Christo­pher Cope

The Vice Pres­i­dent Sales & Mar­ket­ing of Raleigh En­ter­prises shares with us his love for the Sun­set Mar­quis and his Kevin Richard­son Foun­da­tion

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - BY DEVE SANFORD

Tell us about your back­ground and what led you to Raleigh En­ter­prises?

I’ve been with Raleigh En­ter­prises for al­most 9 years. I orig­i­nally be­gan as the Di­rec­tor of Sales and Mar­ket­ing for the Sun­set Mar­quis Ho­tel. 4 years ago, at the re­quest of the owner, I cre­ated the cor­po­rate mar­ket­ing de­part­ment for Raleigh En­ter­prises and now over­see mar­ket­ing and sales for the 4 com­pa­nies. Prior to join­ing Raleigh En­ter­prises, I spent the pre­vi­ous 19 years hold­ing var­i­ous roles within the hos­pi­tal­ity/ho­tel in­dus­try in sales and mar­ket­ing such as di­rec­tor of sales, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for North Amer­ica and Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales & Mar­ket­ing.

Please share a few de­tails about each of your com­pa­nies?

Sun­set Mar­quis is an up­scale, in­de­pen­dent, bou­tique ho­tel. We cater to a va­ri­ety of trav­el­ers and are mostly known for celebrity clien­tele, pri­mar­ily from the mu­sic in­dus­try but also from the film and tele­vi­sion in­dus­tries. Ad­ver­tis­ing, fash­ion and cor­po­rate trav­el­ers make up the bulk of busi­ness. Guests en­joy peace and tran­quil­ity of Sun­set Mar­quis, and since it sits on 3 1/2 acres, al­most all their time on prop­erty is spent out­side where they can en­joy the very best of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, the weather! This is what truly sets us apart from the com­pe­ti­tion con­sist­ing of big-box, high­rise ho­tels in the area. Our restau­rant fea­tures al fresco din­ing as well, so you re­ally are able to en­joy ev­ery­thing good about LA, sans noise and pa­parazzi, thanks to our de­sign and vig­i­lant se­cu­rity mea­sures to keep guests safe and se­cure in our grounds.

Mar­ket­ing has al­ways been a bal­ance be­tween gen­er­at­ing aware­ness while main­tain­ing the in­ti­macy ex­pected from our guests, some of whom have been stay­ing with us since the 70s and 80s. It has re­quired us to walk a fine line in terms of what we say and who we men­tion. Our celebrity clien­tele love the anonymity and it’s vi­tal we keep that in mind at all times. In­stead of drop­ping names we pre­fer to talk about the ex­pe­ri­ences peo­ple have when stay­ing with us, such as our Live @ Sun­set Mar­quis sum­mer mu­sic se­ries, and the lux­u­ri­ous ameni­ties and at­ten­tion to de­tail we pro­vide, with zero pre­ten­sion.

Raleigh Film & Tele­vi­sion Stu­dios has a truly unique his­tory. Orig­i­nally founded over 100 years ago by film greats Char­lie Chap­lin, Mary Pick­ford and Dou­glas Fair­banks, we orig­i­nally pur­chased the real es­tate in the late 70’s. At the time, it was to be razed to make room for a K Mart shop­ping cen­ter. But upon in­spect­ing the fa­cil­ity, our founder, Ge­orge Rosen­thal, just couldn’t bring him­self to let it hap­pen. In­stead, he in­vested in the fu­ture and it now fea­tures 13 sound stages and more than a hun­dred state-of-art of­fice and post pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, hous­ing some of the big­gest names in the in­dus­try to­day. It’s rich his­tory in­cludes sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant movies and nu­mer­ous long-run­ning tele­vi­sion shows.

Rosen­thal, the Mal­ibu Es­tates, was borne from Ge­orge’s pas­sion for wines. Orig­i­nally a work­ing ranch for horses, over time it be­came home to our grape vines, re­sult­ing in Rosen­thal Wines be­com­ing the first wine maker in Mal­ibu and trail­blaz­ing the way to es­tab­lish­ing Mal­ibu as a sig­nif­i­cant player in the Cal­i­for­nia wine pro­duc­tion land­scape. Our 250-acre es­tate is lo­cated within four miles of the ocean at 1450 feet above sea level within a per­fect

mi­cro­cli­mate for grow­ing high-qual­ity grapes. Rosen­thal was des­ig­nated its very own Amer­i­can Viti­cul­ture Area: Mal­ibu New­ton Canyon A.V.A. No other wines in the world in­clude grapes grown within the mini-mi­cro­cli­mates of Mal­ibu-New­ton Canyon.

We fea­ture two la­bels; Rosen­thal and Surf Rider, the for­mer us­ing only Rosen­thal grapes and the lat­ter com­bin­ing Rosen­thal grapes while sourc­ing oth­ers from ar­eas of Cal­i­for­nia like Paso Robles. At har­vest they are picked by hand, then aged in the finest French Oak bar­rels. Dis­tri­bu­tion of our wines is only avail­able via our mem­ber­ship club and di­rect sales to the pub­lic at our tast­ing room on Pa­cific Coast High­way. Va­ri­etals grown on the es­tate in­clude

Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Caber­net Franc, Mer­lot, Petit Ver­dot, Viog­nier and Chardon­nay.

File Keep­ers is a doc­u­ment stor­age com­pany with an­cil­lary units in­clud­ing paper shred­ding and doc­u­ment scan­ning ser­vices to com­ple­ment the var­i­ous needs of our cus­tomers and clients. File Keep­ers has been in busi­ness for over 35 years and serves busi­nesses of all types through­out the greater Los An­ge­les area. Many clients from pro­duc­tion stu­dios to the top le­gal firms in LA to hos­pi­tals, ac­count­ing firms and school dis­tricts rep­re­sent our largest client base.

The port­fo­lio of core busi­nesses within Raleigh En­ter­prises is so di­verse and op­er­ates un­der a wide range of hold­ings, from your per­spec­tive what at­tributes do you think have led to the suc­cess of your core busi­nesses?

Our busi­nesses op­er­ate with the pri­mary phi­los­o­phy be­ing a fo­cus on ser­vice. We re­al­ize that re­gard­less of the busi­ness, we op­er­ate within pri­mar­ily com­modi­tized in­dus­tries. With that in mind, it is sim­ply a mat­ter of do­ing the right thing for our cus­tomers and clients, al­ways. We op­er­ate as a fam­ily and many of our clients have been with us for decades. And in ad­di­tion to the ex­em­plary ser­vice we pro­vide, the rea­son they stay with us is be­cause we treat them as our fam­ily too. It’s far too easy for com­pa­nies to lose site of ser­vice in def­er­ence to prof­its. Prof­its are im­por­tant of course, but there has to be a bal­ance and our em­ploy­ees are em­pow­ered to make smart de­ci­sions to mit­i­gate the im­pact that any in­con­ve­nience might caused our cus­tomers. Ul­ti­mately, ev­ery com­pany will have a hic­cup and it’s the way we re­spond to those mis­takes that sets us apart from our com­pe­ti­tion, and ul­ti­mately what will en­sure our clients keep com­ing back to us.

From what prin­ci­ple do you at­tain your per­sonal suc­cess?

It has al­ways been my per­sonal ex­pec­ta­tion that com­pa­nies treat their em­ploy­ees with re­spect and dig­nity, so in turn, this is my phi­los­o­phy as it re­sults to how I deal with peo­ple in work or on a per­sonal level. I learned a long time ago that, as much as we say we need to keep busi­ness and per­sonal friend­ships sep­a­rate, the fact of the mat­ter is that work is an in­te­gral

part of our lives and it’s im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate the two. I am proud when past em­ploy­ees con­tact me for ref­er­ences or per­sonal ad­vice be­cause then I know they re­spected me, and they know I re­spected them as well. So from both a busi­ness and per­sonal stand­point, my “Rule of 3” in­cludes:

1. Treat peo­ple, and your staff, with re­spect and dig­nity. We all want it and re­al­ize it’s earned over time, but ul­ti­mately it starts here.

2. Get to know peo­ple. What are their per­sonal in­ter­ests and hob­bies? It’s im­pos­si­ble to con­nect with peo­ple if you know noth­ing about them.

3. Pro­vide peo­ple the tools that en­able them to be bet­ter and achieve greater suc­cess.

What is the big­gest chal­lenge fac­ing Raleigh En­ter­prises in the com­ing years?

The land­scape of busi­ness as a whole is chang­ing. We are en­ter­ing a 4th in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion of sorts. How we work, the way we pur­chase goods and ser­vices, and the way we con­nect with po­ten­tial cus­tomers is con­stantly evolv­ing and de­vel­op­ing new ve­hi­cles for dis­tri­bu­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Re­gard­less of the in­dus­try, all of our com­pa­nies will see dra­matic shifts in how peo­ple con­sume the goods and ser­vices we pro­vide. It’s es­sen­tial that we change as well, in­clud­ing how we in­ter­act with them and re­spond to their chang­ing needs.

In the hos­pi­tal­ity space, we face in­creased com­pe­ti­tion and a con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tion from a new type of con­sumer in terms of Mil­len­nial trav­el­ers and what they want and ex­pect in a ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence.

In the file stor­age space, we face a de­creas­ing client base. So many new busi­nesses are tech­nol­ogy fo­cused with ob­jec­tives to use less and less paper and have a lim­ited car­bon foot­print on the earth. They use an in­creas­ing amount of tech­nol­ogy to ful­fill these types of needs so it’s in­cum­bent upon us to find new ways to grow rev­enues through ac­qui­si­tions and ex­pand­ing our busi­ness ser­vices.

In the stu­dio space we face a chang­ing film­ing en­vi­ron­ment from phys­i­cal to elec­tronic con­tent de­vel­op­ment, along with an ex­pand­ing based of non-tra­di­tional pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies such as NET­FLIX, Hulu and Ama­zon. As tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, the ques­tion in front of us is whether big stu­dios and sound stages even have a role in the fu­ture of en­ter­tain­ment and me­dia de­vel­op­ment.

In the wine space we face in­creas­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns and dis­tri­bu­tion chal­lenges. It is in­cum­bent upon us to look at ways to mit­i­gate our own im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, and we’ve al­ready be­gun to see changes such as a move­ment away from cork. Ul­ti­mately we must look ahead to find ways we can be more ef­fi­cient and pro­duce a smaller car­bon foot­print of our own such as de­creased use of bot­tles and em­brac­ing al­ter­na­tive dis­tri­bu­tion meth­ods.

How closely do you fol­low trends within your sec­tor, and what trends do you hope to set within your busi­ness?

We are con­tin­u­ally assess­ing what’s trend­ing in our re­spec­tive in­dus­tries. Those who do not pay at­ten­tion will ul­ti­mately fail. It is im­por­tant we un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween what’s trendy and what’s ac­tu­ally chang­ing though.

For us, the trends vary from busi­ness to busi­ness, but our fo­cus is al­ways to ask ques­tions of our clients. Specif­i­cally we ask them what their pain points are and what we can do to over­come these chal­lenges with them. From there it is in­cum­bent upon us to pro­vide a means to sat­isfy those needs. We should never be­come com­pla­cent and never as­sume we know what our cus­tomers want or need. We are not in their shoes and we must col­lab­o­rate with our clients to en­sure there’s a win-win re­sult for us both.

Some of your part­ner­ships have led to in­ter­na­tional projects, how im­por­tant is it for Raleigh to be com­pet­i­tive on a global level?

Raleigh En­ter­prises is a pri­vately owned com­pany. While in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment and ex­pan­sion isn’t an un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion for us, ul­ti­mately we are fo­cused on do­ing what is best for our com­pa­nies and our em­ploy­ees, while main­tain­ing an ac­cept­able work-life bal­ance for every­one. There is no point in work­ing 80 hours per week for years and not en­joy­ing the fruits of your labors. This is a fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant as­pect of work­ing at Raleigh En­ter­prises.

What are some ways you feel your com­pany chal­lenges con­ven­tion through cre­ativ­ity?

By be­ing a pri­vately held com­pany, we are much more ag­ile in terms of what we can do and how we do it. We are not bur­dened by boards of direc­tors or other bu­reau­cracy that in­hibits us from do­ing what we think is the right thing for our com­pa­nies. At File Keep­ers we de­vel­oped an app for small busi­nesses and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als to use our ser­vices more eas­ily. Tra­di­tion­ally a com­pany that only fo­cused on en­ter­prise level clients that stored thou­sands of boxes with us, we now have a way to work with smaller stor­age clients in a much more ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­cient, and less ex­pen­sive way. This has also en­abled us to open new dis­tri­bu­tion lines for at­tract­ing new client types. We make sim­i­lar in­vest­ments in all of our com­pa­nies all of the time. It goes back to pro­vid­ing our cus­tomers and clients the great­est level of ser­vice and ex­pe­ri­ence pos­si­ble, and con­tin­u­ally look­ing for new ways to do busi­ness that’s re­spon­sive to our chang­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments.

How does Raleigh En­ter­prises align busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties with serv­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity?

Raleigh Works with a va­ri­ety of or­ga­ni­za­tions within our var­i­ous com­pa­nies. Our pri­mary fo­cus has been on ed­u­ca­tional re­lated mat­ters, most no­tably when we can serve chil­dren in early ed­u­ca­tion en­vi­ron­ments, and help to pro­vide them with the tools they need for their own kind of suc­cess. We reg­u­larly sup­port ini­tia­tives in­tro­duced by our own em­ploy­ees as well, since some of the best and most needy or­ga­ni­za­tions are grown from within our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and as a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia grown com­pany this re­ally should be our fo­cus.

How do your mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives look to­day, and how have they evolved with the rise of so­cial me­dia chan­nels.

Elec­tronic com­merce com­mands our at­ten­tion in ev­ery­thing we do from a mar­ket­ing, sales and ad­ver­tis­ing stand­point. So­cial me­dia is with­out a doubt the pri­mary com­mu­ni­ca­tion ve­hi­cle peo­ple use to find and con­sume in­for­ma­tion that is im­por­tant to them. We have to un­der­stand first who our cus­tomers are. Se­cond, where our cus­tomers go to get the in­for­ma­tion they want. And fi­nally, what kind of mes­sag­ing is go­ing to res­onate with them. If a busi­ness does not ear­mark the bulk of their ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing bud­get to fo­cus on e-com­merce and so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing they will ul­ti­mately fail. So­cial me­dia is now a core com­po­nent in all our mar­ket­ing strate­gies and en­deav­ors and all com­pa­nies should strongly con­sider hir­ing some­one for this role to be the voice of the com­pany, not just sim­ply some­one that posts con­tent on their por­tals.

How do you see Raleigh En­ter­prises’ ser­vices evolv­ing in the fu­ture. What are your long term ob­jec­tives/goals?

Our goal is al­ways to be first in ser­vice. First in ser­vice, along with the ful­fill­ment of the pur­chase, will al­ways re­sult in suc­cess. With this in mind we are look­ing to ex­pand our port­fo­lio into busi­nesses where we’ve al­ready seen and con­tinue to see suc­cess. This in­cludes real es­tate as a pri­mary fo­cus of course, but specif­i­cally within our core busi­nesses of ho­tels, of­fice space and stu­dio space, the lat­ter de­signed to pro­vide ser­vices for in­dus­tries of ris­ing im­por­tance, such as gam­ing and live mu­sic venues.

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