Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

The Hug Test

January 5, 2014

Hugs at work

It’s New Year’s Day and that end of the long break/going back to work cloud descends on me as it always does.

I love the Christmas break, possibly even more than the summer break and when it comes to an end it does bother me even though I love what I do – those days of doing nothing, hanging around the house and relaxing are so enjoyable but at some point you have to get back to reality.

When I started to think more about the first day back I started to look forward to seeing our crew again. While the break was great it would be good to see them all again and catch up.

During the course of a year we spend a lot of time together and it’s natural that you get to know everyone quite well and you do form special relationships, even if it is predominantly in a work context.

The more I thought about seeing the crew again I thought about greeting them after not having seen them for the best part of two weeks.

For me the natural greeting for each of them would be a hug – a genuine warm hug, which reflects how I feel about all of them.

I would hate to be heading back to work and to be meeting anyone in our team who I didn’t like, who I didn’t feel any connection with, who I preferred not to spend time with. That would be awful and in the course of my career I have been in that place more than once.

My cloud cleared and I was now actually looking forward to getting back to work.

Will your first day back at work pass the Hug test?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

Holidays at Home

December 31, 2013
Summer Holidays

“Where are you going on holidays?”

Where are you going on holidays?” is a question that we are all asked many times during the year (the hairdressers is probably the spot where it is asked most of all!).

If you are going somewhere exotic, somewhere unusual, some place that most people haven’t been to before then you have a really great answer to give them.

During the Celtic Tiger days many of us gave loads of these great answers and this even extended into stag and hen “holidays” and company Christmas trips away.

For me the best holiday of all isn’t the one to that exotic, extravagant and most unusual of destinations it is the one that happens every year at Christmas when we literally holiday at home and get to appreciate and enjoy our own houses.

We decorate the house, we buy in nice goodies and we put our feet up for a week or so. We do very little other than catch up with friends and family and exchange gifts and most importantly good wishes. It’s an absolutely precious time.

Where are you going on holidays?

I can’t wait…I’m staying at home!

I’m looking forward to the next Christmas already ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Gran Ellen came to visit on Christmas Day

December 27, 2013

Family Christmas

Christmas Day this year was really special as our gang hadn’t been together for a long time and it was possible this year because my brother Colin came back from the U.S. to Cork with his wife Lisa and their two kids Alex and Ciara.

We had dinner in my mum and dad’s, my sis Laura was there with her husband Coley and their boys and I was there with Dee and my special two, Brendan and Ellen.

Mum surprised us all with a CD recording of our Gran Ellen who passed away on the 30th July, 2010 at the fine age of 99!

The recording was made at a New Year’s eve party in 1994 at my aunt’s house. Someone obviously got a present of a tape recorder and they decided to make a recording that night. What probably seemed like quite a naff idea at the time was the perfect Christmas gift as it brought Gran Ellen to the dinner table with us.

My cousin’s daughter, Fiona (just 7 at the time) was the skilled interviewer and as a result we heard Gran Ellen (Ellen Burke) talking about her brothers and sisters (there were nine children in the family) and also about her own children. She spoke about how her two eldest daughters went to the States (Renie and my mum, Ann) and how my mum returned after six years. She went on to say that three years later she had a lovely baby boy – me!!

My Gran loved a drop of whiskey and on that New Year’s Eve night she must have had a few as she was in flying form as we heard her sing a few old songs, which we all listened to desperately struggling to hold back the tears!

I sat in the middle of my fabulous family, young and old and I stared at the CD player listening to Gran’s voice as clear as day – she was there with us on this very special Christmas day.

We miss you Gran Ellen x

Greg Canty

Tipping the Customer

September 28, 2013

Hostaria La Cross, Garda

It was bucketing out of the heavens as we stared out the window of our hotel in Garda in Italy during our summer holidays. It hadn’t let up for over an hour and it showed no signs of stopping anytime soon.

We had planned a leisurely stroll into the lakeside town and a nice meal on the waterfront but that was impossible – the tummies were groaning at this stage and the hotel restaurant was shut.

The restaurant that was directly across from the hotel (we were about a mile away from the lakeside strip) didn’t have the views that were on the lake but it didn’t seem to stop the steady stream of locals using the place since we had arrived.

Day and night there was a constant stream of Italian cars in and out of the place – it must be good if the locals were going there we reckoned. I checked on Four Square (a phone APP where you can leave tips about places) on my phone and the restaurant had some quite good reviews left by previous diners.

We decided to make a dash for it and despite it being just across the street we did get fairly wet.

Hostaria La Cross, GardaHostoria La Cross gave us a warm greeting as we entered but after doing so the waitress left us standing there – two minutes later she came back to us with two glasses of prosecco .. “welcome!“.

Wow – we were given a gift on the house before we had sat down or ordered anything.

It put us in great form and we had a fabulous meal (despite every second dish being laced in truffle oil..can’t stand that smell!)

Of course we left a big tip after our special night but really appreciated the “tip” the restaurant gave us at the start of the meal.

The last few times I have taken taxis in Dublin and in Cork I have noticed that each time the driver has “rounded down” when it has comes to the fare “€10 is fine” when the fare clocked €10.70.

The simple gesture is a big change to how it used be and it shows the appreciation of the business and invariably you end up leaving a good tip.

Last night after our meal in Bacco in Ballincollig we were offered a Limoncello on the house as we were settling the bill. They showed their appreciation for the business …”Thank you, we’ll be back

Giving the customer something they are not expecting is a clever way of saying thank you and building customer loyalty.

Are you tipping your customer?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

The Palio and the Magic of being part of Something

July 7, 2013

Siena

About six years ago we wandered into the city of Siena in Tuscany while on holiday. To be honest we had no idea what to expect as we entered this gorgeous city with narrow cobble stone streets and old buildings with history in every brick and wooden door.

We noticed that many of the people wandering around the town were wearing scarves and it took a while to realise it was to do with a famous horse race and not a soccer match!

Palio march

Sitting in a cafe on one of these narrow streets doing our share of people watching and soaking up the atmosphere we started to hear some drumming and a crowd chanting …. this chant got louder and louder and a pattern emerged. You could hear males chanting this song, then women, then children and then everyone together and the magical sequence started again.

Louder and louder the chanting seemed to get closer to where we were sitting – eventually the group were led by some flag wavers and a horse with a trainer, followed by hundreds of men, then children and then women all continuously chanting.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck and this was the moment I fell in love with Siena and the Palio.

Il Palio

Palio Race

The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the incredible colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city districts.

The race itself (after hours of pomp and ceremony, believe me!), in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. The race is frantic with jostling between jockeys who are often thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza. The winner is greeted by incredible celebrations from the supporters from that contrade.

This year was the forth time we have come to Siena for both the beautiful place (the city is beautiful and it is located in the middle of Tuscany and the Chianti wine growing region) and the festival and I wonder why do we keep coming back when there are so many other fabulous places to be discovered?

Palio March

Is it the pomp and the ceremony, is it the beautiful city or is it the excitement of the race?

This year I think I finally figured it out … All of the things that I have mentioned make Siena and the Palio very special and if you look at the pictures or the clips on YouTube you will get a sense of it.

What you won’t see online is the incredible sense of togetherness, community and belonging of the people that you will only witness when you experience the event for yourself.

They say in Siena you are baptised twice – once in Siena and then in your Contrade, which is your part of town. This is the part that means everything to you.

Palio meal

During the Palio practically every man, woman and child from each place comes out, participates in the blessing of the horse, the marching and the chanting. And every night (there are a few rehearsal days in advance of the “big” race) the groups get together in their part of town for a feast – you will see thousands of people all gathered, sharing food and drink proudly celebrating their colours and where they are from.

In most other countries the event would be commercialised and sponsored – in Siena it has and will always be untainted.

On the night of the Palio this year after the race was over we found ourselves walking in the middle of the crowd from a particular contrade who happened to be heading in the same direction – we listened to the chanting and we watched as people waved from the windows, even a nun was hanging out her window frantically waving her flag and cheering!

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck once again – I love Siena because for a moment you feel the power of community, you see people who are proud to march and show their colours, you feel part of something and sense the power of being together.

Do we have to go to Siena to feel like that?

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion

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

Trust, the Restaurant and the customers who forgot to pay

March 20, 2013

Caravan Park

The couple arrived back at the Irish camp site and realised that they had left the restaurant without paying their bill.

They told the camp site manager who rang the restaurant and spoke to the manager of the restaurant – “no problem, thanks for ringing” …the couple could pop in the next day and settle up.

Twenty minutes later the restaurant owner (no stranger to dodging bills himself) arrived at the camp site accompanied by three Gardai looking for his money from the couple.

The whole incident was highly embarrassing for everyone … the couple handed over the money (I’m guessing they didn’t tip!).

The camp site manager never recommended that restaurant to his customers again, he still operates a good business and lives to tell this incredible little story and the restaurant has long shut down..mostly PR and your reputation is about what you do yourself.

Must be a lesson in all of that somewhere!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Nothing like that here

January 18, 2013

London CallingI was 14, it was the summer of 1979 and my dad took me to London for the day to shop for records!

We took the ferry from Cork to Wales and a coach to London. We were supposed to arrive late at night, book into a hotel and then get up early for a days’ shopping – the poor coach driver took a wrong turn as a result of road works so we ended up pulling into London at 5 am

…there was no point booking into a hotel so we just grabbed a breakfast and wandered the streets until the shops opened.

We went to London quite simply because the music stores there were incredible – there was “nothing like that here“, just a few limited shops (Eason’s, Lee Records and Woolworths) with a tiny selection of records.

I’ll never forget that scorching summer’s day with my poor dad standing  patiently at the door of HMV and Virgin as I spent hour after hour browsing these mega-stores, shelf by shelf.   I can still remember the excitement in those stores – packed with possibility, undiscovered gems, fabulous artwork ..it was theatre.

HMVI eventually purchased over 20 records, rare items, bargains and basically music that I just couldn’t buy in Ireland.

Another memory of that day was the huge amount of women walking around London wearing no bras!! It must have been fashionable but I had never seen the likes of it before and I can promise you it made a big impression on this impressionable 14 year old … between the lack of sleep, the intense heat and the “scenery”, I remember feeling quite dizzy!

As we know Ireland gradually caught up with London and even in Cork we ended up with Golden Discs, HMV and Virgin. My own love for music resulted in me opening my own stores …the dream of a 14 year old!

Despite all of our progress and advances in technology we are very close to a situation where there will be “nothing like that here” and even worse “nothing like that there” – HMV are nearly gone and the others are not far behind (I sold my stores a number of years back and the crew that bought them have since gone out of business).

Browsing for recordsWe can thank unsustainable rents, record companies who handed their Top sellers at big discounts to supermarkets, record companies who switched to digital technology that it couldn’t manage and music stores who lost their passion for music, for where we have ended up today.

That incredible feeling of browsing for magic in the shelves of music stores was one of the special things in my life that has brought me so much pleasure..

Progress?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Christmas Interruption ..

December 28, 2012
interrupting christmas

Spend time with your loved ones!

60% off nearly all stock tomorrow

When someone likes our Facebook business page, follows our business on twitter, signs up for our newsletter or follows our company blog  in effect they give us permission to send them updates, news about our business and general communication. When they “sign up” they can’t control when we might interrupt them ..when it happens, about what or how often.

Permission to interrupt is a precious gift that we should respect.

In this “social media” age it’s become part of our ritual to check Facebook and Twitter , even on Christmas morning to see what our on-line buddies are up to, including friends and family – it brings us close ..I’m looking at friend’s children open their Christmas presents, I’m watching other friends having fun pictured in their new Munster Rugby Jerseys, I’m watching family pictures, I’m watching family reunions, I’m watching my “circle” cracking jokes and enjoying their precious family day ..

In between all of this I’m also watching supermarkets,coffee shops, gift shops, hotels, breweries and APP suppliers pitching in …in fairness most of them are wishing me Merry Christmas but a few are way too enthusiastic trying to sell, announcing their sales or offering special deals.

Most of these posts will have been scheduled in advance while their social media personnel were at work before the holidays and definitely not on Christmas day!

For everyone in business …with social media there is a time to interrupt and a time to definitely not interrupt. Christmas day, is a day when it is better not to say anything even when you think you have permission …you don’t!

Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training from our offices in Dublin and Cork

The Last Burger !

July 3, 2012
Varadero, Cuba

Close your eye’s and pretend

This holiday could not be complete without one last visit to the burger bar, just off the beach as part of the resort where we were staying in Cuba.

Thankfully I discovered this little gem on the day we arrived and I am ashamed to admit it, pretty much everyday that we were here it was granted a visit …ok, I lie, one day I had a hot dog!

My tough ritual became… relax on a lounger just off the beach (under a canopy of sorts – I just sizzle in the sun), read a book, listen to all sorts of music thanks to Mr Shuffle on the iPod, go for a long walk (very necessary to walk off breakfast, justify the burger and feel better about the dinner buffet!) and then make my way to the little food hut, where a very nice man served hot dogs, burgers and an assortment of fruit.

After that it was back to the sun lounger for more music before heading back to change for the dinner buffet …maybe a drink at the bar before or after or both!

All of 10 paces from the food hut was the beach bar!!!! A full bar serving cocktails including anything with the local speciality rum, other exotic concoctions and of course beer.

Cuba Libre

If only …

The burger was washed down most days with a beer, unless I was feeling more exotic and had a Cuba Libre (rum and coke mainly)… A hard life!

So, the week at the resort is over, my place on the beach will be taken up by some other crew who will take their turn at stepping off their treadmill for a while.

For me it’s back to “real life“, work and all the other fabulous challenges that come our way, and that brief little escape is over until the next time.

All I can say is thank you Cuba, now for that burger ….

P.S. The chef thought I had lost my marbles asking him to pose for a photo with a burger (all for the blog) – he did earn a tip for his trouble, so he got over it!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Dove è il bar? (Where’s the bar!)

June 28, 2012
Greg Canty blog - Where's the bar?

Are you tempted ?

8 am, driving to work in Cork and it is grey and miserable. The city has taken a right battering as we witnessed the thunder and lightning during the night as well as the torrential rain pounding against the windows of the house.

I turn on the news to hear that Blackpool, Douglas and Clonakilty have been badly flooded with the rivers unable to cope after a month of record rainfall and excess rain during the night. Newstalk radio have residents from Blackpool and my old buddy Peter Collins from Barry’s pub in Douglas on telling their flood stories.

Next up there is some depressing “crap” about EU bailouts .. too much!

I drop Deirdre off at the office and head to the Airport Hotel to give a social media business session to a new client.

Time to switch over to the iPod and lets see what Mr Shuffle brings ..

First it brings me the gorgeous “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver – I pass a couple kissing goodbye as he drops her off to work. That’s nice.

Next it brings me the incredible voice of Tina Dico singing “Warm Sand“, what a great song …we couldn’t be further away from warm sand I’m thinking!

Just as I pull into the hotel an Italian lesson I had uploaded on the iPod before a holiday many moons ago comes on, repeat after me the voice says “Dove  è il bar?” … where is the bar?

Not a bad idea !!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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