Curtis Jackson, professionally known, as 50 Cent is no stranger to success. He not only happened to kick off his career via collaboration with the chart-topping rap artist Eminem and legendary music producer Dr. Dre, but 50 has also gone on to become one of the industry's best-selling recording artists.
During his career he has expanded, making deals in a variety of industries from footwear to beverages. But he's now entering a new level of success via visual media. In fact, he's building an empire in the space, and it's buoyed by cult of personality mixed with an uncanny ability to anticipate of the interests of his target audience, that is, the very influential 80 million-plus Millennial demographic.
His approach as an entrepreneur is a definite game-changer that provides a great lesson for any entrepreneur making deals today.
Indeed, this man has a track record. He seems to know what will be hot and put all his business energies in that area, and it pays off. One of his largest deals was the cash-out from Glaceau after Coca-Cola just happened to purchase the company for $4.1 billion. Jackson, who was a minority shareholder in the company, earned $100 million from the deal after taxes, according to Forbes, on water.
DJ Kast One, on-air personality at New York's leading hip hop radio Hot 97's knows Jackson and has had him on his show many times. "Basically, 50 is successful because has the ability to know what people want, even a type of water. He can see what direction things are going, in terms of trends and interests, and can move toward it. This was evident in his clothing line."
But Kast One says that what really gives 50 Cent his strength is that he is able to maintain the same level of integrity, or "realness" despite all his success. It's this prowess that gives him his edge.
Indeed, successful Hollywood film producer and production partner to 50, Randall Emmett (Rambo, Heist, Amityville Horror), agrees and says, "From Vitaminwater to Effen vodka to film, 50 is a visionary."
The two men came together because several years ago 50 realized that Hollywood was not writing any roles for him, so he simply decided to make his own vehicles. Now Emmett and Curtis produce a number of shows and films separately and together, one of which is the hugely popular crime-drama Power which airs on Starz.
"But I also think 50 is successful because he wants everyone to come up whose is around him. It's not just about his own personal brand as a celebrity," Emmett continues. "When networks work with him, they get a full partner. That's the only way he knows how to work."
Emmett has major stories about 50 going out of his way to even lend his own image and availability for photo shoots and more for marketing and promotion for Emmett's work when it was not even connected to 50.
But the real 50 secret sauce is that he is fearless. "Let's face it. 50 has no problem lighting people up," laughs Emmett.
Indeed when things got a bit rocky with renewal negotiations recently for Power, 50 decided to do something that not many television power players would ever do. He took his fans inside the negotiations via his Instagram feed by telling them what was going on and suggesting that they actually cancel their subscription to the cable network. He then got his deals, gave fans the high-sign to re-connect to Starz, and then gloated about it with fellow celeb Denzel Washington.
By taking this innovative, decentralized approach, negotiations resumed and now 50 has even more shows in development at that network and others.
"It's unprecedented," explains Emmett, "but it's very powerful. It gets scary for some people, but it works because he is authentic and has no problem taking a stand."
It's this direct to consumer leverage that appeals to today's era, particular Millennials as I mention in my book. Call it hyper-transparency. No filter necessary. Social media is not just about showing what one is doing but involving people in the business, even the rougher times. From such action, brand loyalty is further reinforced.
It's about making a genuine connection, in whatever way that works best for you. By leveraging Jackson's approach in a manner that is organic, any entrepreneur can connect in a more meaningful way with both one's team and target audience.