“So why the rhino Fareed?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked at least a hundred times the past two years at meetings, speaking engagements and hotel investment conferences around the globe. Maybe you asked me. I know it’s off topic, “making you a better hospitality marketer,” but I wanted to take a few lines to tell the story here. Thanks for indulging me.


Credit must be given to my good friend and marketing consultant, Mark Gerardot of Gerardot & Company, who worked with me on the development of the John Fareed Hospitality Consulting brand. Much like the author of the infamous anecdotal saying regarding attorneys, I believe that any marketer who represents himself has a fool for a client. As such I retained Gerardot & Company to conduct the necessary due diligence to develop the firm’s brand positioning and identity.

Mark and his team identified a number of icon directions prior to landing on the rhino logo. When I asked why a rhino, Mark responded; “Rhinos live in home ranges that sometimes overlap with each other. Feeding grounds, water holes and wallows may be shared. The black rhino is usually solitary, but the white rhino [that’s you John] tends to be much more gregarious [definitely you]. They have a highly developed ‘vocabulary’ of growls, grunts, squeaks, snorts and bellows [it’s like you were separated at birth].”

Mark went on to say; “One’s first impression of a rhino can be that he is a large, intimidating and possibly ‘arrogant’ animal [perhaps it’s the snorts]. Only to learn that he is really a gentle beast which has soft feet and consumes vegetation—unless he is angered, in which case he may charge with every fiber of his being, reaching speeds faster than a zebra [you were a Marine after all].”

“Rhinos have thick skin [I’ve never seen anyone take criticism better], and have very poor eyesight [are you wearing your glasses?].”

“Finally,” Mark explained; “the white rhino has a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers, also called tick birds [or clients]. In Swahili the tick bird is named ‘Askari wa kifaru,’ meaning ‘the rhino’s guard.’ The bird eats ticks it finds on the rhino and noisily warns of danger. Although the birds also eat dried blood from the sores on the rhino’s skin and thus obstruct healing, they are still tolerated [even blood sucking clients are tolerated—Bingo!]. Where would we be without ox peckers? Seriously though, the symbiotic relationship is mutualism, meaning they both benefit. The oxpecker cleans off bugs and ticks from the rhinoceros, that gives the oxpecker nutrients, and the rhinoceros gets clean and a clear warning when danger is near.”

I was sold, and have since fallen in love with the nobel and endangered icon. So that’s why I’m a rhino. Aren’t you glad you asked?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 at 1:24 pm and is filed under General News . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to ““So why the rhino Fareed?””

  1. Bhakti Arun says:

    A great inspirational read indeed, you are a Rhino!

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