Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Hashtags and Breadcrumbs

June 6, 2014

Hasttags Explained

I see the confused look on their faces and Hashtags are often just one step too far!

What is all this hashtag business?” I get asked.

At times it does feel like we are talking another language…

At my social media courses I think it is the one thing that definitely seems to bother people the most. It is a step too far: On Twitter they understand followers, they get following and know that tweets must be less than 140 characters but the mere mention of Hashtags and it seems to add that Tipping Point of confusion that never fails to get a few moans and groans of exasperation. Too much!

So what the hell are these nasty things and how and when might you use them?

In very simple terms a Hashtag is a means of adding a “tag” or label to a post (tweet) on Twitter by using the “#” symbol followed by a continuous set of characters. This is normally a word or a few words joined together.

For example if I prepared a tweet about a new shop opening in town I might tweet “Great to see a new shop opening on Grafton Street #Positivity

When you do this on Twitter it automatically changes the colour of this text, making it stand out and it also adds some “link” functionality to that word(s). If you click on this “link” Twitter will display a list of all the tweets where this hashtag was used.

In a way it gathers them together, which is really handy if it brings the reader to a bunch of tweets about a topic they were very interested in.

While Twitter will track popular topics and show you the keywords that are used most frequently in posts (trending) it will also track the most frequently used hashtags. If everyone who is talking about a popular topic uses a particular hashtag to label these posts it not only gathers them together but it also helps to get the topic trending.

Hashtag ExplainedSo when might I use a hashtag?

For me the single biggest advantage to the use of a hashtag is the simple colour change to that keyword. The text appearing in a different colour draws the readers attention to it and when used properly it can help to communicate the subject matter of that post. The link functionality as discussed earlier is an added bonus.

You can use your own hashtags (there is no ownership of them) or decide to join in on conversations about topics where a particular hashtag is being used already and use it in your posts – this can give you and your tweet visibility if this topic has stirred up a lot of interest.

For me a hashtag can be used in a powerful way to signify a Key Message of yours or a significant  “Breadcrumb” (click that link for my blog about key messages) that you wish to leave behind about you and your business for the reader.

You might use a hashtag to label posts about:

  • An event or concert #LondonFoodFest or #EP14 (Electric Picnic 2014)
  • Elections #LE14 (Local Elections 2014)
  • A place #Dublin
  • A cause #LGBTRights
  • A sentiment #LoveCork
  • An outlook #Positivity
  • A philosophy #WinHappy
  • A show #Murnaghan
  • Your team #LFC #YNWA
  • Recommending followers on a Friday #FF
  • Publicising job opportunities #Jobs or #JobFairy

You can use the hashtags in very many ways to suit the occasion and to draw extra attention to the point you want to make or a particular keyword(s) in your post.

Murnaghan

You will find the more progressive TV shows will encourage the viewer to tweet about a topic being discussed and will suggest a hashtag to use – in a way the viewer is asked to “join the discussion“.

Hashtags are also appearing in adverts for brands, where they are often used to help create an association for the consumer between a sentiment and the product or service #LoveLife.

For me hashtags are used best when you decide on a “family” of these, which should be used consistently for you and your business.

Having decided on your key messages you might devise a range of hashtags that might best be used to communicate these little breadcrumbs about you and your business.

For example a restaurant in Dublin who prides themselves on using local artisan suppliers, who have an extensive menu with good gluten free and vegetarian options, who stock a range of craft beers and is very proud of the city and who offer free treats on a Tuesday, might regularly tweet using hashtags such as:

#SourceLocal #Artisan  #GlutenFree  #VegMenus  #CraftBeers  #LoveDublin  #TreatTuesday (hopefully not all at the same time!)

When you are posting you are best keeping your hashtags as short as possible, memorable and try to use them just one at a time in tweets. Used consistently and in the right context you would be surprised how quickly a place gets known for these things.

For example when I tweet I use hashtags a lot to draw attention to particular things in my posts and the ones I use most frequently are #Positivity (when talking about good news or job announcements) #WinHappy (when talking about Fuzion – this is a core philosophy) #FuzionFriday (when talking about our Friday lunch with the team) #FuzionPlaylist (when I mention the music playing in the office).

It amazes me when people play these back to me (“I’d love to join ye for FuzionFriday some day”) in the context that I intended and I then realise that I have managed to convey our key messages effectively by using this simple Twitter device.

I do fully understand people’s frustration with all of this new media and it’s quirks and idiosyncrasies but most of it is built to be easy to use ….once you know how!

You may prefer not to use hashtags at all (sometimes there may be no need) but if you want to get that special message across then start using this new language…

 #HashtagHeaven

Note: Hashtags are now also being used on other social media platforms but they are a very significant feature when used on Twitter.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Polling day

May 23, 2014

Polling day

Polling day has finally arrived for all the local and the European election candidates, full of hope and nerves – will you have done enough to convince the electorate in your patch to vote for you?

Has it been about shaking as many hands and knocking on as many doors as possible, has it been about distributing as many flyers and putting up as many posters as possible?

Has it been about working hard in your area on issues that you really believe in and ones that matter to people or has it been about grabbing issues you feel will tactically fly for you in the media and ones that will give you the right visibility?

Has it been about attending events, socials, sporting occasions and some funerals?

Has it been about getting those magic media moments, and performing convincingly when they come along and moving enough people to give you their precious votes?

Has it been about efficient PR, ensuring that the media get to know what you are doing and in turn reaching the people you want to convince?

Has it been about how well you connect with people online, not just over the last few months but over the long haul, is it about numbers of social media followers and your skill in using the platforms to show them who you are and what you are doing?

Has it been about the support of your party and how well you work with your other running mates who often are competitors?

Has it been about the skill and courage do deal with hurtful personal abuse when it comes along and to not let this derail you?

Has it been about intelligence and winning arguments or is it about being ‘nice’ and caring and winning hearts as well as minds?

Has it been about money and having the necessary resources to gain sufficient visibility even if this means some third party assistance and advertising?

Has it been about hard work and the careful execution of a strategy without any diversions?

Has it been about sacrifice, giving up precious personal time to the detriment of family and friends?

Has it been about having a great team to work with you, canvassing and supporting you along the way including family and friends who believe in you and who understand the sacrifice.

Whatever it is, today is the day when you are at the mercy of voters and you find out if what you did was enough to win the race.

Like them or loathe them we need politicians that we believe in at local, national and European level representing us and our needs.

In our democratic society we have the power to vote for our favoured candidates who have put themselves forward to do a job on our behalf using all of their skill, knowledge, influence, intelligence, empathy, conscience, energy, time and motivation to achieve what they believe Is important.

If we don’t like the selection of candidates then we need to do something about it..

A big thank you to each and every one of the candidates for stepping up to the plate and putting yourself forward for election – in truth it’s something most people would not do.

The very best of luck to all candidates and we hope that the worthy winners will execute their new roles with the same attributes and diligence that won their hard fought seats and that they do their utmost to stay true to their promises and do their very best for all of us and not just those who voted for them.

Well done for standing up and being counted ….literally!

Greg Canty

Greg is a partner of Fuzion, Marketing and PR who provide a wide range of services from offices in Cork and Dublin including helping some politicians along the way!

How did you survive the recession?

May 5, 2014

navigating the storm

It looks like we have come through the recession and things are finally improving – it was a rough, tough, bumpy ride but we got there!

As things start to improve the horrible memories will fade into the past but hopefully the valuable lessons we learnt will stay with us and we will be stronger for them.

In our industry we were particularly vulnerable as many businesses totally shut down on their positive spend and investment in Marketing and PR was deemed by many as unnecessary in tough times. Budgets were slashed and at the beginning of 2009 we lost a lot of good accounts. On top of this we suffered a lot of bad debts, which was really hard to carry.

Thankfully we dug in and we survived and we managed to come through this challenging period without losing any staff, without having to reduce wages – in fact it was the opposite. We managed to grow our business and we took on extra staff and we opened an office in Dublin.

Personally I took a lot of inspiration from a book I read called ‘Storming the Recession‘.

In my view we survived the recession because of a few things:

  • We did our best to stay deliberately positive at all times
  • We worked hard at keeping our team motivated and protected them from tax increases
  • We used social media extensively to boost our awareness and promote our services
  • We looked for and grabbed unique opportunities, which only occur in tough times
  • We kept our pricing competitive at all times
  • We made sure we delivered for our clients – their budgets are precious and it is essential their investments are wise ones
  • We looked for extra ways to deliver value for clients including embracing new media enabling them to connect with customers in new ways
  • We diversified our services and started to run training courses in PR and Social Media – most of these were done in the evening and the extra income really helped. These courses also helped to increase our network and awareness
  • We absolutely worked our socks off punching in incredibly long hours – we thought recession would mean less work!!

There were times when things were really tight and very worrying but we always seemed to just about get through. Maybe we were lucky but then again maybe you make your own luck?

This was a unique time that no doubt will come again and is important that when that happens we remember how we coped the last time round, which is why I am forcing myself to write this!

What did you do to survive the recession?

Greg Canty

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

Bullys and the funny thing about being different

May 4, 2014

Dare to be different

This week I was at a really great event organised by the Diana Award, which is the only charity bearing the name of the former Princess of Wales inspired by her belief that young people have the power to change toe world for the better.

The event was held at the European Headquarters of Facebook in Dublin and it was part of the Diana Award schools Anti bullying programme. In their very effective programme they organise activities in schools to help eradicate bullying and as part of that they quite cleverly appoint and train anti-bullying ambassadors in the school.

The ambassadors are chosen from the students themselves and judging from the results we witnessed in the videos the programmes have been very effective. We were invited to the event because of our Safebook poster, which has been used by many of the participating schools as part of their anti cyber-bullying work.

There was one huge common thread to the speeches and stories that I heard on the day.

Tessy Ojo the CEO of Diana Award spoke about being bullied as a child because she was so tall.

Brian McFadden of Westlife fame spoke about being bullied because he liked stage and dance when all his schoolmates were playing football.

Young actor Will Poulter spoke about being bullied because he was into acting.

We heard some of the young children speak in the videos about being bullied because they had red hair, because they had freckles, because they were chubby or because they were black.

The one thing that pretty much everyone being bullied had in common was that they were different in some way – being different in any way can get you bullied!

I was chatting about this event with my son, Brendan and he sent me on a link to a video produced by a really popular guy online, 19 year old Cian Twomey about how he has been cyberbullied. Cian is really popular, producing funny clever videos and on Facebook alone he has built up a following of over 180,000 since late last year.

In his video he explains how along with huge numbers of followers he seems to be gathering ‘haters‘ as he gains in popularity, which really hurts him in particular when they get really nasty. One person was so horrible they even referred to Cian’s father who had recently passed away. Is this another case of someone being bullied because they are different?

Being different

Ironically in our work at Fuzion with clients the first thing we do with clients is find out how they are different!

Being different is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you interesting – whether its a product, a service or the individuals involved we aways look for how these are different and this is where the magic is, that sets you and your business apart from from the competitors. This difference will get you media coverage and attention from customers and will contribute to your success.

The most successful musicians, artists, models, designers, products and services are the ones that are different.

So …if you are being bullied because you are a little bit different just realise that this is what makes you really special and in time you will be the one getting the right attention.

Vive la Différence (long live difference) as the French would say ! 

Greg Canty

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

 

 

 

 

Good Friday and the Scarcity Principle

April 18, 2014

Good Friday - The Scarcity Principle

I’d do anything for a drink in the pub right now..

It’s always the same on Good Friday – once you know all the pubs and off-licences are closed you want nothing more. We can have wine or beer at home, like we do frequently on a Friday evening but on this day you would just want to go to the pub!

As usual in the lead up to Good Friday we heard the publican and the restaurant lobby groups giving out quite rightly about the antiquated law, which has no sale of alcohol permitted in Ireland unless it is in a club or unless you are a guest in a hotel.

The Scarcity Principle

Robert Cialdini, one of the foremost experts on influence, found that people value and desire something more when it is rare or difficult to obtain. He called this the Scarcity Principle. Across numerous experiments, Cialdini and others have found that making something rare (“only 5 left”), time limited (“one day sale”), or unique (“just for you”), increases its perceived attractiveness and value.

He explains that this Scarcity Principle works on the idea of Reactance.

Essentially, it happens because none of us like to be told no, limited in any way, or have our freedom constrained. So, when we think we might miss out, not be chosen, or be denied what we want, we “react”. That reactance makes us try all the harder and want what is denied us all the more.

In some strange way maybe this is a great marketing trick for pubs and restaurants as all of sudden we ‘desire’ a visit!

Maybe pubs and restaurants should embrace the day and take the opportunity to do some minor renovations, repairs, spring cleaning or take some precious time off and get ready for that rush..

What are you doing to create some scarcity in your business?

Greg Canty

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

Seven Tips to Building Your Online Tribe

April 8, 2014

Tribesman

“I’ve set up my social media platforms but I’m finding it very difficult to build a following” is a problem I hear from many of our clients and I know they look to me for a simple solution, a magic trick, a special feature or some nugget of advice that will solve this dilemma easily.

I’m sorry, the bad news is that there is no one trick or piece of magic but of course it can be done if you follow some of my tips. I’ll assume in preparing these tips that you want the right people following and not just numbers purchased online from click farms for the sake of looking popular.

Here are my seven magic tips that I believe will work for you:

1. The Tribe Mentality and Getting the Basics right

You must think in terms of building your tribe at all times and this involves exercising a discipline and structure that allows you to easily pick up new followers.

When you set up any of your social media platforms make sure you execute the process of inviting your email database to follow you, include social media links on your website and on your email signature and make it easy for people to subscribe to your e-newsletter or follow your blog.

Another simple piece of advice here is to highlight your social presence offline on all posters, adverts, signage, shopping bags and other materials where someone may interact with your business or service.

2. Start the chat,  you’re not Kim Kardashian!

Kim Kardashian & Greg CantyWe all have to do a little reality check about what type of business we are and realise that it is quite possible we do not have the natural appeal of  Kim. This is a real dilemma for certain businesses who being honest you may not be inclined to automatically follow such as the Insurance Broker in Ranelagh or the Chiropodist in Gort.

My advice to any businesses without the “Kim” appeal (that’s most of us!) is that they must initiate a lot of the social media chat by first doing the following and then interact with what that target audience are saying.

While it’s vital that we get our own message across in our communications it’s just as important that we achieve awareness for ourselves by interacting with others. Join the conversation of others, share and retweet their posts and in no time at all you will find they will do the same for you, which will bring you new followers.

3. Lose the robot, talk about the match

At some point in time we were taught about formal business communications, which has us often behaving like robots. The beauty of online is that we can lose much of the formality that can choke normal written communications and this allows us to show some of the really important attributes about our business such as our personality, our humour, our interests, our caring side and how passionate we are about things that matter to us.

It’s amazing the difference it makes to a business relationship when you discover that a prospect is also a hugely passionate Liverpool FC fan!

4. “Like” and Stop Selling

Being realistic why would someone want to become a member of your online tribe?

The Facebook word “Like” can really focus you here when you are communicating and the word dislike can be just as useful. I’ll follow you on twitter, subscribe to your blog, read your newsletter or connect with you on LinkedIn as long as it delivers some benefit to me – it should be an experience that I “Like“.

Are you going to give me advice, make me smile, be nice, let me be the first to know about special offers, offer me samples, invite me to exclusive events, promote my business, help me to solve problems, enrich my life in some way or do you just want me to Buy, Buy, Buy?

If  the online platforms are used to deliver benefits to your tribe, to build relationships and rapport with them, the sales will look after themselves.

5. Brushing your teeth

In the same way that brushing once a month won’t do your teeth any good, posting infrequently online will do your business no good.

The biggest stumbling block to success that I see with clients is that they struggle to make online activity part of their regular routine. It’s vital that you do your weekly blog post, that you schedule your newsletter, that you post daily on all of your social media platforms and this becomes part of the normal running of the business.

Every time you post you are effectively promoting your business, which is a great habit to get into just like brushing your teeth!

6. The Power of You

Just as we want to build our tribe of followers it’s really important to leverage the tribe that you have within your organisation. Online activity comes alive through person to person interactions – I’d much prefer to talk to a person rather than a logo.

Where possible I would encourage as many individuals as possible to pro-actively wave a flag for the business online, which spreads the workload, maximises the reach but also increases the effectiveness. This works as long as there is a good solid social media policy and a clear understanding around objectives and key messages.

Where companies have accounts online it is always a good idea to introduce the person behind the posts where appropriate. I have seen Eircom doing this quite effectively on Twitter and it adds a degree of trust to their content.

Show me the money

7. Show me the money!

While you can do all of the right things to build the size of your online tribe there is a time where you just have to advertise to accelerate this process.

With Facebook, advertising is essential both to build a following and then subsequently to reach them with your communications. At the moment success on Twitter isn’t as dependant on budget but unless you are as popular as Kim you will need budget to build your following quickly.

Summary

Like everything else in business nothing comes easy and if you want to build your online tribe you either get a body like Kim, do a reality TV show and have a baby with Kanye West or else roll the sleeves up and do it the hard way!

Good luck with your tribe..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR and Marketing who offer Social Media Consultancy and Training to clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork.

http://www.fuzion.ie

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

Twitter – Waste of time or a real Gem?

March 21, 2014

Jack Dorsey - Twitter

Happy Birthday Twitter..

On the 21st March 2006 founder Jack Dorsey sent the very first tweet and eight years on while it is growing in popularity it is still quite the most misunderstood of the popular social media platforms.

When we run our Social Media courses the results are nearly all the same, pretty much everyone is using Facebook at some level and just a very few are using twitter. I would safely guess that a maximum of  20% of social media users are actively using twitter.

Is this failure, is this most people deciding that it is irrelevant, is this most people not understanding how to use Twitter or is it an absolute gem that is yet to be discovered by the mainstream?

At Fuzion we take it really seriously because we see the value of it for us and for our clients but we do understand the difficulty that people have with it. By it’s nature it is looser than the other platforms with pretty much anyone being able to follow anyone, your messages are more public capable of being picked up by anyone searching and then there is the business of hash tags, re-tweeting and #FF, that’s Follow Friday, by the way!

Added to that everything is quite limited, how many characters (you have 15 characters in your twitter “handle”) in your unique identity, how many characters you are allowed in a post, how much information (literally describe yourself in 160 characters) you can include in your bio – it’s just different, different enough to scare users off initially before they get to experience the real magic.

The whole experience is very different and in many ways it is attracting quite a different type of user – often a curious individual who loves getting involved in discussions and who loves giving an opinion! Many of these users seem to leave Facebook behind as they find the Twitter experience more enriching.

This trend of choosing Twitter over Facebook is definitely happening – since Facebook went public two years ago the platform is now being dominated by advertising (any business user must advertise now for their efforts to be effective) and this is definitely accelerating the switch for many users.

In the last year we have seen the interface and some of the functionality improve, we have seen the introduction of user advertising and the numbers using the platform have continued to increase.

I won’t start giving a lesson on how to use twitter but I will share with you my Top 10 reasons why we think you should consider embracing it for you and your business -

1. Branded Chit Chat – on twitter you can choose an identity for yourself and every time you post, your “identity” carries with you, it’s like advertising in a subliminal way @prguru. Guess what service that person provides? Even if you are chatting about the latest Liverpool game your identity travels with you.

Oscar's Selfie2. Viral “ability” – of all the social media platforms twitter is the very best for passing on information. The retweet facility makes this possible. I pass the message to my followers, them to theirs and so on. Uninteresting posts will not be retweeted but interesting ones will be. The recent “selfie” from the Oscars caused quite a stir and reached more twitter users than any other tweet.

3. Innovators and Early AdoptorsSeth Godin in his famous book the Purple Cow talks about a typical product cycle and he stresses the importance of targeting people who love new things. These are the people who love to try new things out and then tell their friends, they are generally naturally curious and are often the ones who are vital for spreading the word – before you know it when enough people have heard about “that” new product it enters the mainstream, where volume starts kicking in.

If you have a new product or service you will find many of these innovators and early adoptors are already using twitter- makes sense if you think about it?

4. Avoiding the CrowdFacebook has the advantage of so many users and it is really powerful as a result. However it is a pretty crowded space with more businesses joining it the whole time competing for people’s attention. The chances are that your competitors are already up and running and competing with you in this space. Twitter on the other hand has not been fully explored to the same degree so you can steal a competitive advantage over your competitors and have more of those prospects to yourself.

5. Search – the search facility on twitter is incredible. You can use it to follow topics, to search on people discussing your business and your industry. We find it invaluable in our work with clients and in a “crisis” situation it is really useful. You can literally measure the temperature of a situation on twitter, which can be really useful if you are dealing with a tricky situation. In the last 12 months alone we have used it many times to assist us in our work with clients.

6. Read all about it! – the problem is that it is now impossible to “Read all about it” . With so many newspapers, magazines, radio and tv channels how is it possible? With twitter by following the correct media profiles on twitter you can create your own customised news feed. Everything from your favourite team (have I mentioned this is Liverpool!) to breaking news.

7. Journalists – Most journalists are using twitter – the search function makes it really useful for them to stay up to date on issues. If you start using it you can quite easily follow journalists who may be interested in your sector and if used correctly you will be able to learn what they are interested in and what they are writing about. Use the platform to try to build a relationship with them and then pitch your stories – make sure you build trust before you start pitching!

8. Audience – if you use twitter proactively we believe you have a good chance of building “followers” or an audience for your message very quickly, much quicker than Facebook. However, it’s up to you how you use these relationships once you gather them.

9. Relationships – we have found that the nature of the conversations is quite different and at times they are more of a “community” type – the conversations can happen between groups of people. As a result you can have quite different relationships with people. Once you are capable of holding your own on an issue or topic you will build a good reputation and also quality relationships with relevant people.

10. Fun – there can be quite a good sense of humour around using Twitter and even though your topics might be heavy you can build good relationships around lighter issues, which can ultimately lead to a listening for your key messages. My key message is don’t take yourself too seriously on twitter, have fun, build trust and build relationships – after that spread your message.

I heard a great quote by someone who attended one of my social media courses in Dublin, when comparing Facebook and Twitter – “Facebook is for interacting with people you were in school with, Twitter is for interacting with people you wish you were in school with!”  - This is a big generalisation but it does capture a little bit of the unique spirit that exists on twitter.

Twitter is a load of rubbish, the stuff people tweet is totally useless.. who cares what people have for breakfast

I often hear this type of argument about using twitter so I will leave you with my closing thoughts ..

Twitter is like a radio station, you tune it in by following who you want – find the channels that you like. If someone is annoying you, don’t follow them, block them, change the channel – you are the controller!

So Jack, thank you for Twitter .. I’d miss you if you weren’t there, Happy Birthday!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork


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