Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

Do you need to change your uniform?

June 16, 2014

Clothes Rack

I decided I better wear a suit for the day as we had a meeting with quite a senior group who most definitely would be wearing suits – I’ll always try to make sure it is a sharp suit with something just a little bit different going on. I won’t wear a tie as this is a step too far for me and at this stage I would feel uncomfortable wearing one.

This accountant turned marketer starting wearing suits at 17 in the accountancy practice and wore them for 21 years in my financial and general management roles within the high-tech and drinks industry. When I finally stopped working for others I stopped wearing this ‘uniform’ as I had enough.

I guess this was the appropriate ‘uniform’ for this meeting and if I wasn’t somewhat ‘uniform’ I might run the risk of giving the impression that I wasn’t taking my role seriously and I would have felt a little awkward within myself.

Later in the day I had to give a training course and later again we had to conduct a workshop for a project we were working on.

For the training course I was fine but I did feel just a little out of sorts because I wasn’t dressed in my usual way – I removed my jacket, which made me feel less formal and more appropriate.

The workshop was a totally different story – I was presenting with two other guys, each of us in our suits, quite ‘uniform’ but when the session started you just knew the group participating in the session were looking at us as we were different. Somehow we were ‘the establishment’, different to them and I felt it might have created a barrier and it could have changed the dynamic of the session.

I stood there quietly cursing my suit and wished I was in my more usual uniform, which is a smart trendy jacket/blazer with neat jeans and shoes – this is the real me (or at least it has become me and its the ‘me’ I am most comfortable and confident projecting).

After the session we went for a drink and a debrief and again I wished I wasn’t in my suit.

Was I being silly, was this all in my head or taking it to its limit should I have brought a second outfit to work with me that day to make sure that my ‘uniform’ always told the right story to my audience and most importantly made me feel more comfortable with them?

I remember a friend of mine who was working in the purchasing department of a large multinational telling me that they hated it when their suppliers would arrive dressed casually for meetings – she knew this was a little unfair because their own dress code was casual but it did work against the supplier.

When I was in Guinness in Dublin they introduced a causal Friday – while this created a more relaxed atmosphere I must admit that attitude towards work did become more relaxed as well.

Casual Friday

Could a slight change of uniform change one from being a ‘typical’ accountant, solicitor, graphic designer or whatever to someone who stands out a little?

In Fuzion we were interviewing for graphic designers recently and one poor guy arrived for interview in a suit and tie, looking more like an accountant than a designer. Maybe his mother killed him when he was heading out the door that morning in his cool t-shirt , jeans and Converse runners and insisted that he dress properly for his interview.

Somehow it was really hard to get past that he was wearing the wrong ‘uniform’ and you had to work hard to jump over those first and important impressions to discover his personality and capability.

With our clients we advise that their branding, websites, social media pages, marketing materials, vehicle livery and all other visual demonstrations of their organisation must tell the best story about them – we often buy with our eyes and those first impressions are vital. Are we any different?

What story are you telling about yourself today?

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

Searching for Gold in the world of Glamour

March 22, 2014

Panning for Gold

Is there one thing that you can do can that can help you find gold for your business?

Back in 2001 I had this crazy idea for an event – how about getting the best models in Ireland, with the best fashion brands, adding in a beauty exhibition area, spicing it up with some entertainment and then taking this on tour to the best hotels in the country in major locations?

I woke in the early hours of the morning with this crazy idea, insisted that I explained it to Dee before I forgot it and then I turned around and went back to sleep.

Soon after that we met Michael Doherty the owner of VIP magazine who liked the idea – if we went ahead with the event he would come on board as a Media Partner.

That was the last piece of encouragement we needed and from that conversation “Catwalks” was born. Both Dee and I had the job of bringing Ireland’s most glamourous fashion and beauty event on tour around the country.

Blossom Hill CatwalksWe met model agencies, we chose models, we chose a fashion show producer, we met staging companies, we booked hotels, we chose menus. we set up a lo-call number, we developed a brand and we sold the idea to top national brands and before we knew it we had six dates booked around Ireland – all we needed now was to sell tickets to the women around the country. Simple!

We went back to Michael Doherty and sure enough as promised he agreed to be our media partner. He believed in our event but he also agreed that it was a great fit for VIP magazine and it’s readers. He boldly predicted that the very first double page advert in VIP magazine, would effectively sell out the event.

When we heard this we were delighted – if that was the case our events would be a huge success, we would make money and there would be little need for all the other planned promotional activity.

The day that issue of VIP magazine hit the shelves across the country we braced ourselves. Our phone was manned and we waited for the avalanche of women booking tickets for this first of it’s kind event. We’ll never forget the name Marie Carroll, a hairdresser from Tralee who rang and booked two tickets – Yes, we were up and running!

And that was it ….nothing for another two weeks.

Panic started to set in big time. Was this great idea such a great idea after all?

Our other advertising started including local radio and newspapers. We ran competitions, we managed to get media coverage through Dee’s PR skills including a great piece on TV. We sent flyers and posters to each of the participating hotels who promised to distribute them.

Slowly but surely we started to get bookings but not enough to take away that awful sense of panic.

Tony Hadley - Catwalks

We made a decision to hit the road and visit each of the locations where we were holding our events. When we went to a town we distributed large quantities of flyers and posters – we went into the boutiques, the hair salons, the beauty salons and any place where we felt we could grab the attention  of our target audience.

We handed out our flyers and posters and we could see the reaction of the women we handed these to. What was this event all about? We stopped and we chatted and we explained what it was all about. Boutiques asked could they participate – “If you buy a table at the event we will give you a segment of the fashion show” was our response. We shifted a lot of tickets through this simple mechanism.

We got a call from our girl manning the phones. “Where are you?” she asked “I’m getting lots of calls for tickets from Limerick“. We had just spent four hours hard slog in Limerick and were totally exhausted. My shoulder was nearly broken from the weight of the promotional material I had been carrying around the place.

This was the day we learnt some big lessons:

There is no one thing that will make the promotion of your event, initiative, product or service a success – It is the combination of everything.

The one absolutely essential ingredient for success was us working our socks off!

The events turned out to be a huge success and in total over a four year period we ran 72 separate shows with our final event being in Killarney with Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame closing it with an incredible version of “Gold“.

Gold….it is never easy to find!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Celebrate those individuals making it happen for themselves

May 14, 2012
Beata

Making it Happen

On our usual Sunday walk with the four legged one (Bing for those who haven’t seen previous posts!) a little poster caught my eye on the pole of a housing estate we walk through on the way to the park.

It was placed on a pole where you might expect a picture of a missing dog but when I peeped a little closer it was an advert for someone advertising their house cleaning services.

The poster was typed up with a simple cartoon graphic of a cleaning lady and housed inside a sheet of plastic to protect it from the elements and it had the contact phone number repeated on little vertical strips for those who wanted to tear them off to make an enquiry later.

I’m sure this simple poster with a clear message “A completely clean home – my cleaning services are thorough, consistent and customised. If you want to change your cleaning routine, Call me” will bring Beata the customers she is looking for.

I started thinking about Beata on the rest of my walk whoever she is.. I pictured her deciding to start her cleaning business to earn money, drafting up her posters, printing them, cutting the phone number strips, housing them in plastic covers and then walking around finding poles in the housing estates she was targeting. She had her mini campaign for her house cleaning service well thought out and there was a real honesty to how it was delivered.

Often we celebrate the big companies with the big job numbers and the vital role they are playing in our economy but we should also celebrate those out there who are digging deep, making things happen for themselves instead of sitting back and waiting on someone else or the state to look after them.

Beata and all the other startups , I Salute you!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are You Ready..?

January 9, 2012
Phil Lynott - This Lizzy

Are you Ready !!!!

I was 14, it was 1979 and I stood there in awe in a hot, sweaty and packed City Hall as Phil Lynott roared down at us with his fist shaking .. “Are You Ready?“.

Of course he was greeted by loud roars from the thousands of rockers. Again he roared “Are You Ready?” and he managed to increase the decibels even more from the devoted audience.

Once more he roared the same even louder and with the crowd now in a frenzy the band launched into an incredible version of the song “Are You Ready” and lifted the roof off the place!

I was mesmerised…to this day it must have been my best ever concert moment and it cemented my passion for music. Thank you Phil!

So, start of another year and to take a lesson from the Phil Lynott school of motivation … Are You Ready?

It’s a time for resolutions and of course we all have the very best of intentions so I just wanted to offer you a few of our Marketing & PR tips to help you on the way – if you’re as passionate as Phil about your business as he was about his music this will be valuable ..

  1. Positive Intent – before I go into all of the practical stuff it is vital that you have positive intent and that your let your team know that you want them to have the same. This should be the driving force behind every thing you do. You will be amazed the opportunities that come your way and will appear when you have this mindset.
  2. Get in the game on-line by being found – this is all about the low lying fruit. These are the prospective customers who are already looking for your products or services. Test it – try a few Google searches and see how your website performs (for example PR firms in Ireland should hopefully bring a listing for Fuzion). If you are not found for your priority keyword searches you need to optimise your website and maybe consider a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google to ensure the right people find you.
  3. On-line Communication – if you decide to communicate to all your customers, previous prospects and other contacts right now could you do it? If not consider adding an email newsletter service to your communications routine and let people know of changes to the business, new products, new services, awards and other news on a regular basis. This is easy to set up and it is easy to capture new contacts for your newsletter directly from your website. Consider doing this at least quarterly.
  4. Social Media – one of my buddies gave me some guidance recently gently advising that I was too concerned about on-line matters. I’m sorry, when I see an opportunity maybe I just point it out until I see it being grasped! On-line gives you an opportunity to amplify your existing efforts – In truth very few people in business today are using the popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook properly. There are a few who are thriving by using these very cleverly – thankfully we are one of these and to be honest we could always do even better. Social Media Consultancy is a thriving industry because there is a huge appetite to learn by those who have spotted the importance of this communication medium.
  5. Good stories – one of our motto’s at Fuzion with our clients is Never waste a Good Story. If there is good news happening in your business, if there are interesting personalities, if there are changes that should be publicised and great products then get them out there with a strong PR Plan. Every business has good stories – don’t waste them by not publicising them. PR can be a very effective and economical way of getting your message out there.
  6. The Mirror – have a good look in the mirror for your business. Does your branding, signage, website and other tangible visible elements properly reflect the essence and quality of your business, products and services? Right now take a glance at your business card! It may be time to refresh your branding and put your best foot forward.
  7. Advertising & Promotions – If you have pulled back on activity in this area then maybe it’s time to reconsider. There is terrific value to be had if you do this in a very planned way, securing great prices and also negotiating promotions and editorial coverage. There is a strong chance that your competitors have cut back on their activity – time to steal a march on them?
  8. Marketing Plan – Map out all of your Marketing & PR activity including your budgets for the year and share this with your team. Try to ensure that there is a constant stream of activity so that your business is always very visible with your target audience.
  9. Measure – Track the success of your activities, giving each of them a proper chance to seed so that you can properly assess their effectiveness. Flex your plan where necessary.
  10. Be Ready – Be ready to grab those new opportunities as they come along – they will!

Have a great year and we should leave the last word to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Paper doesn’t refuse ink!

March 26, 2011
Sheep Advertising

Baaad or Good idea?!

Paper doesn’t refuse ink

A website won’t refuse content

A photograph won’t refuse what you put in front of the camera

This week a client reminded me of his photo shoot a few years back where we pushed him out of the “comfort” zone and we managed a photo that was not only quite different, but one that really communicated what he was all about. To this day he is amazed by how many people notice and comment positively on the photo, which he still uses to this day.

Be careful with your content, whatever it is – make sure it gets you noticed and that it tells the right story about you and your business!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Broken Man – We need him now more than ever..

March 14, 2011
Helping the Broken Man

Helping the Broken Man

In he bounded about two years ago full of energy, enthusiasm and little bit of arrogance but full of confidence.

His plan was to launch a brand new product in a sector that he reckoned was totally under serviced but one that was growing in interest and importance. He was fully convinced about the viability of this project and needed our help to design and launch it in the marketplace. We were swept along by this guys enthusiasm and everyone in the team got behind the new project – it was really exciting.

The new product did come out, probably at the worst possible time – in the middle of 2009 when no one was taking a chance on anything new. Despite his enthusiasm and powers of persuasion the revenue targets were badly missed.

The product sold well in outlets where it was given a chance on the shelves but in most others it was returned within the week! That often happens with new products that battle for space on the retailers shelves. Product feedback was really superb by the few who actually managed to get their hands on it.

A second variant of the product was planned but never saw the light of day ..insufficient funds (funds were never an issue at the start of the project!)

Fast forward to 2011 ..

We did manage to get a few quid off what was owed to Fuzion but there was still a really large sum outstanding. I guessed the phone call would be a waste of time but in any case it had to be made..

..no answer, he’s probably not up to the conversation – can’t be easy. Two minutes later I get a call back and we have a really good chat.

His other business ventures had also ceased (construction sector), he didn’t have money for me just now but promised to pay when fortunes improved. His mortgage payments have slipped by a few months and he was now job hunting. There is nothing here for him he reckoned .. his preferred destination is Australia but he wouldn’t get a work visa so he guessed he would end up in Abu Dhabi. This would be difficult as he has two young kids.

He is a broken man, his world is in tatters – he is not the only one I have met recently.

The truth is this broken man is an entrepreneur, someone who is willing to take a chance, someone who will make things happen. Sometimes things go wrong but often they go right and they end up employing people and service providers in the process.

In Ireland we need the broken man now more than ever – if you meet him give him a break and encourage him to get on his feet again.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – David McCarthy, Independent (Cork South Central)

February 13, 2011
David McCarthy, Independent Candidate, Cork

David McCarthy - A Fresh approach?

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” (what does their tin say about them) review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!!

Candidate: David McCarthy, Independent for Reform (Cork South Central)

David’s literature didn’t actually come through my letter box but he came across my activity on-line and asked me to review his material – I must say, I like this positive approach – well done David!

Design and Layout (5)
David has opted for a 3 panel DL format, which allows him plenty of space to build his arguments and allow the reader a chance to properly assess what he is all about. The flyer is well designed and has taken quite a fresh approach – score 5

Photo (10)
This is a really good photo of David – he looks smart but also looks friendly and open. The photo captures a young man and it conveys to me a candidate that would have fresh ideas and energy as well as warmth. He is wearing a dark pin stripe suit (personally I think he is a little bit young for the “regulation” suit)  with a white shirt and plain red tie – maybe he wants to balance youth with seriousness: I would have dressed a little younger David. Would you trust this man? I think definitely, the photo screams of youth and freshness. Well done! – score 9

Contact Details (5)
He includes both his email address and his personal phone number on his flyer, as well his facebook and twitter pages and a link to his website. That puts David is a very progressive box and gives everyone an opportunity to really find out more about what he is like and what he is up to – score 5

Background (10)
David tells us plenty about himself here and you do get a sense of his personality. He has a lot of work done in the political arena supporting other candidates, which shows he does understand the process. He works in Communications but personally I would like to know what he is qualified at – if he were to get our vote what expertise would he bring to the party? It is clear that David is good at “making things happen” – he demonstrates this with the work he has done on his dads projects. I can see energy and commitment and someone who would work hard for things he believes in – score 8

Sales Pitch (10)
David explains why he is running, that it is not a time for sitting on the fence and he wants to offer an alternative voice – he outlines some clear ideas and policies and then asks the reader to empathise with the difficulty of being an “independent” candidate. His closing pitch is to give him a chance but he reminded me too much of the difficulty of being an independent – score 7

Big Picture (10)
The big picture arguments are well documented. David outlines point by point his policies and ideas and has clearly put a lot of time and thought into this – the other candidates could well take a leaf from his book, instead of the “vote for us because FF have made a bags of it” approach. I’m not sure if all of this would work in practice but it does demonstrate someone who works with solutions instead of pointing out problems – score 9

Overall Score
I really like what David has done here. In summary he promises the reader a fresh approach, someone who understands the system and is solutions focused. My only real negative is that he points out too well how difficult it may be for an Independent candidate, maybe to the point that one might feel there is no point giving him their No.1 vote.

However, I’m sorry David is not in my constituency ..  overall score 43 out of 50.

Best of luck in the elections David – for some reason I feel we will be hearing more from you !

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

The Candidates – Aine Collins, Fine Gael

January 24, 2011
Aine Collins, Fine Gael

Not too bad Aine!

As part of the election process I am going to do a “Ronseal” review of the political candidates literature that comes in through our letterbox and score them accordingly!! What exactly is their tin saying about what they do and more importantly promise they will do

Candidate: Aine Collins, Fine Gael (Cork North West Central)

Design and Layout (5)
Simple A5 flyer that actually looks ok, except the election area you can barely make out!  – score 3.5

Photo (10)
Aine’s photo is really nice, she is smiling and looks really pleasant, someone that you would trust. She is wearing a casual but smart top with a nice necklace, something you might wear to a casual dinner during the summer. All in all someone you would like to do business with – score 9

Contact Details (5)
She includes both her email address and her personal phone number on her flyer, a nice “open” approach. However there is no sign of either Facebook or twitter, where people could really interact and get to know her – score 3.5

Background (10)
Family woman and a qualified accountant that has been actively assisting starts ups in the Millstreet area. We need business acumen now more than ever so this is good. – score 8

Sales Pitch (10)
Specifically Aine talks about gender imbalance in the Dail as one of her main sales pitches as well as being young and vibrant. For me this is where she blows it – there is no need to play the female card, that’s obvious and here is where she loses me (she wouldn’t have if she said nothing!! .. and still managed to get the female vote) – score 3

Big Picture (10)
She believes in indigenous business and the agri-business sector and communities working together. Simple but valid – score 7

Overall Score
Out of a possible score of 50 Aine scored 34 losing at least 5 in her closing sales pitch!

Good luck with the election Aine!

The Pitch – Did Donald Draper really find it that easy!

January 19, 2011
Donald Draper - Mad Men

Did Donald Draper really find it that easy?

In the beginning it starts with a briefing meeting, the client outlines their requirements and you listen, gently probing for information, what kind of a business is it? What are their challenges and objectives ? What activity have they tried in the past? What are the dynamics of their industry and what kind of people are they? What are they looking for from you? You commit to coming back with a plan and you set a date for the follow up meeting..

Ok, you’ve put the toe in the water and now you’ve started on the roller coaster journey of “The Pitch”.

With one maybe two weeks of a gap to the presentation date you start that process of thinking, researching, discussing, brainstorming and even dreaming about this possible new client. It’s after slipping into your bloodstream and you are well and truly on the way.

Then the crew up the pace and start working on the plan with roles assigned to each of the team. We chat over coffee, we chat over lunch, the late phone calls, the good ideas. What do you think of this idea ..?

Now you start to become the actual business owner, you start investing emotionally in the challenge and finding the best solutions that will achieve “your” business objectives, your heart and mind are totally committed.

Two days to go, where is everyone? A quick review meeting to make sure the team is on track. The final proposal is starting to take shape.

One day to go and the visuals are other final material is produced, review, review and review again. There is no point being half committed, to have a chance you have to go the extra mile, which always means late nights and short weekends ..

Good suit today! Who is going to present which parts? Rehearse and rehearse and the final pitch is finally ready to present, Oh.. Last minute ideas .. what about it? Ok, go for it, make those last minute adjustments and then final print, burn CDs and off we go.

The nervous excitement and adrenaline take the team through the presentation to the prospective client. The team plays their part, fielding the questions, adding our nuggets of wisdom and experience, taking extra notes and then it is over.

Thanks a million, that was great, we will review your plan and come back to you” and then the inevitable post mortem starts.

What did they think of us? Did I say the right thing? What did he mean by that comment? When do you think they will give us feedback? .. The million questions roll around in your head, could we have done better and most importantly, will they go with us?

Then comes the crash.. you have been so fired up and caught up in the roller coaster of the process that you now are totally exhausted when it is all over.

You’ve played your part, given it your best shot and now it is time to detach yourself emotionally from the process. When you commit 110% it can be tough .

Before I used be on “tender hooks” waiting for the result, which normally doesn’t really happen me any more. Now when the presentation is over, that is it for me. We’ll wait to hear and if enough time passes and we haven’t heard I will push for feedback (it’s amazing how often you never get feedback, which I am convinced is an Irish thing – one crew actually admitted to me that they were just looking for new ideas!!) and that is it.

When we win it is fabulous and when we lose then try not to take it too personally, it could be for one 1,000 different reasons.. At least always give yourself the best chance of winning and learn what you can, so you can be better the next time.

Today we made a great pitch (at least that’s what we thought!), which we put an incredible amount of time, effort and ourselves into. We went through the whole emotional rush and now we are in that “after” place – totally exhausted!

Will we win the account? Who knows.. but I reckon we have a good chance! The great news is that we have another pitch to start into tomorrow!

Donald Draper from Mad Men made it look too easy!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

Ronseal – What does your tin say about you?

January 16, 2011
Fuzion - Ronseal, what does your tin say about you

What does your tin say about you?

At Fuzion we always use the fabulous line made famous by Ronseal, “It Does What it says on the Tin” as part of our work with clients.

PR is about your reputation and before we spend a lot of time, effort and resources bringing attention to our clients we try to make sure that they “look the part” before this happens.

It is really important that your logo, your printed materials and your whole on-line presence including your website, facebook and twitter accounts all reflect your business properly. This even comes down to the photo you might use for yourself on your profile pictures on your website or LinkedIn.

It is frightening how quick a prospective customer will judge you and your business based on initial impressions formed from your website or other materials. Your website is like a silent salesman, with prospects entering this “showroom” except here you don’t see them or get a chance to watch their reaction and influence them.

Before choosing to use a supplier do you check their website or make a quick judgement about someone based on their business card? The scary thing is that someone could have you fully assessed without ever speaking to you – and you knew nothing about it?

Is it time to have a good look at your tin?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications


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