Thursday, May 19, 2016

Interzoo Summit 2016


Next week I will be speaking at the bi-annual Interzoo Summit in Nuremberg, Germany. 

The Interzoo Summit addresses the key trends in consumer and communication behaviors that will influence the pet industry, including digitalization and show-rooming. For those of you attending InterzooI hope you will be able to attend this conference.

The summit is geared to top managers and executive board members of pet product companies. Investor groups or those new to the pet industry may also find the conference to be valuable. Pre-register for the summit here from this link.


Pets International's March issue featured a preview of the summit:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Webinar: Launching a Brand: Part II in a series on Creating and Launching a Brand

I was delighted to be invited back by APPA (American Pet Products Association) to develop and present another webinar in their educational series around branding. I'm pleased to be presenting this free webinar "Launching a Brand: Part II in a series on Creating and Launching a Brand " exclusively for #APPA members on April 26, 2016 at 2pm (ET).
So you want to launch a brand? I often tell our clients “You can only launch a new brand for the first time once.” This session will challenge how to think about your brand in context of your organization and the marketplace. Gain insights on how to effectively communicate your brand launch to retailers and distributors. This session is ideal for both new and existing brands. In this free webcast for APPA pet industry professionals you will learn:
  1. Brand Case Study Examples
  2. Insights of Launch Process
  3. Hurdles to Launch
  4. How to Create a Successful Brand
  5. 10 Mission Critical Steps to Launch a Brand
  6. Top 7 Reasons Why Brands Fail
I hope you will join me for this webinar on Tuesday April 26th, it is free to APPA members.
 Zarhill Partners Group is a consulting firm originally founded to assist emerging brands, businesses and start-ups for success in their early years. Our mission is to share and cultivate best-in-class business practices, knowledge and expertise with emerging organizations to ensure their success. We assist brands, companies and organizations with a range of services such as strategic business planning, brand management, retail sales development, e-commerce & digital marketing, international business platforms, and product development innovation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Litter Box Bob Crashes Wedding

If you enjoy fun TV commercials as much as I do, you're in for a chuckle with this brand new ad for Cats Incredible cat litter from my company Lucy Pet Products. If you didn't already know, ALL Profits from Lucy Pet Products (including Cats Incredible cat litter) go to help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation, a registered animal charity. We're having a bit of fun with these commercials to spread the word about a new cat litter that actually stops ammonia from forming in the litter box. It will be revolutionary for the health of cats, and the humans who share their home with a kitty cat. For now check out this TV commercial, and please share it with your friends too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Winning Combination

Joey, Doc and me at the Dow offices
The following article is in the March issue of Pet Product News, a trade industry magazine for the pet products industry.

A Winning Combination: Sparked by Lucy Pet
Products’ Joey Herrick, a pet industry innovator extraordinaire, four corporations collaborate to revolutionize the cat litter category.

When you’re Joey Herrick and someone high up the pet industry chain asks, “Could you do something innovative in the cat litter department?” the question isn’t so much a challenge as a foregone conclusion that the deed will be done, according to those who know Herrick. 
This is a man who, after retiring from a 30-year tenure as president of Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc., took a handful of months off before investing $1 million of his own money in Lucy Pet Foundation, the charity arm of Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Lucy Pet Products, whose proceeds fund mobile clinics to spay/neuter and vaccinate animals at low or no cost to owners. Who, with one phone call, raised more than $1 million to get a national military dogs monument erected. Who builds impossible yet ultimately impressive Rose Parade floats and mobile wave machines for surfing animals that garner nationwide attention.
Herrick and Lucy Pet Products now are poised to revolutionize the cat litter market with Cats Incredible, thanks to a little help from some very powerful friends.
The story began as many business propositions do: During a casual meal or meeting, an idea was shared with someone who knew somebody who just happened to be in a perfect position to help that very idea come to fruition.
Jim Heim, president of business development for Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet Co., a leading producer of pet supplies and one of the nation’s largest pet product distributors, was more than a little interested in what Herrick had to share during lunch one day. 
“I’ve known Joey for 12 years,” said Heim. “He’s probably one of the most innovative guys I know, and I know a lot of innovative people.”
Herrick showed his friend the Cats Incredible packaging, for which he’s filed a worldwide patent. The bright, recyclable bag features a side removable cap and ergonomic side and top handles for ease of carrying and use, and Ricky, a cat rescued from “death row” by Herrick, graces each bag. His tail curls around to create one of the handles. In true Joey Herrick fashion, the focus always is on the animals.
“It’s just a beautiful, extremely functional bag,” Herrick said. “There isn’t another like it out there.”
Heim said, “I have some people you need to meet. You need them and they need you.”
“You couldn’t have scripted this. It’s like someone or something was guiding this. We think it’s a very big thing—a game-changer.”
The meeting was with Lisa Alley-Zarkades, vice president of commercial development, animal wellness for La Mirada, Calif.-based Horn Co., distributor of specialty ingredients and raw materials for use in a variety of industries. Horn co-packs, or toll processes, cat litter as part of its animal wellness division.
“Cat litter always has been a tough category to innovate,” said Alley-Zarkades. “But Jim said he had the perfect packaging partner for us, and we already were partnering with a company that developed a truly unique raw material that will change how litter works.”
Horn’s ace up its sleeve—its partner, The Dow Chemical Company, has patent-pending nontoxic technology that prevents ammonia from developing in the litterbox. It doesn’t simply mask or neutralize the toxic gas; it stops it from forming, according to Andre Argenton, global research and development director for Performance Materials and Chemicals at Dow.
“At Dow, we’re problem solvers,” Argenton said. “Odor control is the No. 1 problem in the cat litter market. We believe we have broken through this problem with a disruptive technology solution for the litter industry that can improve the health of cats and their owners. Cats are important members of many families; our breakthrough technology gives cat owners peace of mind knowing their cat’s litterbox is providing a safe, ammonia-free environment.”
The litter itself is available in two forms, unscented and lightly scented with lavender, and all the cats at Lucy Pet chosen to run the product through its paces accepted it 100 percent, said Herrick.
Before their big meeting at Dow, the presenters were giddy. The trio included Herrick, Karen Halligan, DVM, chief veterinary officer for the Lucy Pet Foundation, and Rick Rockhill, who was Herrick’s senior vice president at Natural Balance and is now executive vice president and partner at Lucy Pet Products.
“We stood out in front of the Dow sign to take a picture,” Herrick said. “I said to Doc Halligan and Rick, ‘You do realize we are going into a $58 billion a year company asking for an exclusive on its new state-of-the-art litter product.’
After the product launch at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., this month, Central Garden & Pet, which, along with General Pet Supply in Milwaukee, has exclusive distributing rights, will have Cats Incredible stocked in its warehouses and ready to go to retailers.
“The end result was phenomenal,” said Herrick. “Dow loved the marketing concept and the packaging, and we got the exclusive. It’s quite an honor for them to believe in what we stand for as a company. They like Lucy Pet Foundation and that Lucy Pet Products funds it. They were impressed that the city of Los Angeles just gave us a multiyear contract to do 10,000 spay and neuters.”
“Joey Herrick and his company, Lucy Pet Products, come from a place of care and compassion,” Argenton said. “Joey wants to solve the ammonia problem that is so dangerous for cats and their owners. And with proceeds going directly to the Lucy Pet Foundation, he intends to have a similarly important positive impact on even larger animal welfare issues. We are proud to be a partner to Joey and Lucy Pet.”
“I think that Joey’s whole mission to come back into the pet industry and give back, and wanting to do the nonprofit and the products to help fund it to really make a difference is exciting, because we’re all trying to figure out how to handle the pet overpopulation problem,” Alley-Zarkades said. “It’s a feel-good opportunity, which is why all of us are so interested.”
Heim acknowledged that while both he and Herrick have a passion to do what’s right for pets, the latter takes the concept to new heights.
“He’s a good guy who really has his heart in the right place,” said Heim. “He’s doing the right thing for animals and for people. It’s a winning combination. You’ve got somebody who will attract consumers because of what he does for the animals, somebody whose heart, soul and mind is in this.
“Innovation that is meaningful always sells,” Heim continued. “And this packaging is unbelievably innovative. It’s really hard to carry litter off the shelf and out of the pet store. With its handles, this is really easy to use.”
After the product launch at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., this month, Central Garden & Pet, which, along with General Pet Supply in Milwaukee, has exclusive distributing rights, will have Cats Incredible stocked in its warehouses and ready to go to retailers.
“I’m really happy that somebody who has meant so much to our industry and gives back so much is going to be extremely successful once again,” said Heim. “This thing is going to be a huge launch and a successful product.”
“You couldn’t have scripted this,” Herrick said. “It’s like someone or something was guiding this. We think it’s a very big thing—a game-changer.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Pet Product News.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Developing a Brand Identity

As co-founder and Managing Partner of Zarhill Partners I frequently lecture and give seminars on various aspects of brand strategy, product development and business planning. Our clients include multiple industries across the U.S. market, the EU and throughout Asia. However, personally my heart remains within the pet industry, which has been my primary focus for over twenty years. 

I was delighted to be invited by the APPA (American Pet Products Association) to present a series of educational webinars around branding. The first webinar, 'Developing a Brand Identity' was extremely well attended, with an impressive cross-section of companies, executives, managers and entrepreneurs. I'm told the presentation will be available online in the archives soon, so if you want to check out my content feel free to do so.

I would like to share a few points from my webinar pertaining to understanding more about your BRAND: 
  • Your brand defines what you stand for, the promises you make, and the personality you wish to project. 
  • Your brand strategy brings your competitive positioning to life, and positions you in the mind of consumers.
  • Think of your brand as a living personality that interacts with consumers.
  • Your logo, color scheme and slogan are only creative elements that convey your brand. 
As someone who speaks regularly about brand strategies and platforms, I derive get pleasure from helping new and emerging brands clarify their positioning to be ready for success. If I had to share one piece of advice to anyone building or relaunching a brand, it would be to look outside of your company, your immediate space, and even outside of your industry to seek inspiration and fresh ideas. You may just be surprised at what you learn.

Friday, December 4, 2015

St Louis Arch

I snapped this photo while walking by the Gateway Arch in St Louis, MO this week. I've been here many times but this moment, it struck me as so beautiful. Hope you enjoy the photo as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday: All Across Africa

Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving back to our communities and charities or causes we care about. One of my clients, All Across Africa is featured on the retail website One Kings Lane for today's #GivingTuesday event. These hand made items make great gifts and give back to help people in Africa. To learn more about All Across Africa, check out their mission:
All Across Africa creates market-driven employment opportunities to improve and empower the lives of rural and poor people across Africa. 

Women in Africa choose to work making baskets and other items by hand, in their local communities. All Across Africa sells these beautiful hand made items here in the USA. Every purchase helps provide income to women in Africa. It is a great organization and I'm proud to have them as a client. Check them out for your holiday gift list. Kudos to One Kings Lane for featuring such a purposeful brand that truly provides opportunities and empowers people to improve their lives. Check out their feature today on One Kings Lane.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Promotion that Benefits Animals in Need

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving....I am in Miami, Florida for the holiday weekend enjoying the beach life for something different this year. Yesterday I had a traditional Thanksgiving feast, and ate way too much turkey. However, I did leave room for apple pie and some See's Candy (no surprise there for my long time readers). Later we went to see the new Peanut's movie, because I've been a Snoopy fan since I was a kid. It totally lived up to my expectations!

Anyway, as part of my pledge to do more for animals this year, here's a great Black Friday Sale that gives back to help animals. Lucy Pet Products is having a Black Friday sale, you can save 20% off everything, site wide, plus get free shipping. There are some terms and conditions, but it is still a fantastic deal.

Lucy Pet Products are all Products with a Cause, because all profits go to support the Lucy Pet Foundation. If you are looking for a unique gift for the dog lover in your life, check out their Black Friday Sale. I'm more than happy to post this here today because animal advocacy is near and dear to my heart, and of course it is not a paid post. Hope you enjoy your weekend, whatever you are doing. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holiday Pet Gifts With A Cause

Dog Shampoo Gift Baskets from Lucy Pet Products
Now here's a neat gift idea for the dog lover in your life...giftbaskets with dog shampoo and conditioning spray, all wrapped up in a nifty bow. I love stuff like this because it is easy and doesn't take a lot of time to shop. The folks at Lucy Pet Products have assembled these baskets locally in Thousand Oaks, California just in time for the holidays. The baskets have their signature shampoo and conditioners which are made in a solar powered plant in California and are packaged in colorful recyclable metal bottles. 

The best part of these baskets is that they are all "Products With a Cause" so you can make a difference for animals in need. Lucy Pet Products are luxurious shampoos and leave-in conditioners, and all the proceeds support the Lucy Pet Foundation mission of providing free or low-cost spay/neuter, adoption, rescue and vet services in disadvantaged areas. I like how they make it easy to "pay it forward" with your purchase to help pets in need. Check out the full selection of Holiday Gift baskets for Dogs here.

Lucy Pet Products Sampler Pack has 12 trial size bottles
Personally, I like the Blue Lightning Blueberry formula, and The Big Apple Oatmeal one too. They both smell SO good. They also have a sampler pack with all six varieties, which is a perfect way to try all of the different ones to decide which full size ones to go back and buy later.


In full disclosure Lucy Pet Products is one of my clients, but this is not a paid post. I'm happy to share this information because I like the mission of the Lucy Pet Foundation and animal advocacy is one of my personal passions. Thanks for reading and letting me give a personal plug for a cause I really believe in.


Friday, November 13, 2015

'The Road to Happiness* Is Always Under Construction' by Linda Gray

Linda Gray's new book "The Road to Happiness"
A few weeks ago I received my copy of a new book by the lovely and iconic Actress/Producer Linda Gray.  "The Road to Happiness*  Is Always Under Construction" is appropriately titled, as Ms Gray shares anecdotes, stories and advice from her life and storied career. I was delighted to have my own autographed copy, although I can speak first hand as to what a lovely and genuine individual Linda is, truly a gem of a person. Linda is talented, down-to-earth and naturally beautiful as well. 

Linda is very transparent with her story and journey of life; its ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows. The book is packed with advice and lessons to appreciate life.  One of the things I've always appreciated about Linda is that she has always been very genuine and warm, which shines through the pages as you read her book. For sure, Linda Gray is well known for her iconic role as Sue Ellen Ewing on TV's "Dallas", and numerous other TV, film and stage appearances, and appearances on London's West End stage. Linda is also an accomplished Director, former United Nations Ambassador, and is actively involved in many charitable fundraising programs. 


with the lovely Linda Gray 
I've had the pleasure of knowing Linda with some fundraising events with the SAG Foundation for Children, the Steve Chase Awards events, and through one of her films 'Expecting Mary' (which was also released under the title "A Very Mary Christmas"). Linda also was guest on my radio show a few years back. She is a lovely person and so talented too. If you are looking for a great holiday gift, check out Linda's new book, it is available everywhere right now.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Keeping Busy and Loving Life

Earlier this year my professional life expanded deeper in Asia with the appointment of Chairman of RJT Holdings Limited. RJT Holdings Limited-- based in Hong Kong, was founded by a team of seasoned pet industry business executives with more than 50 years management experience in retail operations, merchandising, sales, distribution, business development, brand management and innovation. 

We provide global experience in sales of pet products: food, treats, dog apparel, grooming products, toys, scratchers and much more. The firm has deep knowledge of the U.S. pet product industry enables us to seek out the very best manufacturers and brand of consumables, apparel, and hard goods supplies categories.

Today through our strong partnerships, RJT Holdings Limited enjoys an excellent reputation for always operating with full integrity and honesty, with fair, open and transparent business practices. We worked hard to develop this reputation, through many deep long standing relationships across Asia for the past decade. It is an honor and pleasure to serve as Chairman, leading our Asian operations. I truly love what I do and enjoy my work life immensely.

I made myself at home in Hong Kong.
Just yesterday I was reflecting on 2015...in reviewing my calendar I discovered that so far this year I have spent 82 nights in Hong Kong, which does not include time spent in Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan or Thailand. Yes, 2015 has been a wonderful year, blessed with incredible experiences and success in business. From co-founding my consulting company Zarhill Partners Group two years ago and founding RJT Holdings Limited this year, I had seen my professional life develop beyond my imagination. I enjoy splitting my time between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, with a bit of London and Palm Springs mixed in for good measure.  It is truly remarkable what a difference a year makes. Without question life is significantly better when you are master of your own destiny. My advice to anyone reading this is to pursue and follow your dreams. Plan, plot and work hard. Be diligent and focused. Never give up. Always think positively. It has worked for me and it can work for you as well.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Influencing for Cause Can Build Your Own Brand Equity

This past week I attended BarkWorld Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.  I've been attending BarkWorld for several years and always enjoy meeting fellow social media pet professionals. I was at BarkWorld with one of my clients, Lucy Pet Products, and their spokes-dog, Surfin Jack. Surfin' Jack was a huge hit and made lots of new friends and fans- two legged and four legged-furry friends especially!

Influencing for Cause Can Build Your Own Brand Equity
On Saturday I participated in one of the educational sessions as a speaker, co-presenting on the topic of 'Using Your Influence for a Cause'. The session focused on how bloggers can promote causes they are passionate about by leveraging their followers and readers. Here are a few highlights and advice I gave to the attendees of our session:

  • Choose causes that are near & dear to you.
  • Learn about the cause…volunteer, get involved.
  • Use your social presence to help share the message across all platforms, and be consistent with the message.
  • Be authentic & genuine. (Authentic conversations have more of an impact on Millennials in particular.)
  • Focus on true stories, and leverage other people's content or media, with permission.
  • Consider forming strategic partnerships to help magnify your voice.
  • Existing followers will be more loyal from your passion.
  • New followers will find you more easily.
My closing advice to the attendees was that if you are working for or passionate about helping a cause be sure to get out there at least once and volunteer, help or work with the organization so you can speak first-hand, from the heart. This will help your authenticity and more importantly will enrich your life along the way.

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients or business colleagues.