“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
~Rocio Prado Kissling
ThinkLatino! is a Southern California-based PR Marketing firm that delivers unique and powerful media & marketing solutions through exclusive strategic alliances. With over two decades of experience working in public relations and marketing, Rocio and her team of bilingual and bicultural PR professionals offer cutting-edge strategic planning with the celebrated Latino passion and flare. Rocio explains that the exclamation point (!) in her company name is part of the brand for her company.
“If you compare us to a car,” she says, “We would be a Mini Cooper Turbo. Why? Because we are fast, we’re agile and VERY creative.”
First opening its doors in 2000 as a company called Kico, she changed the company name in 2006 to ThinkLatino! She has marketed more than 500 films and is known for creating turnkey solutions with specific multicultural and millennial strategies for clients that want to connect with the USA-Hispanic market. Today Rocio looks back with pride at the progress she and her team have made as ThinkLatino! celebrates 15 years in business.
Rocio had experience working in the corporate world and spent most of her career in the motion picture industry. Trained as a journalist, she worked for the Washington Post Sunday Magazine covering over 20 countries to bring ‘non-obvious’ opportunities to American investors. She then worked for Spanish-Speaking Television Giant Televisa, where she developed her ability to gauge what the Hispanic / Multicultural market was interested in. In 1996, she joined a marketing company to work on the film Selena and she remained with this company until 2000. When she settled down and got married, afterwards giving birth to her first child, she recognized that she wanted to combine having a career and being a mother. At the time, it really seemed as though the only way she could have both was to be her own boss. Encouraged by her husband’s assurances that she could do anything she set her mind to, she started her company, venturing onto the path of entrepreneurship.
Rocio’s husband, Bolko, was an inspiration for her in the beginning. Admitting that she was a little insecure at first about being able to run a corporation, she followed his example since he was the owner of his own company and continued to motivate her to start right away. He consistently supported and mentored her to grow and expand her business. “He always told me ‘I know you can do this!’ He believed in me and helped me to believe in myself. He inspired me to keep going and still does to this day!”
Though she started the company by herself, she partnered up with Luis Balaguer, founder of the prominent Latino Talent Agency called Latin World Entertainment. He remains her partner to this day and ThinkLatino! is well known, not just in the motion picture industry, but any venture that desires a connection to the Hispanic marketplace. Brands, services or entertainment properties can access whatever their vision entails by picking up the phone and calling Rocio and her team at ThinkLatino! She also was mentored by Stephanie Kluft, who was an executive at Universal at the time, and who provided her with a lot of advice and guidance.
Building her business brand and creating processes and services was her biggest challenge in the beginning as she crafted her services to meet the market. “I create marketing strategies for any product, person or entertainment company, or even technology property or really just any company or industry that wants to reach the US market. ANY service or vendor that wants to focus on multi-cultural or the Hispanic market should definitely come to us to reach that demographic.”
Though the recession hit most agencies in her field quite hard, Rocio states that she has managed to stay afloat by diversifying. “We specialize in a niche market. We are a big agency ran boutique style.” Her biggest challenge was when the recession hit and she lost two major clients and had to cut back and rebuild almost from scratch to continue to manage her company and keep it running. “Basically we don’t do just PR anymore. We do events. We create cross promotion between products, sales and a lot of digital. I no longer concentrate on the film industry alone. We have changed over to products, services and producing events as well and we continue creating no matter what.”
She acknowledges that running a company with employees is not always easy. Over the years as she expanded and grew, she hired more and more people to her team, and had to learn how to run her business AND manage employees. “In 2011 I lost two major accounts in the same week and lost over 8 million in revenue and had to re-build. If there was ever a time that I wanted to quit, that was it. But I didn’t quit and I re-structured and kept going and it has really made me see the value of tenacity. Quitting just isn’t in my personality!”
Rocio describes herself as a fun loving individual. “I’m fun. I’m full of love and always willing to contribute and generate whatever it takes. I never give up! I would have to die first. Sometimes my communications might sting because I’m very direct and not always very tactful!” Rocio loves to travel and pursue her love of photography. Though she has never pursued a professional career as a photographer, traveling around the globe and taking pictures is something she considers as a hobby. She was born in Madrid, Spain and spent most of her formulative years at a boarding school in Switzerland. Married 21 years to her husband, Bolko, she has three beautiful children that she dotes on. Rocio feels that family is most important. She says, “Family is like an oak that holds everything together. It can be noble and create stability in your life. It is the foundation of everything!”
She lives Topanga with her husband, three children, three dogs and a few horses. In her spare time, she loves to read, to be involved in the art world and she is a real movie buff. Among her favorite books is The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was difficult for her to pinpoint a favorite film, so she broke down the categories of her favorites: for drama it would be last year’s Oscar winner Whiplash; for comedy it would be Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; and for romance it would be Gone With the Wind.
Giving back to the community is of paramount importance to her, as well as making a difference and paving the way for Hispanics. She has served as a Mentor at Hollywood High School for Hispanic kids, doing talks about what it is to be Hispanic in the USA. She also does work with the Make a Wish Foundation. Rocio recently did a keynote speech engagement at the graduating class at Monterey Tech in Puebla, Mexico in June 2015.
ThinkLatino! has received numerous awards for their multinational hiring practices and the difference they make for the Hispanic community. She has received the Minority Agency of the Year award three years running from USC’s Southern California Minority Supplier Minority Council (SCMSDC) for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. “We make it a point to include minorities in everything we do.”
Where does Rocio see ThinkLatino! in the future? For the short term – she is banking on influential partners and alliances beyond the media to spread the word of what her company provides. For the long term – a platform where it’s turnkey for clients to do a marketing campaign without having to spend too much time finding out what it is that they should do. She expects to continue to expand and continue to contribute what there is to contribute to clients. “I see partnership and my team with my clients creating us all as one team creating together. Making partnerships stronger, and expanding so all of us can get to the next level. Whether it’s through technology or self-pollenating products and services, we will be more effective in a quicker way in less time, really utilizing our marketing dollars wisely.”
Her advice to other entrepreneurs and would-be business owners is this: “Never give up and reach out for support if you ever feel it is the end of the road. Partner up and have strategic alliances that give you a competitive advantage.”
Rocio was introduced to INSURENEX through a good friend who recommended them when she was looking for commercial insurance options. She finds INSURENEX and the Alfaro brothers to always be willing to go the extra mile to make things happen. Knowing she has a one stop shop to come to with her insurance needs has given her peace of mind for her day to day business operations.
We salute Rocio Prado Kissling and ThinkLatino! for Moving Up in Life; we’re proud to be the one-point of contact for all their business and personal insurance needs.