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


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Opinion: The Future of Affordable Housing in Vancouver

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The real estate industry has many parts, and one of the most interesting sides of the industry is the one run by non-profits and charities. In Vancouver, where the high cost of living and a  housing supply that does not meet demand have made it the least affordable real estate market in North America, housing run by non-profits is all the more important. It is also a type of real estate I never gave a second thought to when I worked in the private sector. Today though, I see how non-profits have become indispensable in delivering homes to thousands of people the private market has left behind. The crazy thing is that people in need of affordable housing range from those with very limited income to professionals that would be considered to be earning a good living by standards elsewhere in the world – or even elsewhere in Canada.
The challenge for non-profits/charities is knowing whether to/how to expand, partner, further penetrate the market or transfer assets to organizations better positioned to meet the challenges of the current market. Building is a long and costly process. On top of that you can add a tax regime that does not clearly recognize the need for affordable housing providers to build-up the cash reserves needed to maintain and replace real estate assets (think redevelopment or roofs and elevator replacements). It’s not like after responsibly breaking even over a number of years you can quickly raise $800,000 + to fix leaking pipes causing unsafe moldy environments for tenants. After all, being “not for profit” does not mean you can be “for loss” when people depend on you for shelter.
Many organizations are looking to rise to the challenge of building more affordable housing – including some community-based organizations that have never operated housing. In order to do this, most are looking to form strategic partnerships. Partnerships in this realm must take into account needs that go beyond building homes. It requires building capacity for effective long-term management of assets and clients under circumstances that are more complex than those faced by the private market. Furthermore, not every partnership is appropriate. Even with powerful partners, many longstanding operators are struggling to maintain the housing stock they have.

Entering into the (no-for-profit) business of building and operating affordable housing in today’s market requires the willingness to look for non-traditional partners. Even though there are promising initiatives from the provincial and federal governments, long-term success will still require taking the time to vet and let go of potential partnerships and funding offers until the right ones are found. Entering the realm of affordable housing requires a commitment to creativity and perseverance. It also requires stepping back and moving away from knee-jerk reactions in order to plan for long-term solutions.

In Vancouver, several organizations are now in the process of delivering affordable units. There is still a huge and growing need.  Yet, the situation and top-of-mind interest from the community is setting the stage for non-market housing providers to become a driving force in the delivery of housing solutions.

Carolina Ibarra, BA, MSSc

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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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Mazatlan Will Build On Successes Of September’s Western Canada Tour

Mazatlan Hotel Association representatives will return to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver in October to meet with travel agents and trade media; as well as provide a training seminar to WestJet Vacations reservations staff.

Vancouver, B.C. – September 27th, 2010 – A delegation of Mazatlan’s tourism industry executives and government officials recently concluded a tour of Western Canada within the framework of Mexico Fest and the Addison Travel Trade Shows. In an effort to build on the successes of the September tour, Mazatlan Hotel Association representatives will return to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on October 13, 14, and 15 respectively.

During the recent tour, the delegation met with travel agents and Canadian travel industry partners. “Travel agents and our travel partners were very interested to learn more about Mazatlan’s infrastructure and the new travel circuits we are promoting to the surrounding magical towns,” said Francisco de la Vega Aragon, State Secretary of Tourism.  In response, Mazatlan Hotel Association representatives will host breakfast seminars for travel agents and trade media. The group will also host a training seminar for WestJet Vacations reservations staff.

“Just as our Canadian travel partners have expressed their commitment to Mazatlan as an important holiday destination, we are committed to sharing the best of Mazatlan with Canadians,” Said Julio Birrueta, Director of Marketing for the Mazatlan Hotel Association. “We will continue to work towards strengthening our relationship with the Canadian travel industry.”  For more information about the October events for travel agents and travel media please visit: www.clearingcalendar.ca

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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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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Thousands of Vancouverites Embraced Mazatlan at Mexico’s Ultimate Fiesta

 The Mexico Independence Fiesta, a part of Mexico Fest, took place on Saturday September 11th at Thurlow Plaza and featured Mazatlan. As the rain fell on the dramatic stage framed by the North Shore Mountains, the event inspired nostalgia in Snow Birds and Mexican-Canadians alike.

Michael and Helen Peligal

Michael and Helen Peligal

 Michael Peligal and Helen Wong started going to Mazatlan thirty years ago. They returned to Mazatlan year after year as they became close friends with many locals. Now they own a place in Mazatlan.

 “The local people are phenomenal,” says Michael. “The climate is great, the food is wonderful and it’s just relaxing. All the things you read about that are going on in Mexico, you just don’t feel them when you are there … Mazatlan is a great city.”

 Michael and Helen stay informed about Mazatlan while they are in Vancouver. They participate in events Mexico organizes on the Lower Mainland and they are not alone. Thousands of Vancouverites flocked to the Fiesta and many donned traditional Mexican embroidered clothing and sombreros. Partygoers braved the evening rain to sing the Canadian and Mexican national anthems as both countries’ flags stood side by side on the main stage. The crowd sang, danced, ate and cheered as anyone would at a good Mexican fiesta.   

Celebrating at Thurlow Plaza in Vancouver, B.C.

Celebrating at Thurlow Plaza in Vancouver, B.C.

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 travellers that visits Mazatlan is Canadian. The city, State Tourism Board, and the Mazatlan Hotel Association are thrilled to bring a part of Mazatlan to Vancouver as a preview to the winter season. For more information visit: www.gomazatlan.com


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Sinclair and Ruiz Will Cover Mexico’s Bicentennial Celebrations in Vancouver

Sinclair and Ruiz is proud to announce our team has been hired to provide PR services during Mexico Fest inVancouver. Mexico Fest, taking place from September 7th to the 17th, is a series of events dedicated to celebrating the 200 year anniversary of Mexico’s independence.  Mexico Fest includes cultural events, a golf tournament, gala dinner, and a Mexican Fiesta with traditional  music and food.

The featured destination for Mexico Fest is Mazatlan. The resort city draws thousands of Canadians to its beaches each year. Mazatlan, known for its rich cultural heritage as well as its attributes as a tourist destination, will be adding its own flavour to the festivities with music and dancers. The city, State Tourism Board, and the Mazatlan Hotel and Motel Association are happy to bring a part of Mazatlan to Vancouver as a preview to the winter season, which is when most Canadians flock south.

The event is organized by the Mexican Consulate in Vancouver with support from the Mexico Tourism Board and the Trade Commisison.

Stay posted for further details, press releases and pictures.

For information contact mauricio@sinclairandruiz.com 1-866-836-8797 Ext.2


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S&R: a consultancy for integrated marketing strategies

Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies. www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing

Here are a few facts about our work:

  • We analyze markets, assess progress and business processes in order to improve performance.
  • S&R designs highly targeted campaigns that focus on ROI, marketing-for-leads and branding.
  • Our experience includes working with private companies, tourism boards, associations and public-private sector co-ops.
  • S&R campaigns reach Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
  • Our team’s client retention average is 4 years +.

In the following blogs we will discuss different marketing topics and address frequent questions about event management, new media, design and others. We’ll offer tips and provide anecdotes you might relate to.

But for today, I say welcome to our blog!

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing