Friday, December 25, 2015
Friday, December 4, 2015
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
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
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.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
|Dog Shampoo Gift Baskets from Lucy Pet Products|
|Lucy Pet Products Sampler Pack has 12 trial size bottles|
Friday, November 13, 2015
|Linda Gray's new book "The Road to Happiness"|
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|
Thursday, November 12, 2015
|I made myself at home in Hong Kong.|
Sunday, November 8, 2015
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.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
This year I will be presenting and moderating a panel discussion entitled: 'Using Your Influence for Cause'. The presentation is designed to help digital media professionals and bloggers better understand how to market cause related issues and influence others.
The panel members are from one of my clients at the Lucy Pet Foundation and Lucy Pet Products. The session will provide a unique glimpse into how and why the founder of a top pet food brand donates his time and millions of his own dollars starting a pet foundation to actively affect pet euthanization numbers at a local and global level.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
|Rick Rockhill, Managing Partner and Founder of Zarhill Partners Group|
I often say to clients that "You can only launch a new brand for the first time once." This is intentionally a bit of a mind game statement, but this play on words is intended to get marketers to pause and THINK before acting. The fact is that most new products and brands fail. It is exceptionally difficult to get a new product on the "radar" of consumers. In fact, the Harvard Business Review's study shows that "American families, on average repeatedly buy the same 150 items, which constitute as much as 85% of their households needs". From this fact, you can understand why it would be difficult to break into the shopping habits of American consumers.
In the early stages of launching a product or brand, there are some critical questions to answer, such as evaluating the current product category in which you wish to compete. What is the retail landscape like? Who are the competitors? Where is it sold? Is your product or brand better than what is currently available? Why would anyone want or need your product? Why would retailers want to carry your product?
Whether working with my clients or when speaking at conferences, I often speak at length about what I view as the most important steps to launch a new brand. The details behind these are what comes from experience and business knowledge. During my 27 year career history thus far, I have found the same common themes to hold true across multiple industries. These hold true in the U.S., UK, EU, Asia and beyond.
There are Ten Mission Critical Steps to Launch a Brand:
- Establish Core Value Proposition
- Know your Target Consumers/Channel Strategy
- Develop Brand Identity
- Establish Goals
- Build A Launch Strategy
- Find the Industry Experts & Influencers
- Develop a Compelling Marketing Message
- Forge Partnerships
- Make it easy to Interact with Others
- Monitor, Listen, Evaluate & Respond
If you are launching a product, brand or have an idea that you wish to bring to market, my advice is to always find someone who will give you honest feedback, and not worry about hurting your feelings. Get as close to the consumer as possible, to truly understand their wants, needs and behaviors. Write a business plan and have someone shoot holes in the plan. Then re-write it.
One final piece of advice--provided you are well funded and truly have done your research--including advice from people with experience...listen to your gut instinct, and execute your plan. Launching a successful brand can be a rewarding experience and incredible learning opportunity. Even if you don't make millions, you will be rich in experience.
Monday, October 19, 2015
The pet industry has long been near and dear to my heart, so it is with great pleasure that I will be seeing so many familiar faces this week in Chicago. In advance of my two sessions, I wanted to share two teaser quotes regarding brands:
"Your brand strategy brings your competitive positioning to life, and positions you in the mind of consumers."
"A brand must always be protected through a disciplined strategy."
If you are attending the Petfood 2.0 Event, my presentations are as follows:
- Tuesday 10/20 "Developing a Brand Identity & Strategy" (Main Stage)
- Wednesday 10/21 "Launching a New Brand" (Meet Up Sessions, by Advance Registration only).
Attendees can submit any brand questions to me prior to Tuesday's sessions via Twitter @RickRockhill
Monday, October 12, 2015
One of things that has been especially fun has been developing the Surfin' Jack brand. Surfin' Jack is a real dog who was rescued from death row at the Los Angeles East Valley Animal Shelter. Jack is a family pet now, and after some training, went on to star in a Super Bowl Sunday commercial for the Lucy Pet Foundation, and now has inspired a line of grooming products called Surfin' Jack.
This is a great example of a brand that cares and puts its ethics into action. With the proceeds going to help animals, its easy for pet parents to do something good for other animals in need. It is an honor and true pleasure to work with the Lucy Pet Products brand. If you need a good shampoo for your dog, look for this brand at Petco or ask for it in your local pet shop.
PS- I really like the conditioning sprays. I used them on both Sheldon and Duncan. They actually condition the coat and smell so good too. I've been using the conditioning spray a few times a week to freshen up their coat, and it helps make brushing them easier. For Sheldon I like to use the "Blue Lightning" blueberry one, because it brightens his black hair. For Duncan I like to use the Surfin' Jack Coconut moisturizing one...and I think the Surfin' Jack one suits Duncan's personality too.
Friday, October 9, 2015
The organizers posted this article below on their website, which I have decide to feature below. I hope to see some familiar faces and new ones too. If you want to attend, there is still time to register.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
|Surfin' Jack and me in Las Vegas!|
Surfin' Jack is a 2 year old Golden Retriever mix who was rescued from 'death row' at the Los Angeles East Valley Animal Shelter. She's a natural athlete and surfer who loves people and spreading smiles. This dog is a great example of how many truly amazing dogs (and cats) there are in shelters waiting for a good home. After being rescued, Surfin' Jack got some love and training, and went on to star in a Super Bowl TV commercial for the Lucy Pet Foundation. She has also been trained as a therapy dog to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and other folks. Surfin Jack is on a mission to help spread the word about Rescue, and also Spay & Neuter to help reduce the over-population of homeless animals. She also makes appearances from time to time with the Lucy Pet Foundation Mobile Spay & Neuter Van to educate people in local communities about this important cause.
Surfin Jack wants to help other animals in shelters find a good home, so she is an ambassador for the Lucy Pet Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) registered animal charity. In the meantime, Surfin' Jack has now inspired a line of dog shampoos by Lucy Pet Products and has her own line called Surfin' Jack Coconut Moisturizing Shampoo and a Conditioner too! The best part of this line of shampoos from Lucy Pet Products is that they are Products With A Cause, so the profits go directly to the Lucy Pet Foundation. Surfin' Jack is able to help animals in shelters by raising money for an animal charity that really makes a difference!
|With Surfin' Jack at Blog Paws in Nashville TN|
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
|Relaxing in Hong Kong Park|
For anyone who enjoys city life, Hong Kong is real gem. For me, it offers many things that I value and enjoy. In particular, Hong Kong is visually stimulating with a spectacular skyline, sweeping harbor. views, and an interesting blend of Far East and Western elements.
One of the things I especially enjoy here is the ability for a healthy work-life balance. Hong Kong Park is a great example of a place I go to relax and unwind. It is a stunning park, with beautiful foliage, garden structures winding paths and calming water features. I often walk through Hong Kong Park on my way to or from meetings. Yesterday I stopped to enjoy this waterfall and the koi pond, I almost forgot I was in the city. When I got back to my office I felt so refreshed and relaxed...and grateful to have the opportunity to be able to work here every so often. Hong Kong may not be my home, but it sure feels like it whenever I am back.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
|Dick Van Patten with his wife Patty& son Jimmy, in Palm Springs (photo: Palm Springs Life)|
|with Dick Van Patten in Palm Springs, 2009|
Dick had a great sense of humor...his jokes were always hugely funny and he had great comedic timing. Years ago, back when I worked for Petco, Dick was known for telling some truly hilarious, and now legendary jokes at the Petco Trade Show and Managers Meeting. Attendees of the annual event would literally wait with great anticipation for him to appear on stage to hear his big joke. Some years his jokes had an edgy double entendre, yet still respectable, leaving the audience rolling on the floor.
|Dick loved my dog Sheldon!|
|Dick's Star in Palm Springs|
Dickie and his family assembled for the star dedication, and other celebrities including Lily Tomlin, Tom Bosley, Ruta Lee, Debbie Gibson, Jerry Vale attended that day. Following the star dedication, we hosted a private luncheon afterward at Spencer's Restaurant. I shall never forget what a nice weekend that was, and how happy Dick was to receive this honor from the Palm Springs community.
And so, as is the case in this life, all good things must come to an end. He was one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, and a man I called friend. He encouraged me when I needed confidence, and he listened when I needed a sounding board to make personal and professional decisions. Above all, he always made me feel comfortable and relaxed.
I cannot sufficiently express the depth of my admiration, respect and love for Dickie Van Patten or what he meant to me. I cried when the word came that Dick had passed. I cried because he always made me feel like a son, and welcomed me into his life.
Thank you, Dick Van Patten for many fond memories and many great laughs.
Your pal, Rick.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
|With Lisa Erspamer at BlogPaws 2015|
Blog Paws did a great job attracting some great authors for a book signing event. One of the notable individuals was my friend Lisa Erspamer, author of three really great books: A Letter to My Dog, A Letter to My Cat and this year's newest release, A Letter to My Mom. All three of these books are filled with heart-warming stories contributed by leading luminaries of our pop culture, and beyond.
Along with her team, Erspamer has done an excellent job crafting these collections of incredible stories. Her latest book, A Letter to My Mom is already becoming as popular as her prior two publications. For anyone with a heart, these are all must-read books and make great gifts. They are highly enjoyable to read, perfect to pick-up and put-down for those short reading bursts. You'll find these ideal for a lazy Saturday afternoon or a relaxing Sunday morning with coffee. Do yourself a favor and pick up these books. You'll be so glad that you did.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Doors of another kind have opened for me, coaxing me to cross an imaginary threshold that has been like a boundary for me the past year or so. These early steps are tentative, cautious and guarded, but becoming more sure-footed. The photo I selected of this post is a metaphor for what life presents to us. When the doors of life open, it is important to recognize what is before us, and to step ahead to seize the opportunities.
When I took this photo (Martyr's Shrine, Taipei Taiwan) I was struck by the beauty and solemnity of the shrine. Later when I was looking back at photos, they took on a different meaning. These huge red doors were reminding me to accept what was beyond the doors of opportunity in life. When you are presented with doors of opportunity that open for you, look beyond the threshold and move forward. You'll be glad you did.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Easter was an important holiday season. We would always get dressed up and everything just felt special. Throughout my adult life I always maintained these traditions in my own circle. Regardless of whether I was with family or friends, home or abroad, Easter traditions were always maintained. My memories of Easter are in fact, imprinted deeply. I can still see my Great Grandma's rice pies, Aunt Anita's bowl of jelly beans in the living room. Aunt Antonetta's bowl of chocolate covered marshmallow eggs, Aunt Eleanor's apricot cookies, my mom's sweet bread, and grandma Julia's bowl of gum-drop bunnies. Fanny Farmer chocolate rabbits and cream eggs were the very best. Later in life when I worked for Fanny Farmer and Fannie May Candy companies, it was a dream come true.
Even today, my own celebration of Easter continues these traditions, both real and imagined. I believe in the importance of maintaining cultural and family traditions--these are part of society. These are what help give character to us. I am grateful to my ancestors who made the effort to pass down the family traditions, giving me cherished memories. These are the among the greatest gifts I've ever received. Happy Easter.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Generation Y: Born 1977- 1995
Generation X: Born 1965-1977
Baby Boomers: Born 1946- 1964
Traditionalists: Born pre-1946
If you want to read more about Millennials, check out Jason Dorsey, the GenY Guy. He has books, DVD kits and some really helpful stuff in his online store.
Like every generation, millennials have their own unique traits, and other generations tend to "not get" them, and have subtle differences that can sometimes set them worlds apart. I am a Gen X guy--just barely, which makes me "old" in the eyes of Millennials.
Back to my recent speaking engagements. My consulting firm has hosted a series of round table business lunches across various cities, with me as the headline speaker. These business lunches are designed to facilitate discussion to open dialogue and understanding between Millennials and Generation X business leaders in the workplace. The issue is that Millennials have a sense of entitlement, they crave instant gratification, and they have huge expectations but don't seem to be interested in the time or actions necessary to earn what they want. These traits are diametrically opposed to the traits of Generation X (and Baby Boomers for that matter). The thing is that Generation X managers are having a difficult time managing Millennials, who expect everything handed to them immediately. At issue is this is a similar trait across the generation, so it is pervasive across the workforce.
For old guys like me in executive management positions, it is easy to just dismiss this generation out of hand, lecture them and tell them how hard I had to work when I was their age. That sort of speech really makes old guys like me feel good. "There, I told them, that will fix it." Except it won't. You see, the thing is that if we Gen X managers want to see our organizations thrive and compete for talent, we need to understand how this Gen Y (Millennial) generation thinks, what motivates them. I'm not suggesting that we "give in" or make it easy for them, but the smart leaders will take time to better understand what gets this generation going. We need to understand that this is a generation that has no intention to remain loyal to any single company over their lifetime. They value moving around, to meet their expectations. So instead, my "lecture" is actually to the old guys like me: "Get used to it!".
The objective of my speaking engagements is to open this discussion...get people talking and to interpret. I certainly don't profess to be an expert on Gen Y people, but I've taken the time to educate myself on what Millennials want and how they think. My own trial and error in managing Gen Y employees has been a learning experience for sure. I may not like or truly understand why, but I understand the reality in which we work today. Therefore, in order to survive AND THRIVE in the business world today, it is crucial for old Gen X guys like me to sit down and listen to the seemingly spoiled Gen Y employee. Explain. Communicate. Don't get frustrated when they have their smart phone in their hand the entire discussion. And definitely don't get upset when they check Instagram during the conversation.
Recognizing that I'm ancient to most Millennials, I decided to lighten up and lose my suit and tie for the presentations I've made. I've made a conscious effort to wear cool colors, be more casual, but still professional (like the photo above). Despite the fact that I consider Brooks Brothers to be the model for business wardrobe, I have taken a different approach during my speaking engagements. Heck, during some presentations, I've even sat down on a table, leaning in to make a point and hold the attention of this fickle 'A.D.D.' group of attendees. I have not been offended once when I look out and seen mostly tops of heads, tilted down with faces glowing slightly from their iPhones as they tap away Tweeting, blogging, or taking selfies while I speak. The thing is, by adapting my style as a speaker and business executive I've been able to engage groups of young and old business leaders to communicate.
At times I see looks of bewilderment and the hear the occasional snicker if I make an 80's pop reference of some kind. I do it to amuse myself and keep my peer generational attendees happy. Maybe someday I'll finish the book I've been writing about this subject. For now at least I have the satisfaction of seeing ah-ha moments when these two generations come together, if only for the span of 90 minutes.
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, business colleagues or my company.
This blog is independent and free of any type of financial affiliations. Some images used are from the internet and sometimes hard to credit them, so if you own any and want them removed just send me a message.
No copyright infringement intended. I am not responsible for defamatory statements bound to government, religious, or other laws from the reader’s country of origin . The intention of this blog is to do no harm, defame, libel or offend anyone.