What I didn’t know about the 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2014

911 Memorial

We were very recently in New York (late August 2014) and on a very sunny, gorgeous Saturday we decided to visit the 9/11 Memorial site, which is nearly fully completed.

We had mixed feelings about going there as it feels a little ghoulish and after all when you are on holidays do you really want to visit some place that could upset you?

For those who haven’t been there the site is dominated by a nearly complete huge new building, One World Trade Centre, which will be the tallest office building in the US soon to be occupied by thousands of workers. Alongside this building there are other smaller new office buildings along with the Memorial, which consists of two pools set in the footprint of the original twin towers with a museum close-by. These pools feature 30 foot waterfalls each descending into a centre void. The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets, which surround the pools.

The idea is simple and impactful even though  I felt the centre voids were quite depressing and should instead have captured something more positive and uplifting. This didn’t stop the huge crowds visiting and taking photos, some strangely posing as if it were an exotic holiday location and not a place where victims were being remembered.

The whole development unfortunately turned out to be a well documented troublesome political football. The final design was selected through an international competition that received 5,210 submissions. This must have been an impossible task – how can you properly and respectfully remember the victims. highlight  the awfulness of the attacks and at the same time capture a resilient and positive spirit that will comfort and inspire all who visit?

Much of what I saw I was expecting but a few things really surprised me, which I felt were really worth sharing.

The Victims

The memorial features the victims of both the September 2001 attack and the attack on 26th February, 1993. In 2001 there were 2,977 victims from over 90 nations. The oldest was 85 years old and the youngest was two. More than 400 of these were first responders who died performing their jobs. Six people died in the 1993 attack.

Meaningful adjacencies

When we walked around the two pools we noticed that there seemed to be no obvious sequence to the names that were inscribed on the surrounding bronze parapets. Reading the names you get a sense of the huge mix of nationalities that were working together on that tragic morning including plenty of Irish names. Some names had flowers inserted in between the lettering and some of the names were women who were carrying unborn children who were specifically mentioned, which was very poignant bringing home the reality of these terror attacks.

We discovered that the names were arranged carefully based on what was described as ‘layers of meaningful adjacencies‘. People’s names were arranged depending on where they were on 9/11 and the relationships they shared with others who were killed on that day, honouring requests from victim’s families for specific names to be next to each other.

This must have been a very complicated undertaking but it is a beautiful sentiment that reflects the togetherness of the victims and their surviving families.

Survivor Tree, 911 memorial

The Survivor Tree

In between and around the two pools there are swamp white oak (I read the brochure!) trees carefully planted softening the whole area. In the middle of all of this there is one particular tree, which is a little different as it stands there with some unusual straps and supports around it.

This tree is a Callery pear tree, which was found after 9/11 by the workers who were clearing the wreckage at ground zero. At this point in time it was reduced to a eight-foot-tall stump. This stump was nursed back to health in a New York City park and with much care it grew to 30 feet sprouting new branches..

There is a discrete little sign near this tree, which is rooted in its new home and it is attracting a lot of attention. Many of the visitors take photos near the tree but there is a huge desire by everyone to touch the ‘survivor tree‘. We touched it ourselves and it feels strangely reassuring and uplifting as it embodies the story of survival, resilience and hope.

In some way maybe this simple tree is the very best way to remember the 2,983 people who perished in 1993 and 2001?              

The 9/11 memorial site will no doubt attract millions of tourists every year reflecting on the victims names around the two pools and reliving the tragic events as shown in the memorial museum. Next to them the offices will once again fill up with thousands of ‘suits‘ going about their busy jobs, just as the victims did before them showing how the world and New York does move on.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Strawberry Fields forever?

September 2, 2014

Imagine - Central Park

Four days in New York …where do you start?

We were staying quite close to Central Park so that was a good place to start. Looking at our tour guide I was drawn to a quiet little area called Strawberry Fields, which was described in our guide book as a peaceful spot dedicated to John Lennon who was murdered close-by outside his New York apartment, the Dakota building in 1980.

Interesting ..

Off we headed on foot winding left and right through the park in between joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and even cars … Through the park there were footpaths and wider roads all winding in different directions. Eventually we exited the park and this maze of roads and paths onto the Upper West Side and decided to first find the Dakota building, his apartment which was located directly opposite the Strawberry Fields location in the park.

Yoko Ono still lives in this opulent apartment building, which looks majestically over Central Park. The friendly security guards in their smart grey uniforms stand for photos in front of the impressive building for tourists… behind them you can see the obvious wealth and you can just ‘imagine‘ what it was like having famous neighbours John and Yoko pass you everyday going about their everyday business.

We passed on taking photos (tacky!) and headed across the way into the park and within two minutes we were at ‘Strawberry Fields‘ which effectively is a discreet circular mosaic set into the walkway with the words ‘Imagine‘ in the centre. People were walking by, some were stopping and taking photos, taking it in turn to stand on the mosaic and others were sitting on the park benches located next to the mosaic taking it all in.

An enterprising busker was sitting on one of the benches in prime position next to the mosaic playing (quite badly!) one Beatles cover after another.

Yoko Ono donated the mosaic in memory of her husband and it gives us all a tangible way of remembering this talented, thought provoking Liverpudlian and reflecting on the needless violence that ended his life.

John LennonJohn Lennon wanted us to ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ as he sang in his immortal song of the same name that became an anthem for the anti-war movement in America in the 1970’s.

In the mosaic the word ‘Imagine‘ reminds us of his message in that timeless song of how simple life could be if we just lived in harmony:

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…..”

Just as we quietly reflected on John Lennon and his simple messages of peace we heard raised voices.

What the f**k, you have been here for an hour man, you know we all get an hour. Now it’s my turn so get the f**k out of here

Apparently busking here is lucrative business and the busker next in the rota wasn’t going to lose out to the guy who had prime position. He wasn’t shy either and gave the other guy as good as he got:

F**k you man

The mood was now quite aggressive and these two had no bother putting on a performance for all of us that was slightly against the spirit of John Lennon!

We politely moved on before the temperature rose any further and went about our day and wondered if John Lennon’s simple idea of living in harmony is just impossible?

Isis. the Ukraine, human nature, consider what’s going on in the world today ….maybe we just can’t help ourselves?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Bird in the sky

September 2, 2014

plane in the sky

Today I am that bird in the sky phenomenally shooting through the air at high speed ..look up it’s me up there!

We have no control as we sit here taking for granted the technology, the skill, the craft and the engineering that has us seemingly suspended but in reality powering at high speed towards JFK Airport in New York.

There is nothing anyone of us can do but hand ourselves over and trust in the journey, that we will all be taken there together for whatever our reason… Going home, going on holidays, going on business, visiting friends, visiting family ..we are all in it together.

We’ve had the drinks and the pretzels, we’ve had the chicken sweet and sour, we’ve had the coffee and the ice cream and we’ve watched the movie.

The guy sitting next to me is a New Yorker travelling with his family after 12 days in Ireland playing golf and visiting different spots. The poor fella accidentally forgot to pay for petrol near the airport and they tracked him down just before take off …he was mortified as he scrambled for euros. He is a member of Ballybunion Golf Club but just got to play a few holes, he did Doonbeg and he stayed in Kildare for a few days and spent one day in Killarney.

Plane - view from the cabin

He was pleasantly surprised by Killarney and he would come back ….the last time he was there in the eighties he swore never again but it had changed just like the rest of Ireland. The last time he was in Ireland he reckoned all the young people were emigrating. He’s going to take tomorrow (Friday) off work and make it a long weekend.

He spots my ‘Rough guide to New York‘ and helpfully scribbles out a 5 day itinerary of places we should visit ..it’s a cracking list and we must try our best to do it.

We watch a great movie ‘About Time‘ about family, fathers and sons and being able to go back in time …. There’s no controlling time here, we just have to go with it even though we are going back 5 hours!

We are meeting our buddy Ciara who is celebrating her 40th birthday, we are meeting Jane Maas, the New York ad legend, the author of ‘Mad Women‘ for brunch on Sunday and we are hooking up with my brother Colin and his family who are living in New Jersey. He is working in New York so we are meeting him for a pint when we get in …how cool is that?!

He’s been there for 20 years and it’s sad that any of your family are so far away. I love him to bits but often I do sadly feel ‘out of sight out of mind‘ kicks in and we have all missed out on so much together.

We were busy up until the minute we left closing off on some various client things, finishing a proposal that must be submitted tomorrow and caught up in so many other ‘life‘ things.

For now we must leave it all behind because there is nothing we can do but sit with so many others including my helpful New Yorker and let that bird in the sky take us on our journey.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

SEO and the impact on your brand

August 31, 2014

Jeff Bezoz, Amazon - Branding quote

A Simple test ….do a Google search using the keywords that describe what your organisation does and see how your website performs.

Crisis PR in Ireland’ , ‘PR firms in Dublin‘ …. Do your own search for your relevant keywords and see what happens. Include your location in the search, which is what most people normally do when they are searching.

From a business point of view it makes clear sense that if someone is looking for what your organisation is offering that they find you easily online. The very best way is for your website to perform for these ‘key‘ searches organically or naturally. If this is not the case your website is more than likely not properly optimised.

If you have done all you can to optimise your website and it is still not performing well enough then it makes sense to implement a Google Adwords campaign to ensure your website is appearing for ‘key’ searches in a prominent position.

While your website performance is essential for business is this the only reason your site should perform well for searches?

I feel another big reason your website should perform well is that it is an integral part of your overall brand. This might seem like an unusual reason at first as we normally thing of ‘descriptors‘ when we discuss someone’s brand attributes.

Jeff Bezoz of Amazon described a brand as ‘what other people say about you when you are not in the room‘. While it might be up to others to describe you this can clearly be shaped by how you portray your organisation through your actions, behaviours, products, services and all the visual cues or representations of your brand.

Your website plays a key role in this, not just in how it appears but also where it appears when searched for.

It’s difficult to appear as a ‘leader in the sector‘ if a random Google search for the services and products you provide has you appearing well below your competitors or possibly so far back on the search results you are not found at all.

If this is the case you need to optimise your website, which is mostly a very straight forward but methodical process and if necessary support this with Google Adwords pay per click advertising.

The opposite is also the case and with a well optimised site it is possible to take on the big guys who normally dominate in your sector.

Where you appear is just as important as how you appear!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide online consultancy and website optimisation services from our offices in Dublin and Cork in Ireland

15 Incredible social media tricks to send your campaigns into orbit!

August 24, 2014

Orbit

The whole team are busy working on a plan for a ‘hot prospect‘ that we would love to win.

We brainstorm together. first ensuring we all understand the brief, and then we agree the key objectives and what we need to achieve by the plan. We then assign the different parts of the plan to the different team members who are best suited for each element and we go to work.

Often I will work out the social media strategy and the plan for the ‘new client‘ and when all our different parts are done we reconvene and review the collective plan making sure all parts work together – Fuzion!

I went off and worked on a plan that I felt would work for this new client who were targeting a stylish, cool and savvy social media audience.

My crew pulled me aside and told me my they thought my plan was boring – “the client have big expectations from you around social media and we need to ‘wow’ them. What you have put together is boring and won’t achieve that wow“. Ouch ..that was harsh!

Now here is the dilemma ….everyone wants the big trick, the big wow, the magic moment that sends their plan into orbit but I find 100% of the time that you will never ever get near the possibility of this happening unless you first get the basics right. In particular with this target audience I also felt they would see any tricks and gimmicks as trying too hard.

Unfortunately the big trick is actually doing the boring basics right and being diligent enough to do this consistently day in day out, including those days when you are up the walls and your social media posts seem trivial and a waste of precious time. Because I believe this I find it hard to pop out tricks and gimmicks in a genuine plan.

I guess I wrote a social media plan for this prospect that was designed to succeed, which probably did read as very boring and ‘trickless‘ but unfortunately that’s what I believed was needed.

In a way there were huge ‘tricks’ in the plan even if they appear boring:

  1. Get your objectives and key messages right and stick to them
  2. Concentrate on the main social media platforms and until you have these up and running properly forget about the others
  3. Make sure all the key imagery used is strong and supports these objectives
  4. Have a clear follower strategy
  5. Post regularly and at times when you know your target audience are watching – that isn’t once a day!
  6. Make sure that the posts are well balanced covering all of your key messages
  7. Stop selling, be helpful, craft your posts so that your unique personality shines through
  8. Use great and natural photos that show the best, authentic version of the organisation and not something plucked out of a corporate brochure
  9. Apply some advertising budget to carefully push your message out to the target audience
  10. Don’t always talk about yourself and start interacting with others
  11. Listen to your target audience and get the ball rolling with your followers
  12. Write blog posts that really show your unique personality and not just facts
  13. Train your internal team so they can look after your social media (always the best option)
  14. Organise your team so that social media activity is always looked after
  15. Keep doing it!

Reluctantly I agreed to a ‘wow’ social media brainstorm with the team and we did add a few quirky ideas, gimmicks and tricks because if we want to ‘wow’ them we have to give them what they expect but I did make sure the real ‘tricks’ were still in the plan.

When they master the real ‘big tricks’ those ‘wow moments’ will occur naturally and then they will be ready to fly into orbit!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Reputation starts from the inside

August 18, 2014

You're Fired

I really was upset for my good friend after listening to the story of his exit from a place where he had worked for 15 years.

To say he worked there was an understatement – he was synonymous with the place. He was well regarded within the industry and anytime you heard the name of the Irish branch of this international blue chip professional services organisation you would automatically think of him.

He had a senior role there and had for many years. Work, work, work was his life regularly punching in late nights winning and working on some of the best accounts, one’s we would all dream about having on our client list.

The company he worked for have a really good reputation and are well known as being one of the best in the country and internationally within their sector.

We suspected that there was a change within the international organisation and our small but profitable Irish branch was attracting more scrutiny than usual” he explained

On a nothing Monday in April this year he was asked to meet with some guy he didn’t know from the UK at 4pm. “I have a client meeting at that time, can we do another time?” “No, get the client to meet you another time” he was told.

4pm arrived and this person from the UK he barely knew quickly gave him the corporate blurb about realignment of the organisation, changing trends and by the way.. “we are making your role redundant“.

The language was very careful: He wasn’t being made redundant but his role was and together they would enter a six week consultation process to see how best to accommodate his undoubted talents in the organisation. A senior role in a far flung destination was quickly mentioned.

Shell shocked after this out of the blue news my friend returned to his desk to punch in a few more hours work before heading home. To his shock and dismay his email had been disconnected along with his company phone!

4pm was ‘action stations‘ and the organisation was ruthless in ensuring there was zero risk to them just in case my buddy reacted badly to the news.

Confused and heartbroken he called some of his senior colleagues and good friends within the business to discuss what happened – the worst part of this story is that not one of them returned a call, a text message or an email. They had obviously been briefed.

Of course he took legal advice on-board and was told he had an incredible case against the organisation but it would be drawn out, upsetting and there was a small risk that if it went wrong in any way it could be costly. He also considered his own reputation and felt that if he sued his employer it could be the ‘kiss of death‘ regards trying to find another job in the sector.

A ‘chancer‘ wouldn’t have thought twice about a legal case.

Instead he decided the best course of action was to finish up immediately, avoid the 6 weeks of nonsense and he instructed his solicitor to make contact with the firm and negotiate a settlement.

To me the worst negotiation of all time took place and my friend managed to get statutory redundancy and six months pay on the condition that he couldn’t work in the industry for this period.

Ironically it was his clients that tracked him down and offered him best wishes for the future and hoped to work with him again. Even worse the business had to explain to new clients who had been pitched to by my friend that the person they thought would be doing the work was no longer there.

Sadly, there was no leaving party for my buddy, not even a quiet dinner with some of his close colleagues and friends.

I questioned him about this ..how was this possible?

That’s just the way it is in big organisations and I guess we have to accept it. All of my close colleagues would have been nervous of their own positions by interacting with me. It’s just business”

I had a peep at the companies website and I saw words such as ‘pioneering spirit’, ‘commitment’, ‘our people’, ‘thought leadership‘ and the best of all was in one of the service offerings  ‘we help to foster strong relationships between management and employees‘.

There is always cause and effect ..

..his colleagues have learnt a new lesson about where they work, his clients have also witnessed something quite brutal with someone they knew and trusted and suddenly it is quite a different place. Who is next for the royal treatment? Somehow there is a sting in the tail coming down the track when Mr Karma works his magic.

Logically, rationally, humanely you can’t treat good, loyal, trustworthy people like that just because you have a change of heart about how you want to operate your business ..then again, maybe you can?

For all of us we need to decide how we want to behave and how we want to operate our businesses, how we treat people, most importantly our own teams, our clients and suppliers. Maybe it is more than just business?

Reputation starts from the inside ..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

For the people who colour outside the lines

August 9, 2014

Moriartys, Gap of Dunloe

I had a fascinating chat with Phil Cullen, the Mountain Man himself who is the really nice guy who started the Mountain Man Brewery in a place that I had never heard of before, Renanirree in Cork. Apparently it is somewhere in the Gaeltacht area with Macroom being the nearest town.

I met Phil at the official launch of the spectacular Heather Restaurant at Moriarty’s at the foothills of the Gap of Dunloe. We were privileged to be looking after the PR for the Moriarty’s new venture and Phil was one of the many artisan local producers that feature in the restaurant who were showcasing their wares as part of the event. If you get a chance at all take a spin to this fantastic restaurant in a breathtaking location and enjoy some incredible food. The team of Denis Pio, Ailish and Jennifer have created a real gem in the KIngdom of Kerry.

Phil, a civil engineer by profession has followed his passion like so many other craft brewers that seem to be exploding onto the market in Ireland. The collapse of the building trade made it easy for this enthusiastic home brewer to make the move and start the business in the Derrynasaggart Mountains in 2012.

Phil Cullen, Mountain Man BrewingPhil who had been home brewing for 11 years, saw an explosion of micro-breweries in Canada where he lived for a few years and the return to Celtic Tiger Ireland in 2005 just before the ‘wheels fell off‘ turned out to be perfect timing for him and his new venture.

Take one peep at the website for Mountain Man Brewing and it captures both his unique spirit and the spirit of revolution that is starting to take hold in Ireland.

We are fed up of the same, we crave things that are not only different but that are genuinely authentic.

We want this in our food, we want this in our drink. we want it in our music, we want it where we visit, we want it where we stay, where we eat, where we drink and we want it in our entertainment.

I believe there is a huge movement back to things that are real and authentic, which for me is all about appreciating craft and produce that is made with passion but it is also a rejection of all things ‘plastic‘ that poisoned us during the reckless, commercial, greedy and very shallow Celtic Tiger era.

We are getting back to so many things that are really important and in many ways rejecting some of the awfulness that was allowed to creep into our Ireland.

We can even see this in the latest trends with Irishmen. Phil’s beard might be something you would expect in the hills of Derrynasaggart but now we are seeing this ‘back to nature‘ look on our city streets everywhere!

I was telling Phil how a Guinness Sales Director said to me about 20 years ago when I was working there that he was surprised that more was not being made about the ‘Craft of Irish beer‘ at the time. This new director, just in from the UK could not understand how more was not being made of the craft and heritage and was surprised that the Guinness company wasn’t grabbing this more …he was right!

While Guinness always explored new products the priority was always the big prize with big volumes of big brands and in some ways less choice may have been an easier option.

Phil mentioned that he toured one of the big breweries and he asked the brewmaster some question about alternative brews. He was surprised when the brewmaster replied that brewing this one product was all that he knew.

Can you imagine turning up everyday and producing exactly the same thing over and over with no variation to an exact formula, which is the case with most of what we consume. The opposite sounds like heaven where you can experiment with ingredients, try different blends always bringing out something new.

Food from Heather Restaurant, Moriartys, Gap of DunloePhil quickly reminded me that the skills of that brewmaster are also essential as you do need the guys who understand how to produce quality consistently, which is just as important with craft beers.

While we love difference we need it to be reliable!

The tagline on Phil’s website perfectly sums up the spirit of Mountain Man, the Moriarty’s, the artisans, and anyone trying something new “Beer for people who colour outside the lines“.

Are you colouring outside the lines?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

The best of fun is the worst of tears

July 29, 2014

The best of fun is the worst of tears” is what I used say to my kids when I was dragging them away from a party or a friends house where they were having lots of fun.

When they were older I’d use it when they would get upset when my brother was returning to the States or someone else that was close to them was leaving.

My simple point to them was that the reason they were so upset is that they cared so much ..if they didn’t care or weren’t having so much fun then leaving would be no issue so in a way getting upset was just a sign that they experienced something great and was actually a good thing!

Today I sadly had to use it again when my daughter Ellen rang all upset because she had to say goodbye to her precious dog, ‘Paws‘ who has been in her life for most of it because the poor pet who is 13 had picked up cancer and was starting to suffer.

 

Paws and Ellen

Ellen isn’t a kid anymore but her tears today were bigger and sadder than the ones she used to shed years ago ..sadly there was nothing I could do except talk about the joy and love she shared with Paws, how Paws was such a special dog and was lucky to have been in such a loving home and how her memories of Paws will last forever.

Paws, thank you for showing my daughter so much love and for bringing her so much happiness.

The Best of Fun is the worst of tears” ..she knew what I meant.

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

The Cobbler and Upselling

July 28, 2014

The Cobbler

Why didn’t he tell me the shoes needed new soles when I got the heels done?

Its a big pain in the butt to bring your shoes with you in a bag, take them to the cobblers, store your ticket and return a few days later to collect them.

When I took them to him the soles looked ok so I just asked him to do the heels.

Just a week later a hole appears on the sole of my just repaired shoes and we go through the whole routine again..very annoying!

Surely he spotted that the soles were weak and needed to be done? Why didn’t he tell me?

In a world where we are all encouraged to up-sell is he crazy, losing easy business I wonder?

Has this wise cobbler learnt from years of experience that he is better off just doing what the customer has asked for instead of suggesting extra things that may be needed and leaving the customer with the possible view that they are always being ‘sold‘ something and maybe not returning?

I would have liked to have avoided the unnecessary nuisance of returning a second time but I did wonder how I would have felt if he was suggesting some extra work that wasn’t that obvious to me.

- If the customer trusts you they will accept your recommendation

- If the customer hasn’t built up trust with you they may feel like they are being pressurised into spending more money unnecessarily and you may lose the sale

- Until your customer trusts you do your best to point out the hole.

If the hole isn’t that obvious you might be better doing a great job on the heel and they will be back ..

What do you think?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Big brands and the shopping bag test

July 14, 2014

Shopping Bags

We pop the boot open and the usual process of fishing out a bag or two to do our shopping starts.

I really hate having to do a big ‘weekly shop‘ so most of our shopping is done as required. The store we normally find ourselves at is Quish’s SuperValu where the staff are really friendly and it is the closest one to our home. While the selection of stock isn’t always too hectic it is a handy store for us and shopping there never feels like a chore.

When I pop the boot open I have to quickly grab a bag or two and I’m surprised how this simple exercise shows me how I feel about the different retailer brands and the ones I align with most.

My first choice is the SuperValu bag – after all, thats the shop I am going into and I feel its a good thing to bring a bag from the same store with you. It must drive a store manager nuts to see shoppers entering or leaving their store carrying a competitors shopping bag with them. I know it would really irritate me if a client came to us with some POS or other material from a competitor.

I also love the SuperValu franchise model and I feel this owner operator ethos leads to friendly community orientated stores often including a support and buy local agenda.

My next choice is the Marks & Spencer bag. This surprises me as I always like to support Irish but I do admire their dedication to quality food and I guess I am happy for that to be part of ‘my personal brand‘ as I do my shopping.

The M&S choice probably makes me look like a snob but my next bag choice would be either Aldi or Lidl. To be honest I can’t differentiate between either of these brands and regularly get them mixed up. I really don’t enjoy the shopping experience in these stores but I admire the simple value proposition and huge strides seem to have been made with quality and there seems to be a genuine effort to buy Irish. The adverts are working!

My next choice is Tesco. As a brand it still leaves me cold, with no stand out proposition but I do admire their Irish producers programme in conjunction with Bord Bia. Even though their share performance has been suffering they seem to believe that the Irish producers strategy will play a big role in winning in Ireland.

Bord Bia Tesco Supplier Development Programme

They are doing some great work with Irish producers improving their operations so they can do more business with Tesco.

My very last choice is the Dunnes Stores bag. Why is an Irish company, the one I should logically have an allegiance to, be the one that I connect with least? I really don’t get their brand proposition, I don’t understand it, I don’t see them connecting locally like SuperValu and nationally I don’t see any noise about supporting Irish – they could be the best at this but if they are I don’t know about it.

I know this is just my view and that my simple ‘picking a bag from the boot‘ analysis isn’t very scientific but then I look at the latest market shares in Ireland published in May 2014 and reported in the Irish Independent and see how closely aligned the reality is to my feelings.

German retailers Aldi and Lidl have continued to snap at the heels of Dunnes Stores, with the pair now commanding a combined 17.1pc share of Ireland’s multi-billion euro grocery market

Tesco retained its top ranking, but remains under pressure. Its market share fell 4.1pc to 26.3pc in the latest period, while Dunnes Stores also saw its position further weakened. Its share slipped 1.3pc to 21.6pc

SuperValu the chain controlled by the Cork-based Musgrave group – continues to snap at Tesco’s heels. Its share of the market, which includes its now rebranded Superquinn chain, rose 0.5pc to 25.1pc, confirming its second place in the supermarket wars

Industry insiders said the latest figures will be another wake-up call for both Tesco and Dunnes Stores in particular

Maybe Tesco and Dunnes Stores should do the shopping bag test?

How do customers feel when they pick up a bag from your store?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 


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