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


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How important is it to develop strategic relationships and contacts inside target markets?

The importance of making strategic contacts is fundamental to success – particularly when expanding into new territory. Relationships facilitate market penetration, assist in identifying new audiences, and measuring product performance. Partnerships can be formal or informal and require different levels of commitment in order to keep the relationship beneficial.

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Rahul Samant CEO of Rehabtronics told us that… “it’s very critical to establish strong sales and distribution channels as well as relationships with key opinion leaders”. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners noted relationships are …”  huge and the focus of [her] company. [They] put providers together with contacts in Mexico and help them with distribution or [creating a] sales network.  Not only this, but to find references and the who’s who of using your products… this industry [mining] is very dependent on the usual early adopters.  We are often asked for who is using our customers’ products, especially for the more innovative or game changing products” . Alejandro Godoy founder of  Seafood Business Solutions highlighted “…it is very important to develop relationships with key decision makers, specialty seafood buyers in new markets.” Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of  The Residences at Solaz observed that “contacts in target markets offer a direct line to what consumers in those markets want, and most importantly, how to reach them in a cost-efficient way”.

This article is part 2 of 3.
In case you missed Part 1: Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.

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Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.

challenge

There will always be a variety of challenges to face in order to achieve successful business development. In pursuit of fresh perspectives, we interviewed business people from different industries including Fisheries, Med-Tech, Mining and Travel & Leisure.  In the first of a series of posts on the subject, we explore the answers to our initial question: What is the biggest challenge faced by your industry today?

The top 4 responses – in no particular order- were the following:

  •     Innovation
  •      Sustainability
  •      Regulatory Barriers
  •      Security/Image

What is interesting is that the challenges identified by each respondent are not mutually exclusive to the sectors. In fact, each of the industries represented faces more than one at any given time. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners, identified innovation as the primary challenge to the mining industry. She noted that “…the need for innovation is great due to minerals being more difficult to find and financing being in other industries such as tech…  This is great for innovative providers of technology and services and the combination of the two”. Alejandro Godoy founder of Seafood Business Solutions, identified sustainability as “…the current low captures of wild seafood has increased all seafood prices… and aquaculture needs fish-meal to farm species. Seafood needs better sustainable standards to help future industry growth”. Rahul Samant, CEO of Rehabtronics said that “…in the medical device industry there are many challenges: Regulatory, Export barriers, R&D costs, health care procurement and adoption… Its very difficult to say one challenge that is the biggest, but if I had to I would say the pace of Health Care adoption which is slow in-part due to regulatory barriers”.  Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of The Residences at Solaz identified overall security and image issues that affect Mexico as a whole”.

The first step to overcoming such issues is identifying them. That also allows companies to seize on any areas of opportunity that present themselves by dealing with them in an effective way. Some barriers are more complex and systemic such as threats to environmental sustainability. Failing to address challenges early on risks creating unnecessary obstacles or complications in the future.

This article is part 1 of 3. Continue reading


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Lesson: How Social Media Organizations Market Themselves

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Having a social media strategy is essential. However, it is important to understand the role social media plays in an organizations marketing campaign in order to use it effectively. Social media is a valuable tool, not an inexpensive alternative to integrated marketing. Social Media companies themselves offer the best example.

A few months ago, we attended the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions seminar hosted by LinkedIn, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. This was a great event that shared insight into social media user behavior, how consumers use LinkedIn, as well as the products offered by the company to assist organizations in reaching these consumers.  The sales portion of the presentation was informative, direct and very effective in changing the perception that the platform should mostly be used for personal professional networking purposes and employment searches.  Linked In certainly offers many other valuable tools for organizations wanting to reach their valuable membership. The curious thing about LinkedIn’s brand awareness and sales strategy is that it transcends social media. That is, the tools were promoted via an event that allowed face to face communication, the event was marketed via BC Business (a business magazine and e-newsletter), and the collateral material distributed at the event was a hard copy report. This is a great example of an integrated marketing campaign.

Facebook also promotes product awareness via events. Brooke Oberwetter, associate manager for policy communications at Facebook, spoke at a Vancouver Board of Trade Event in June of this year. Furthermore,  Twitter is using traditional network building strategies in Canada by “developing partnerships with creators of TV and Web programming”, according to the Globe and Mail in an article that suggests they work with traditional media outlets to promote their public relations message.

This is an important lesson, as it showcases the fact that in order to build their valuable membership and customers, they draw on multiple marketing tools. Thus organizations must take advantage of what social media offers, as a tool to be used in a wider strategy.

Contact Sinclair and Ruiz today at info@sinclairandruiz.com to find out how we can integrate social media in to your organization’s marketing strategy. www.sinclairandruiz.com


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Case Study: Promoting Trade in a Foreign Market

Promoting Trade in a Foreign Market

A business organization hired the Sinclair and Ruiz team to develop a communication strategy directed to potential trade partners for their members. S&R prepared the speech and presentation for the client’s event in New York.

The goal was to present  business opportunities and competitive advantages in an effective manner.

Shortly after the communication strategy launch, the client received inquiries from buyers looking to be connected to

the members of the organization who could fulfill their demand for products. Thus, the persuasive communication strategy generated concrete results.

Contact us info@sinclairandruiz.com to discuss how we can assist with the design and execution of effective strategies to open new markets and strengthen relationships with existing clients.


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Case Study: Fly and Buy Discovery Week Campaign

Fly and Buy

Sinclair and Ruiz promoted and coordinated a Discovery Week trip for a developer client who was seeking to promote awareness of their new rental and property management service; along with the remaining units available for sale in their latest condominium project.  The campaign was designed to convert leads obtained through different marketing efforts into clients.

Our team assisted with the design and implementation of the Discovery Week invitation and travel logistics. In order to engage with the leads, we designed a communications strategy to speak to the needs and emotional wishes of the prospective clients. We delivered this communication strategy via inbound marketing efforts, and providing easy contact with our branded representatives for interested parties. Upon reaching the desired level of engagement we maintained frequent communication with the prospective clients to answer questions, assist with travel arrangements, collect any required fees, and increase excitement about the Discovery Week.

To support our developer client, assisted in the design of the Discovery Week Schedule, in order to optimize the possibility of obtaining successful fly and buy sales results.

At the campaign conclusion, our client obtained a 52% conversion rate of prospective clients that paid their own flight and a discounted condominium rental rate to spend a week at the units available for rent. In addition to earning new rental clients, our client sold condominium units by the end of the Discovery Week, thus generating a short term return on their investment.

 

Contact Sinclair and Ruiz today at info@sinclairandruiz.com to learn how we can design and manage your successful Fly and Buy campaign. www.sinclairandruiz.com


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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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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/