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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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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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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


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Elements of Successful Marketing Campaigns

I’d like to share some elements that have made marketing campaigns successful in our experience:

  • Effective communication and promotions that are attractive to the target audience. In addition to a new audience, the communication strategy should motivate contacts who have known about the company for over a year – but had not done business with the company – to finally respond to the call to action.
  • The strategy should take into account past strategies that worked as well as strategies that  may been good ideas originally – but weren’t implemented properly. They should be modified to fit into the objectives of the current campaign if it is thought they can meet the needs of the target market.
  • The campaign execution should include plenty of follow-up with  prospects along the way.
  • The strategy design and execution phases need to run their course without being rushed. Each phase should be implemented without cutting corners. Once the campaign ends, it is importante for the client’s staff to continue to engage the segments of brand new audiences who were not ready to act right away.


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Mazatlan Concludes Its Western Canada Tour

Francisco de la Vega Aragon, State Secretary of Tourism, led a delegation that invited Canadians to visit Mazatlan and the Copper Canyon.

Vancouver, B.C. – Sept. 22nd, 2010- The Mazatlan delegation concluded its visit to Western Canada this past week. The group of travel industry executives and Tourism Board officials traveled to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. The tour took place within the framework of Mexico Fest and the annual Addison Travel Trade Shows; and aimed to promote the Mazatlan and Copper Canyon Getaway.

“Mazatlan’s tourism industry representatives spoke enthusiastically to travel agents and travelers,” Said the State Secretary of Tourism. “Our goal is to encourage Western Canadians to explore the myriad of attractions that the destination offers.”

Mazatlan’s seminars encouraged guests to explore Cosalá and El Quelite – the magical towns that surround Mazatlan, in addition to cultural and historic attractions. Paul Beckman invited guests to participate in the upcoming Sustainable Nature Tourism Symposium & Expo taking place in Mazatlan in December 2010. Mr. Beckman, President of the event’s organizing committee, noted that the expo will bring together universities, entrepreneurs, governments and environmental authorities to discuss the development of sustainable tourism in the region.

Thousands of Canadians travel to Mazatlan each year and many return multiple times to the city known as the Pearl of the Pacific.  Throughout the tour, the delegation expressed the diversity of activities available, which provide new and exciting experiences to Canadians who choose Mazatlan as their holiday destination.

About Mazatlan:

Mazatlan is located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Founded in the 16th Century, Mazatlan possesses one of Mexico’s only seaside historic centers. One in every three travelers that visits Mazatlan is Canadian. The city, State Tourism Board, and the Mazatlan Hotel Association are thrilled to bring a part of Mazatlan to Canada as a preview to the winter season. For more information visit: www.gomazatlan.com.


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Marketing Strategy vs. Execution: Ending the Blame Game for the Sake of Success

Blame is often distributed generously when companies don’t obtain the expected return on investment. Most often, the “execution” phase becomes the accused party. As noted in a recent article in the Harvard Business Journal, it is common for businesses to follow the mantra that “a mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.”[1] The article argues that the metaphor is misguided, and that having a good strategy is important. Therefore, a poor strategy won’t cut it even with a spectacular execution.

We agree. Success depends to a great extent on a sound strategy – because even great execution simply follows a blue print. A key element to designing a good strategy is considering the realities and needs of the business from the perspective of the staff that will execute strategy, as well as management’s expectations.  Communication across the board is important if you want to start on the right foot.

Having said that, once you have a sound strategy  it is not wise to underestimate the importance of the execution phase. Follow-up, guidance and communication will continue to be necessary throughout the execution phase.  This way management can determine if processes are flowing effectively and  if there are any areas for improvement.

Strategy and execution go hand-in hand. Although it is essential to stick to the strategy’s framework, it is also important to allow it a measure of flexibility. Thus, the strategy can be modified or improved according to the needs of the company’s day to day operations. Companies and – especially- organizations that depend on external funding are subject to ebbs and flows, and do not always operate under ideal circumstances.  The strategy must be able to adapt to changes.

In conclusion, strategies should not be abstract concepts designed from the top-down. Their design requires communication with all levels of the company to become truly effective. Execution must be properly monitored to ensure the strategy is implemented correctly. Both phases are important and fulfill specific needs. Both must be approached seriously if your goal is success rather than reaching a state of “good enough”.

CIS

Carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing


[1] Roger L. Martin, “Drawing a line between strategy and execution almost guarantees failure,” Harvard Business Review, July – August 2010, 66.


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DIY Marketing – Is it the right option for your business?

Many businesses are opting to develop and implement their own marketing campaigns. Some decide to hire in-house staff to take care of this side of business and others just go at it alone with the idea of saving money.  In both cases, businesses can benefit from professional assistance, albeit for different reasons and to different extents.

In the case of in-house marketing staff, personnel is very useful in terms of implementation and follow-up as they are knowledgeable and can absorb some of the more time-consuming aspects. However, rarely can one person know everything. Professional marketing agencies can provide specialized assistance and direction  that complement your marketing staff’s plan of action – and they may be able to secure preferential pricing not available to individual businesses.

They case of DIY for company’s with limited marketing experience is more complex. Some companies shy away from investing in agencies if they feel they can buy media on their own and choose the right place to advertise from listening to buzz about delivery options (like Search Engine Marketing). Some companies shy away from professional help because they have chosen a method of advertising – lets stick with Search Engine marketing – and spend a substantial amount of money on Google AdWords only to find they are not getting the return on investment expected. In these cases the missing link is a sound strategy.  DIY involves expensive trial and error if a company is not familiar with different media options and how they connect with specific markets.  Furthermore, as with many other media, Google AdWords are an excellent advertising option, but rarely are they the sole answer to a company’s marketing needs – a combination of media with a strong message are needed. These features, along with a budget and clear and realistic goals,  make-up a sound strategy.

We do not claim that DIY should be considered a write-off. DIY marketing is not for everyone, but the reality is many companies will take this route and if done properly it will produce the desired results. The DIY approach can especially work for small businesses.  I wouldn’t recommend it for large and complex campaigns; for companies that cannot invest the time required for implementation and follow-up; nor do I recommend DIY for event planning (save yourself the time and stress).

However, DIY marketing  can be used for setting a solid foundation in branding and lead-generation. Most companies do DIY social media marketing as well. They key, as noted before is having an effective strategy, and this is where professional help is extremely important.

S&R understands that companies have different needs, budgets and take different approaches accordingly. We also know everyone needs a sound strategy.  This is why we are launching a new set of cost-efficient marketing packages designed especially for DIYers. The packages include all the tools and coaching companies require to launch effective strategies from the start. If you would like more information and pricing for these packages … or would like to know if this is an option for your business email us at info@sinclairandruiz.com.

CIS

carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing


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5 Tips for Using Social Media to Market Your Business

I recently attended an event that addressed different topics of social media (new media) for business. The event was hosted by a media publisher, and attendees ranged from entrepreneurs from different industries and marketing companies, to large well established businesses.

It was clear from the crowd’s questions, and from speaking to people at my table that everyone engaged social media at a different levels. Although almost everyone personally used atleast one social media platform, the majority of guests were still unsure how this phenomenon could be applied to their business. Two recurring questions were:

– How to use social media to make money?

– How can it be used without taking up too much time and cutting into productivity?

I’d like to offer a few tips and considerations on how to use social media for business:

1) Have a strategy: Just as any other type of marketing, in order for your efforts to work, you must have a clear notion of what you want to achieve: branding? communication with existing clients? generate new business?

2) Choose a combination of platforms that are preferred by your target market, and can facilitate your goals.  Review statistics regularly to measure effectiveness of each platform and of your strategy.

3) Use one tone. Unless you are yourself the brand being promoted, it is best to keep the company’s voice separate from your personal voice. Decide what kind of a tone you wish to use and stick to it throughout your posts.

4) Know your clients. It is important to know your clients. Not all companies target markets that are equally knowldgeable of social media platforms. If your audience is younger, your strategy must be able to engage an audience that keeps up and invents new media. If your audience does not fit the cutting-edge criteria, your strategy must be  friendly to the user you aim to attract. 

5) Acknowledge its importance as well as its limitations. Social media is now as basic as having a website. Businesses need to accept its importance. However, one must have a balanced  and comprehensive approach to a marketing strategy. It is unlikely that social media on its own is going to fulfill the needs of any one company.  You have to put yourself in the line of vision of your target market- wherever it chooses to look. More often than not, this means taking your company’s message to a combination of outlets.  

In conclusion, you can make money from social media, but it depends on the strategy you implement according to the results you expect. That is, you won’t generate business just by setting up a facebook page… but you can certainly  make it work to your benefit once you set out a clear plan of action.

On the other hand,  in order to keep control of social media so it doesn’t take over your life, be sure to choose a specific combination of social media that will work for your goals and be appreciated by your market. Also, choose a tone and message that you will implement as consistently as possible.

CIS 

carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing