Sinclair and Ruiz | Our Blog

Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies


Leave a comment

Case Study: Destination Branding for Real Estate Investment

Sinclair and Ruiz coordinated a multi-year effort to draw real estate investment (from developers as well as consumers) to a beach destination.  Our client was a co-op made up of various stakeholders including the Mexico Tourism Board, a state government, and a developers association. The targeted $1.4 million USD campaign focused on Canadian provinces from B.C to Ontario; as well as the American west coast states, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado and Texas. After the initial cycle of brand awareness, the percentage of registered leads generated by the marketing initiatives grew by 300%, participation in information and promotional events across Canada grew by 38 %. By the campaign’s third year, the number of Canadian travelers to the destination – mainly Baby Boomers- grew by 30%. Furthermore, at a national level the destination rose from 11th place to 4th place among tourist destinations in terms of real estate investment. Residential real estate sales to Canadian investors totaled over $300 million USD over the three years of campaign implementation. Marketing efforts included multi- media advertising, public relations, and network building.

Contact S&R to request further information on marketing campaign design and execution. http://www.sinclairandruiz.com


1 Comment

Professional Duty: Acting Ethically and in the Client’s Best Interest

There are three important things to keep in mind with regards to an agency’s duty to the client: never lose sight of who the client is, what they want to achieve, and how to act in their best interest. There are several situations that can interfere with the clarity of these three points. Regardless of the outcome agencies must work ethically to achieve client’s best interest; and this may not always take shape the client has in mind. The following article will touch upon some examples of these situations.

The Agency Works for the Client Not the Client’s Contact Person

The contact person for a client may be the owner of the company, an employee of an organization, or council members, among others. It is important to keep in mind that the main contact for the organization and the client are not one and the same; and that unfortunately their expectations may not always aligned. The situation may arise where the contact may make requests that are not related to the business relationship or the best interest of the client.

Image

 It is a regular part of business to provide value added assistance to important clients.  However, it is not normal to consistently oblige to requests in the name of a business relationship that may personally benefit the contact at the expense of the client. For example, a manager once requested we amend a proposal to include planning an event in a city that was not a target market of the client. The manager had a clear personal interest in the request, although it would divert important marketing funds to an exercise that would not generate a return on investment. The Client was not aware of this. One may think that it is the Client’s problem and that ultimately that manager should be accountable for these decisions. However, it is not an Agent’s place to get involved in office politics, and it is the Agency’s duty to act in the best interest of the client. An Agency can make the right recommendations, document them, and follow the Client’s direction.

The Agency’s Duty to Act Ethically As Well As in the Client’s Best Interest

There are also occasions when the client makes good faith requests that are not in their own best interest. Agents have a duty to inform their Client if they believe what they want will not provide the desired results. An Agency can make alternate suggestions, but ultimately the client makes the decisions. Generally, Agencies  act on the client’s direction even if it is against the Agency’s advice. This of course, changes when the matter relates to ethical choices.

This topic was well described in a recent article in The Economist, as explained by the following excerpt:

Professional organisations are bound by professional ethics to put limits on what they will do for their customers: lawyers have to apply the law, for example, and universities have to apply objective standards, rather than just pleasing their customers. Arthur Andersen, once a big accounting firm, went bust because it broke professional rules in order to help one of its best customers, Enron. Monitor Group, a consultancy, provoked mockery because it adopted an excessively customer-centric approach to the late Colonel Qaddafi, including helping his son, Saif al-Islam, prepare a thesis for the London School of Economics and proposing a book that would present the Colonel as “a man of action and a man of ideas”.

  It often makes perfect sense to refuse to give your customers what they want, or at least what they say they want.  “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them,” Steve Jobs told Inc. magazine in 1989.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

DO BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS ALWAYS STRENGTHEN WHEN THE AGENCY ACTS IN THE CLIENT’S BEST INTEREST?

As professionals we can listen to clients and design strategies to help them achieve their goals. In most cases this is the way contracts work and result in great business relationships. Yet the reality for some circumstances, such as those outlined above, is that the correct alternative may be to fire the client or lose the account. When it comes to a client’s representative directing an Agency to act contrary to the client’s best interest, refusal to act may result in a lost account. In this scenario, the agency will retain its integrity while the alternative could be shouldering responsibility for the client employee’s unethical behavior.

 

Image

When it comes to implementing a strategy the Agency considers will not work, it is important to weigh the consequences of following through. Most businesses at one time or another have taken on a job that they later wished they hadn’t. These kinds of situations are not always obvious or clear cut. A Focus post provides a useful exercise for those considering if it is worth walking away from a client. They say “Sometimes, even an unprofitable customer can be worth the headache for other reasons. However if they’re not, this due diligence can help you know for sure and not have to spend any time second-guessing your decision.” You may read the full post at http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

Business relationships are not always easy. Parties do not always have to agree. But clients are entitled to the certainty that their Agency will always act with their best interest and in an ethical manner. For a professional business, the right decision may be the most difficult one, but it in the end it will generate the best results for all parties.

Sinclair and Ruiz Consulting

http://www.sinclairandruiz.com

LINKS:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

 


1 Comment

Points to Consider for Successful Press Trips

  • Objective. Determine what you want to achieve and the line of communication that you want to transmit. Target the media you want to invite accordingly and the numbers you can successfully host. Quantity of journalists should not be the objective.

 

  • Plan ahead.  Often press trips are planned with only a few weeks advance notice. The more time there is to plan and provide journalists with detailed information, the better.

 

  • Collaborate. The team in charge of logistics on the ground should work closely with the agency or persons coordinating with the media.

 

  • Individual media visits vs. group press trips.  Many journalists participate on group trips on a regular basis, and prefer group activities. Yet many others will not participate in group trips, period. Depending on the industry and size of the company/organization launching a PR strategy it is important to decide if individual media visits will be accommodated. If you host a group, make sure your itinerary is relevant to their interests. If you host an individual visit, get to know the journalist before he or she visits.

 

  • Downtime/ free time. Press trip hosts understandably want to show their media guests as much as possible.  However, in a recent survey conducted by S&R we found free time was a “must have” for all respondents.  This includes sufficient time between tours and meals for your guests to change and rest.

 

  • Internet access. Press trips are work trips. This means media reps need to work on stories and stay in touch with their office. It is imperative that guests have easy access to internet at all hours.  Hotel room internet access is preferred, but as some hotels begin to focus internet usage in common areas it is important that the setting is comfortable, and provides privacy if needed.

 

  •  Flexibility. Group visits should allow flexibility within reason. It is especially important to accommodate certain requests that are in reference to assigned story topics.

 

  • Hour by hour itineraries.  Everyone is different. Often journalists who have never visited a destination prefer more detailed itineraries, whereas journalists who are familiar prefer less structure. It is important to assign reasonable start and end times so the days are not too long.

There will always be imperfections during press trips, but when they are well organized they can generate great benefits. A couple of weeks ago we received a note from a  journalist for whom we arranged a media visit. He wrote “[the] trip was one of the best media trips I’ve been on, and I’ve been on quite a few! My hat is off to you… and everyone who helped. I was very pleased with all the arrangements, schedule, etc. Outstanding  trip.”  Our client benefited from two months of premium national exposure through the print and online circulation of this journalists article. The article’s message was consistent with the client’s communication strategy, and that is what defines a successful press trip.


Leave a comment

Figures for 2012

The Economist recently published its special issue titled “The World in 2012”. Its “The World in Figures” section includes some interesting commentary and predictions for 2012.  We thought we’d share some of their figures regarding predictions on GDP growth v.s. inflation in several countries (please refer to the magazine issue for the full list). We include percentages for both developed and emerging markets, which we think tell an interesting story for entities analyzing options for international business.

Country GDP Growth % Inflation %
China 8.2 3.8
India 7.8 7.7
Brazil 3.5 5.5
Turkey 3.5 6.6
Canada 2.5 1.4
Mexico 3.1 3.8
U.S. 1.3 2.1
UK 0.7 2.9
Spain 0.3 1.8
France 0 1.7
Germany 0 1.8

According to this portion of the list China and Canada are the two countries projected to keep a better balance between growth and inflation.The section notes the deepening consumer market in China (page 111). For Canada it highlights efforts to pursue “closer economic ties with major overseas markets to diversify away from its dependence on US consumers” (page 115). The article also sees the U.S. narrowly avoiding a recession, but consumers will likely remain shy. On the other hand, growth in emerging markets such as Brazil and India is tempered by inflation.  All in all, 2012 is approached with caution as well as opportunity.

More on consumer markets:

America’s Slumping Consumer Confidence


Leave a comment

Mexico Engages International Stakeholders

http://www.canada.com/Mexico+Engages+International+Stakeholders+Tourism+Convention/4169654/story.html
Mexico’s third annual National Tourism Convention kicked-off yesterday in Mexico City. The convention is organized by the Confederation of Mexican Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO SERVYTUR), presided by Jorge Dávila Flores. This year’s event is the first to bring together national and international stakeholders in Mexico’s tourism industry, as well as government, and academia. Special guests include Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo. Industry speakers include Royal Caribbean Cruises Vice President of Government Relations for Latin America Michael Ronan; and Softec Mexico’s Associate Director Gene Towle…


Leave a comment

S&R to cover Mexico’s National Tourism Convention

The Convention is organized by the National Confederation of Mexican Chambers of Commerce and will take place on January 25th and 26th at the Hilton Hotel in Mexico City.  Featured guests and keynote speakers include, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara.

 Vancouver, B.C. – January 24th, 2011-  Sinclair and Ruiz Consulting will provide international public relations services  for Mexico’s the third annual National Tourism Convention. The Confederation of Mexican Chambers of Commerce (CONCANACO SERVYTUR), presided by Jorge E. Dávila Flores,  will host the convention on January 25th and 26th, 2011 in Mexico City.

This year’s event is the first to bring together national and international stakeholders in Mexico’s tourism industry, as well as government representatives, and academia. Special guests include Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo and Joint Director for the Mexico Tourism Board Rodolfo Lopez Negrete Coppel.   Industry speakers include Royal Caribbean Cruises Vice President of Government Relations for Caribbean, Latin America and Asia Michael Ronan; and Softec Mexico’s Associate Director Gene Towle; among others.  The Tourism Industry has great expectations for President Calderon’s address  as well as the presentation by the Secretary of Tourism and  Mr. Davila Flores’ address on behalf of the private sector.

The magnitude of the 2011 convention is the brainchild of Mr. Davila Flores, who as president of the National Confederation of Chambers of commerce, has encouraged positive engagement of all tourism-related issues. Among other initiatives, Mr. Davila Flores promotes the “Let’s speak positively about Mexico, because we are all Mexico” slogan among the organization’s members. The slogan aims to motivate the nation’s private sector to focus and build on the country’s positive attributes. Through support for the National Tourism Convention the Confederation of Mexican Chambers shows its commitment to developing concrete actions to back-up the slogan.

S&R is thrilled to collaborate with the Confederation of Mexican Chambers on this high profile event that will influence the international tourism industry.