appreciate my crafty go-to-market strategies, it’s Jeff.

How can we follow you on social media ?

My personal Instagram is probably the easiest social platform to reach me: @kcinokane

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