David Cohen has a knack for distilling messages to their essence. Years ago, hired by a client to oppose a proposed 15% beer tax, David conceived an ad that showed a six-pack moving along the checkout belt at a grocery store. Suddenly, as the beer passed the register, a hand reached out and removed one can, even as the price rose. Explaining why, the narrator urged viewers to “Can the Beer Tax” – and they did.
“My approach to communications is simple: tell the truth,” said David, whose four-decade career has included stints as a disk jockey, news reporter, editor, host, anchor, national TV producer, public relations executive, speechwriter, internal communication consultant and change management leader. “The toolset may keep changing, but the need to convey information in a way that captures people’s attention does not.”
David joined the ROI Communication team in 2019. Previously, he served in a range of senior communication and change management roles – on staff or as a consultant – at Pacific Gas & Electric, Genentech, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Oracle, Hitachi Data Systems, Cadence Design Systems and Stapleton Communications. Earlier in his career, he spent nine years as a Senior Vice President at Fleishman-Hillard, and 17 years at ABC News, where he was a writer and producer for World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America and This Week with David Brinkley.
David traces his strong storytelling skills to his early work as a disk jockey at WXRY in South Carolina, and as a reporter and newscaster at WROV and WLVA, in Virginia. At the time, federal regulations required all radio stations to offer news as part of their programming, which gave David lots of practice at summarizing the essence of any story, from government hearings to moonshots to weather disasters. This background in deadline journalism taught him critical thinking skills that he still applies today, helping corporate clients develop strategy, communicate more effectively, and achieve their business goals.
“I take my work seriously. I don’t take myself seriously,” David said. “I have learned that all people bring something to the table. I love being thrust into a group where I know nobody, and can exchange ideas and absorb knowledge, because the work comes out better that way.”
David studied journalism and American history at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. When he’s not advising ROI’s clients, David spends his time baking, reading voraciously (a book per week), golfing, volunteering in his community and traveling with his wife. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.