Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Launching your Core Values

February 17, 2015

US Marines Core Values

I was having a chat with someone working in one of the large multinationals recently and he was all excited as was telling me about their ‘core values‘.

We launched our core values last week” he explained to me as if he was talking about a new product or a new service.

Wow, that’s interesting!

Were these a new gimmick, something fancy, something that emerged from a brain storm, something that had to be sold to the team?

Your core values are the fundamental beliefs of your organisation. They are the guiding principles that dictate behaviour and action. Your core values can help people in your organisation to know what is right from wrong; they can help to determine if you are on the right path and the company is fulfilling its business goals; and they create an unwavering and unchanging guide.

If your ‘core values‘ are something that have to be launched then maybe they aren’t quite as ‘core‘ as you thought..

What are your core values?

Greg Canty 

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

 

Hoovering and Storytelling

January 18, 2015

Sir James Dyson

Typical..just as we are skint at the start of January and all the bills are flying in our Dyson vacuum cleaner decides to pack up. I guess its not too bad as the previous one served us well for over 10 years so we can’t complain too much. Having said that the timing could be better!

Off we headed on a Saturday afternoon (I can think of a lot better things to be doing!) to buy a new one and for me there was a simple choice to be made – what model of Dyson would we buy and at which store?

For me I had no intention of even considering a different brand of vacuum cleaner (I have to try hard to not say ‘Hoover’) simply because I believe in the ‘story‘ of Dyson, the spirit, the innovation, the person and I believe that this story will deliver a superior product.

While we were browsing the selection of Dyson’s on display at Harvey Norman’s a helpful shopper (another guy as it turns out – is it the men that do the hoovering I’m wondering?! …I used the hoover word didn’t I!) whispered in my ear:

I’d buy a Miele if I were you. The suction is much better. I’ve had Dyson’s down through the years and they are only ok“.

Despite this sound impartial advice and my own experience I still wanted a Dyson. Even though we were surrounded by a wide selection of vacuum brands with lots of different features and price points I didn’t once consider even looking at them. I just wanted a Dyson. One of the Dyson models had a good offer on it, which simplified the task even further and before we knew it we were on the way home.

Opening and assembling the Dyson was a pleasure (relatively speaking!) with all of the parts cleverly clicking into place and inside the box I found a little booklet called ‘The Story of Dyson’.

It tells us that James Dyson is a curious inventor and shared some of his early designs including a Sea Truck (a high speed landing craft), a ballbarrow (a wheelbarrow with a clever ball that stops it sinking into the mud) a trolleyball boat launcher and an amphibious wheel boat.

Observing a sawmill he watched how a cyclone spun sawdust in the air and collected it in a chamber and wondered if the same principle could apply to vacuum cleaners that were using cleaner bags that constantly clogged the machines. After 5,127 prototypes he cracked it!

Since then he launched his range of vacuum cleaners, built a successful company and has constantly improved his products as well as introducing new ones.

James Dyson Foundation

Today Dyson machines are exhibited in museums in London, New York, Zurich,Sydney and Paris and the James Dyson Foundation runs workshops around the globe where young people solve engineering challenges in a practical fun way.

Dyson know they have a great story and they understand the power of this story so much that they include in it every box. This story is an integral part of their brand, so powerful that it had me not even entertaining a competitor product.

What you do, the products you sell and the services you offer are important – your story is what makes you unique.

Time to start storytelling ….

Check out another blog post: “Branding and Storytelling

Greg Canty 

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

 

 

Customers aren’t just for Christmas!

December 22, 2014

Marc Jacobs

It was about this time last year when I embraced the “hint” that was given to me by Dee and I found myself in the handbag section of Brown Thomas looking for a leather hand bag, which was stylish but small and tidy.

In the end I settled for a classy navy blue Marc Jacobs bag … that’s a good brand, isn’t it? The price suggested it was a good brand and surely she would be happy with it. Down through the years I’ve bought a few handbags in BT for Dee ..strangely (I know what you are thinking..) I actually like shopping for handbags! I love the leathers and the colours and the different designs and for the most part you can’t go wrong with a bag as a present…I think?

As usual I scored and on Christmas morning Dee was happy with her gift.

Marc Jacobs was born in New York City on April 9, 1963. After graduating from the High School of Art and Design in 1981 he entered Parson’s School of Design. As a design student at Parson’s, Jacobs was the recipient of some of the schools highest honours including Design Student of the Year. In 1984 he met Robert Duffy who is still his business partner today. These two have been really successful at building this huge brand, which as all of us knows doesn’t happen by accident

At the end of this summer (just 7 months on) the leather edges of the bag started to turn white – the piping on the seams of the bag were not leather but some type of narrow plastic and the covering was wearing away – this didn’t seem very Marc Jacobs so we returned it to the store assured that there would be no issue with a repair or a replacement.

After two months the bag was returned repaired. Dee was upset as it smelt musty so it must have been sitting in a damp repair shop for quite a while and the inner lining that had to be opened up to complete the repair was still torn.

She put up with this, de-fumigated the bag with perfume but within a few weeks you could see that the repair was not going to work as the seams were once again stripping away – back to Brown Thomas!

Brown Thomas

Our interaction with the manager of the store this week was interesting. She studied the handbag carefully. “Do you have a receipt?” It was clear from the repair paperwork that BT had already handled the previous repair. “The manufacturer has a 6 month repair policy, so we can’t really guarantee anything” hmmm.. “we never know how people will wear their handbags” ..in other words if you are the type of person who mistreats a bag then we can’t be responsible. Taking one look at Dee you would know this is a bag that would be looked after carefully.

We politely reminded her that we trust Brown Thomas and the expensive brands they are selling and that there is no way we should accept this level of wear and tear after just a few months. Surely a brand such as Marc Jacobs care about their quality? The manager elaborated “They don’t care! You can give out all you want, kick up a fuss but it won’t make any difference. They are so big and so popular they just don’t care

That is just incredible – we did suggest that maybe Brown Thomas should stop stocking such a brand if that is what their attitude is towards the quality of their products and the customers who put faith in them. Glancing around the store you could see how much space was dedicated to this very popular brand – The Marc Jacobs brand is big business.

We did leave the handbag with the manager and she assured us that she would do everything in her power to get this brand to behave themselves and deal with the issue. I’m pessimistic and my prediction is that this will end up with Dee being handed back a worn out bag, which will never see the light of day.

When you are that popular and selling that much product is it easy to forget about the customer?

When a brand is so powerful do you do everything you can to stock them in your store even if they don’t really care about customers?

When Marc Jacobs and Robert Duffy met 30 years ago and started on their journey I am sure they were passionate about style, quality and their customers? Have they lost control of their brand?

When Hugh Brown and James Thomas started their store in 1848 I am sure the customer come before any of the brands they were stocking?

Maybe something might have changed since then ..

Customer’s aren’t just for Christmas and brands don’t necessarily last forever!

Greg Canty 

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

 

Branding or just Storytelling?

December 16, 2014

Storytellers

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon perfectly summarised branding when he declared “your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room

So..branding isn’t about logos or tag lines? …it is actually what people say about you.

In that case our job as marketeers is to simply help our clients tell the story of their business, organisation, products and services effectively so that when people talk about these things they say exactly what we want them to say.

In effect we need to be great storytellers, creating memorable content that connects with our target audience in a way that they will remember positively.

Telling memorable stories takes great copy, imagery, logos, tag lines, ideas, PR campaigns, events, sponsorships, initiatives and social media activity.

When we talk to clients about the Fuzion process we try to forget about the industry jargon and instead we talk about stories:

Capture your story

It is vital that your story, the essence of the organisation is captured properly – this is an important and necessary first step. It is damaging to promote your business if this part is not right.

Whenever and wherever anyone comes across your products, services, website, promotional material, vehicles, premises and even the individuals in your team your story must be told in a way that properly reflects what you want.

Finding your story

If I look for the products or services that you offer with the help of Mr Google it is vital that you are found easily and prominently. This is the low hanging fruit!

When we build websites for our clients we make sure the platforms they are built on facilitate good search engine performance and that we include the right ‘copy’ (the keywords customers use when they search for your products or services) so they are found prominently by potential customers.

Telling your story

Every business must promote itself so that people know it exists. This is your advertising, PR campaigns, direct marketing, email marketing, events and sponsorships all designed to tell your target audience that you exist and what you do.

This must be done carefully and consistently so that the right story is always told.

Conversations about your story

We often hear that 80% of business comes from referrals or ‘word of mouth‘.

Surprisingly only a portion of these referrals will be from actual customers. Often these referrals will simply come from people who have ‘heard about you‘ somewhere along the way.

Social media when correctly used is a fantastic way to generate these referrals and get the right word of mouth going through online ‘conversations‘ and interactions.

It is also a great way to communicate the personality and beliefs of the organisation in a way that is often impossible through other communications.

Protecting your story

The last part of the process is only ever called into action when something goes wrong. We help organisations when incidents occur that have the potential of ruining the good ‘story‘ of an organisation.

The larger well prepared organisations will have predicted possible negative scenarios and will have a ‘crisis drill‘ in place to deal with these should they occur. Often you just cannot predict every possible scenario and when the wheels do fall off unexpectedly we will get the call to help when it is really needed.

What’s your story?

Every individual, business and organisation has a story to tell and this ‘story’ process works best when it is carefully executed as part of an integrated plan.

Marketing?…nah, just like the guys around the camp fire we are just storytellers!

Greg Canty 

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

The Power of Compliments

November 21, 2014

Compliments

I was checking my emails just now and I came across a fantastic message from a contact I have on LinkedIn, which cheered me up no end.

The very lovely and very generous Valerie (Ryder) O’Hanlon had picked up on the changes I had made to my LinkedIn profile and left me a message that put a huge skip in my step.

Thank You

Not only did she pay me a compliment, which is always great to receive but she also grabbed my attention by being nice, generous and friendly – in a sweep Valerie has moved to the top of my ‘nice people to deal with online‘ league table!

If we ever have a requirement in the HR Consultancy sector we know who to go to.

Paying a compliment is a really easy thing to do but it can also be  incredible powerful.

If you see something you like, think someone has done something worthwhile, noticed they have just got a promotion then take those 30 seconds to say well done!

Try it ..if you have a compliment to give, don’t hold back

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 

 

 

Hiding your story

November 20, 2014

Sharing your story

We were having this big battle with a client about our approach to generating press coverage for her new business.

She has a fabulous new product, with some really unique features, which she has developed herself.

While the product is really good it will compete in a world of so many other products waiting for people to notice it, trust it, buy it, use it and then having the confidence to recommend it to others.

Something that makes this product really credible and special is our clients’ personal story. Her profession for nearly 20 years and the experiences she had in that time all led her to noticing a huge gap in the market and developing a product that would fill this gap perfectly.

When prospective customers consider the product on the shelf it will be considered on its merits as they see it. If they like what they see and are convinced by the features and benefits as conveyed on the packaging they might buy it.

We believe that when prospective customers hear her story (if we ever get the chance to tell it!) and understand the experience and expertise that went behind developing the product we feel they will trust it more making that purchase decision easier.

Our dilemma with our client is that she is insisting that we don’t talk about her. She feels no one will be interested and the product is good enough to stand on it’s own merits. This personal reluctance issue is one we come up against a lot and to maximise your PR you just have to get over it.

I gave her my ‘support beam‘ speech and went to great lengths to stress that we wanted the campaign to be a maximum success and the best way of achieving this was to put our best foot forward, which did most definitely include her personal story.

It’s a battle we haven’t quite given up on yet..

Will telling your story make a difference to your business?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

The “Vote for us” Awards

November 17, 2014

And the winner is

Should you enter your business for an industry award?

I received a “Vote for Us” on-line request by a really nice individual  from an organisation that we deal with regularly.

Their B2B initiative had been submitted for some European award and the mechanic for choosing the winner was the quantity of votes by the public.

A lot of competitions and award initiatives are now being operated in this way. In the last few months alone my email has been clogged with numerous requests to vote for different initiatives on-line.

With this particular initiative there was an extra twist to the voting as you can see explained below:

“Each person can cast ONE VOTE EVERY DAY (one per 24 hours) and it just takes a couple of seconds. We would be very grateful if you could VOTE for our initiative each day and/or on the various devices that you work on i.e. smart phone, PC, iPad, laptop etc. And it is legitimate to vote on each of the different browsers daily too, i.e. google chrome, internet explorer, safari, firefox etc.”

A major step too far – Not only was my vote requested but there was a further request to vote every single day on as many devices and browsers as possible!

With this particular initiative I received a number of emails, a number of times from various individuals in the organisation all asking me to vote.

Jesus …. what is after happening to the business world whereby “awards” are being decided by such meaningless criteria.

In this case the award will ultimately go to the team who have expended the maximum energy in chasing the widest possible network of contacts – I doubt this process has any chance of finding a deserving winner.

The winner will be the organisation that have wasted a fortune of time lobbying for votes as well as the time wasted by those who did the voting.

To make matters worse the winner and the other contestants who took the challenge of winning seriously will have run the danger of damaging their own brand as a result of so much lobbying (and quite frankly annoying people). If they don’t lobby (annoy) they won’t win – simple!

Very few people will take the awards seriously once they realise how the winners were chosen, in particular those who did the voting.

I don’t for one second blame the organisation who contacted me – The fault lies with those running and setting the rules for these competitions.

Anyone who is operating an awards initiative should protect the integrity of the competition ensuring that the awards go to the worthy winners.

Winning an award is great for any organisation and in Fuzion we encourage all of our clients to enter credible competitions, which will demonstrate that they are best in class.

If the winning of an award is meaningless then don’t even bother entering.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Are you ready for the Upswing?

October 29, 2014

Bursting through the clouds

Our landlord is selling our building on Fitzwilliam Street and all tenants are required to vacate the building before the end of November. I can’t believe this is happening and that we are back in the horrible loop of looking for another office, just months after moving in.

As soon as this news was delivered I immediately took off on foot around the D2 area to take down the phone numbers of the many offices that had ‘To Let’ signs outside them.

My first surprise was that many of these signs now had “Let by” on them and not ‘To Let’. I quickly got on the phone and started chasing the estate agents for the details of the remaining ones that I thought might be suitable.

I’m sorry, that is actually let now” …”Apologies, that premises is no longer available” … “The premises you are enquiring about is only available for six months as the building is being sold

There was a trend to my many phone calls and I was starting to panic a little about the future home of Greg and his band of merry men and women!

I pressed one of the friendlier estate agents as to what was going on. “The whole thing is after taking off” he explained. “If you find anything that is half way right in this area just grab it, no messing” he advised.

Thankfully after too many phone calls we have found a gorgeous office space overlooking the canal at 13 Warrington Place but even with this we had to make up our minds immediately as we were competing with someone else who wanted the space.

Judging from this experience, the talk by Aidan Gavin of Sherry Fitzgerald at Dublin Chamber recently, the Cork Chamber event with the Business Post and the recent positive economic indicators it looks like the lights are well and truly back on and we are in a definite ‘upswing’.

The big question is are you ready?

More business will be done, people will want to move quicker than before, decisions will be made faster and you must make sure you are in the mix to grab the opportunities.

I’ve put together some simple Marketing & PR tips to help you on the way, so you and your business can make the most of these opportunities.

Positive Intent – before I go into all of the practical stuff it is vital that you have positive intent on your side. Let your team know what is coming down the track and what you expect of them – they may need to work harder and faster to cope with the extra opportunities that will arrive, This will be good for everyone as long as the business can cope with the extra workload.

Those tips:

  1. Looking the part– Before you start any campaign have a good look in the mirror and decide are you ready. Do 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.
  2. Get in the game on-line by being found– Will prospective customers who are already looking for your products or services find their way to your website? Make sure your website is found easily by anyone who may be searching for the services you offer. You may need to optimise your website or start a Google Adwords campaign if this is not the case.
  3. On-line Communication– If you decide to communicate to all your customers, previous prospects and other contacts right now could you do it? Consider adding an email newsletter service to your communications routine and let your database know of changes to the business, new products, new services, awards and other news on a regular basis. This is easily set up and new contacts can be added to your database directly from your website.
  4. Social Media– Even at this advanced stage most businesses have not got to grips with social media. If your business is not using these platforms to drive awareness and promote what you are doing on a daily basis then it is time to get in gear.
  5. Good stories– One of our mottos at Fuzion with our clients is to ‘Never waste a Good Story’. If there is good news happening in your business, if there are interesting developments, if there are new products or changes that should be publicised then drive awareness with a strong PR Plan.
  6. 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 planned way, securing great prices and also negotiating editorial coverage. There is a strong chance that your competitors have cut back on their activity – is it time to steal a march on them?
  7. Plan– Carefully 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 throughout the year so that your business is always visible with your target audience.
  8. 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.
  9. Be Ready – My last tip is to be ready for when those enquiries come in and grab those opportunities as they come along – they will!

If you are in Dublin pop in to say “Hi” to us at our new offices at 13 Warrington Place, Dublin 2, which runs alongside the canal just off Baggot Street.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

Feeding the fly on the wall

October 5, 2014

fly on the wallIn many ways we are all a little curious..

What are they really like, what is she like, are they nice people, what is the spirit of the place, what do they really believe in, is it all about profit, what does he do in his spare time, what experience does she have, what happens behind the scenes, what is their process, how committed are they to results, what are they passionate about, what is it like to work there, what are the people like that do the real work that we never get to meet?

At times we would love to be a fly on the wall to see first hand what the real story is so that we could really get a sense of that person, that business, that organisation – can we believe in them enough to trust them and maybe even do business with them?

Next time you tweet, post on Facebook, write a blog post, publish a photo, update your bio or post on LinkedIn think about that fly on the wall and feed him well!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Contact me if you are interested in the Power You online reputation programme which I will be starting soon in Dublin and Cork: greg@fuzion.ie

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

The Challenge of Attracting Talent

September 28, 2014

Attracting Talent - Superman

Attracting top performers to your organisation is the key factor for future success according to many of the top CEO’s and one of the biggest challenges they are facing today.

Understanding how top performers think is critical and to get this right organisations must figure out what motivates and inspires them and then how to create an environment where these things exist.

Some of the common attributes that top performers look for in an employer are:

Real value alignment

Top performers want to believe that the organisation they are working for are strongly aligned to their own personal values. These ‘key’ corporate values must be clearly communicated and could include things like customer ethos, creativity and innovation, involvement in the community,  teamwork, opportunity and personality.

Quite simply “If you want me to work for you I must believe in you

Positive reputation

In the eyes of the top performer, the organisations they consider working for must have a strong, attractive brand and a great reputation in the marketplace. This by default will enhance their own personal reputation and help them to progress with their career. When the question is asked “where do you work?” you want to be able to answer proudly and even create a little job envy ..”Oh, you are lucky to work there“.

Special personal opportunities

Top performers want to know what sets the organisation apart and what does that mean for them: Special experiences, unique opportunities, enjoyment, satisfaction, achievement and rewards, career progression and a great work life balance are things that important for these individuals.

Development opportunities

The opportunity to develop both personally and professionally is crucial for the job satisfaction of high achievers. They want to invest their talent and precious career time in an organisation that can help develop them and progress their career positively.

Communicating

If these attributes genuinely exist in the organisation (easier said than done!) then the challenge is to communicate these to Top Performers in a way that attracts their attention.

Some of these attributes are easy to convey such as organisation success, great products and services but other ‘softer‘ attributes are difficult to convey in a believable way to prospective talent but it can be done.

Website

The organisation website will be the first port of call for anyone considering working with the organisation. Organisation websites are normally built with customers in mind but you will find that the more progressive ones will go to great efforts to demonstrate the opportunities that exist for staff and will try to provide evidence that their place is a genuinely great place to work.

While describing employee programmes and opportunities is a must on the website, the ‘evidence’ will come from the staff themselves and with clever corporate videos, team blogs, demonstrations of team activities and team testimonials the opportunities can be communicated in a believable way.

For an ‘active‘ job seeker the website will be useful, but to attract someone more ‘passive‘ who may not be considering a career change you must work much harder to get their attention.

Social Media 

Social media in particular, free from the formality of the organisation’s normal communications is a powerful platform for communicating the softer aspects of the organisation. These channels are the perfect way to demonstrate the personality of the organisation, the positive work life balance activities, the team spirit and publicising some of the community work and other things that showcase the ethos and values that exist.

For example happy pictures of team activities can speak volumes for any organisation.

For deeper messages well written blog posts, which allow more informal and softer communications can be distributed cleverly on the social media platforms to really demonstrate the special personality of the organisation.

PR

If the right attributes exist for the organisation then it is vital that these are communicated to the widest possible audience through the media using PR.

Your brand is ‘what other people say about you‘ so it is really important that you carefully plan and shape how your organisation is perceived. Not only should the organisation’s progress and success be communicated but every opportunity should be taken to publicise community work and other non-commercial activities that really show how special the place is.

One of the clever ways to do this for our clients is through profile pieces in the media with individuals who work there. These are a powerful way to capture stories and communicate the real personality of the organisation.

Awards

Awards are another clever way for an organisation to showcase other aspects of their personality and ethos. For example many organisations in Ireland are competing for the Chambers Ireland CSR  and ‘Great Place to Work‘ awards. Companies as diverse as Diageo, Microsoft, EMC and McDonalds are all participating in these awards, which demonstrates in a tangible way that it is not all about profit within their businesses.

In 2013 Fuzion proudly won a Chambers Ireland CSR award for our international Safebook anti-cyberbullying campaign, which we hope speaks volumes about the type of business that we operate. We care!

The top performer is not a work horse and they care deeply about their careers and about things that really matter to them.

Jim Collins in his iconic book ‘Good to Great‘ says one of the key factors of successful organisations is great people.

It’s up to you to attract them!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,650 other followers