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


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Rebranding.

rebrandingBranding refers to establishing a company’s identity. Branding includes determining a logo, name, and message that identify an entity. Establishing a brand and what it stands for in the minds of consumers, is the starting point on which to build a marketing strategy, and ultimately reach sales goals.  Rebranding can entail changing certain aspects of a brand, or completely changing a company’s identity.

Why Companies Rebrand

Companies may rebrand in order to refresh and update their image, communicate a change, or shed a negative image. In order to undertake a successful a rebranding campaign, it is important to understand that building an identity is far more complex than simply choosing a name and logo; and communication is essential to implementing a rebranding campaign. Two of the more complex reasons companies rebrand include shedding a negative image, and to consolidate mergers and acquisitions.

Sinclair and Ruiz has rebranded itself once before, and  will soon launch another rebranding campaign to update the scope of services provided – as we are proud to say they have increased over the past seven years. We have also worked with clients to improve their image after a cycle of crisis management, rebranding for mergers, as well as rebranding for the evolution of an organization’s identity.

Rebranding to Shed a Negative Image

In order to shed a negative image it is important to face the issue that is causing the negative image head-on. Organizations must decide how they want to be perceived, make the necessary changes and communicate them to the world. Organizations must be committed to the message, as shedding a negative image requires consistency, and often entails regaining the trust of existing clients as well as winning over new and weary markets. Rebranding campaigns must be tailored and highly targeted, depending on the entity requiring the update, and the reasons behind the need. In this case, the message is often more important than the name or logo.

Read an example of how what you say can damage your brand at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227164

Rebranding Due to a Merger

Mergers are challenging as a result of the uncertainty they can project to employees as clients.  Mergers are inherently a cause of change and it is important for companies to acknowledge and embrace this reality. Rebranding due to a merge is the perfect opportunity to focus on the improvements that change will bring, rather than how things will remain the same. Failure to acknowledge change may cause distrust within an organization, and failure to engage employees will project negatively onto clients. Effective rebranding is imperative to employee and client retention during and following a merger.

The breath of image change will vary for each case. Some mergers require complete structural change, while others keep the existing name, service and market it under an umbrella company.

Thus rebranding requires careful consideration of the most basic “branding” elements, as well as a clear message.  Among other Things, successful rebranding entails:

·         Determining exactly what your brand stands for.

·         Setting out a clear strategy and timeline for rebranding.

·         Communicating the new brand message to employees, partners, industry and clients. Successful rebranding will take place once all stakeholders know and accept the new message and image. Organizations that do not control a branding message risk projecting an image based on the voice of exterior forces (i.e. rumors).

·         Careful planning and measured execution of rebranding are key to consolidating the desired image, and avoiding collateral costs.

Contact Sinclair and Ruiz today to learn more about how we can plan and guide a successful rebranding campaign. info@sinclairandruiz.com

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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


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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.

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 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.

 

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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/

 


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Gaining an Edge through Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing

Marketing partnerships and event sponsorships are effective marketing tools.  The first refers to linking two or more different non-competing brands for marketing purposes. The second refers to brands that become supporters of charities, sporting events, trade shows, etc.  We highly recommend both options because they are cost-effective and – when implemented correctly- provide outstanding results. When S&R designs and implements such strategies for our clients, the efforts generate all or o most of the following (depending on the clients’ needs):

  • Exposure to new consumers
  • Partnerships  with brands that are prestigious and important to

the target market

  • Positive brand association
  •   Increased brand awareness and enhanced image
  •  Exposure in the media
  • Revenue

We rely on our networks and those of our clients to carefully seek-out and evaluate opportunities that will provide the best return on investment. When searching for the best opportunity for your brand it is important to know who the target market is and how you want to reach them. Some organizations are better set-up than others to provide the right value.  Annual events and sports organizations often have an established framework within which they work with partners and sponsors.  Others, who have access to your target market, may not have previously provided the service your company requires or are simply less efficient.  Therefore it is important for the marketer to be involved through every step of the campaign.

Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing initiatives Sinclair and Ruiz has coordinated on behalf of our clients include:

  • In-kind sponsorships for charity tournaments, cultural and business events. Benefits include brand exposure in printed materials; value added advertising; spoken acknowledgements; speaking opportunities, and activation at the events.

 

  • Coordination and implementation of advertising campaigns between different segments of the tourism industry (destination, country, airline, travel agents).

 

  • Sponsorship and partnership of sporting events and organizations. Benefits include media exposure, brand exposure in printed materials, spoken acknowledgements, speaking opportunities, activation at the events.

 

These marketing efforts work well for small businesses as well as large organizations.  In order to make the most of partnerships and sponsorships, companies should gain exposure through an integrated mix of advertising and PR.  As always there should be a consistent message directed towards a clear objective.

Related articles that may be of interest:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/marketing-partnership.htm

http://marketing.about.com/od/eventandseminarmarketing/a/sponsorship.htm

info@sinclairandruiz.com

http://www.facebook.com/sinclairandruiz

 


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Turning 5

As S&R enters its  5th year, we are excited for 2012. How time flies!  It is interesting to look back and  see how far we’ve come.  Considering a few of the highlights, turning 5 means:

  • The company has planned and managed 26 exclusive events on behalf of our clients across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
  • We have represented clients at over 35 tradeshows and third party events.
  • S&R staff has been the MC and public speakers at nearly 30 events.
  • S&R has designed and executed nearly 20 individual advertising campaigns including 5 public/private sector coops with the Mexico Tourism Board on behalf of private companies and associations.
  • We’ve launched image, sales and sports campaigns.
  • In terms of PR, the company has coordinated press trips, national T.V. network interviews, provided a spokesperson during radio interviews and participated in crisis management for our clients.
  • The S&R team has provided graphic design services for corporate branding and advertising.
  • We have translated approximately 100 documents including lease agreements, purchase agreements, marketing material, websites, and correspondence, among others. We’ve provided this service for companies from the real estate, tourism, food, mining, and engineering industries doing international business.

We look forward to the continuing our collaboration with clients, partners and service providers. Cheers to the next 5!


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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.


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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