Archive for the ‘Teamwork’ Category

Promoting Cork in London and Leadership

September 26, 2015

Cork - BgOnLife

We were delighted to have won the tender with Cork City Council to support them with the sponsorship of and participation in the FDI Forum in London, which was run by the Financial Times.

For me it was a great opportunity as we had been a key part of the work on the Cork Brand Marketing team, which involved literally all of the Cork stakeholders who wanted to market Cork with one consistent voice. This forum was the first expression of this work where we were able to use findings and language from the Cork brand book that we helped to develop.


With all marketing you need to do your very best to deliver a clear message that helps you to stand out in some way. From our work it was clear that Cork is very attractive for business as it works Economically, there is a strong, well educated Talent Pool, it has an abundance of great things to see and do (locals and tourist offering) and the Quality of Life is second to none in our fantastic region.

This is a ‘perfect mix for business and personal success‘ with a special emphasis on the person. You can achieve your career and business goals in Cork and at the same time enjoy a fantastic quality of life. This for us was the extra special, stand out ingredient that Cork has to offer and even though our region is relatively ‘small‘ we have quality of life in abundance.

If you were to use a tagline to highlight this most special characteristic about the Cork region then ‘Big On Life‘ might just be it!

Brochures and other marketing materials had to be prepared and printed so it was first time we could give our ‘Big On Life‘ message a test run.

FDI Forum - London


A strong contingent left for London including senior people from Cork City Council, Cork Chamber, Cork Airport, Developers, and significant businesses all with the intention of flying the flag for Cork and attracting foreign direct investment to our special place.

Cork Chamber organised a dinner in London to bring this team together and to invite some key members of the Cork business community in London (the IIBN network) as well as officials from the IDA.

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell made sure that everyone introduced themselves to the group and then quite cleverly sparked off a conversation about Cork by asking a few people to speak on a topic. This generated a huge and very fascinating ‘Cork‘ conversation about a wide range of topics and issues and helped for all of us to hear different perspectives and to learn.

Michelle Conaghan of the IDA gave us an insight about how they work and their challenges and how competitive the market is. She spoke about the importance of sector clusters, which is important for a talent pool but she also mentioned that the ‘life‘ package is important.

We learnt from the Irish guys working in London about how expensive it is and how global businesses must look at other locations.

Donal Sullivan of Tyco spoke about evolution. Years ago they reduced their numbers in Cork for cost reasons but now the nature of their work is different so Cork is relevant again. He is on a huge recruitment drive and he says the talent pool in Cork and Munster is great but most interesting is the ease of getting people to relocate from Dublin.

The Cork operation is the best performing one globally from a staff retention point of view – I wonder why?!

Cork Chamber president Barrie O’Connell spoke about tax advantages nearly being gone and it is the other factors that must now come into play to attract investment to Cork.

Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy spoke about the need for ‘ambassadors‘ who will spread the word about Cork and that we should focus on the positives with Cork Airport, the good news and the potential. He is right.

Niall Sheehan, Head of Property from Dairygold who have a huge office development about to start in Cork spoke about the compelling facts about Cork and that we should be more confident about the strength of our offer.

Roger Hobkinson (the adopted Corkman!) from Colliers International who led the Cork Brand Marketing project spoke glowingly about participating in activities such as the FDI forum as a vehicle to promote Cork and bring the brand book to life. He also spoke about the importance of urban locations as being key when promoting a region.

Jonathan Grey (who is very excited as he has bought a house in Cork) of the IIBN who is working and living in London spoke of competition for FDI from regions in Scotland, England and Wales. The new London flights to Cork will be an advantage. He coined a fantastic phrase “you can live in Cork and do business with the world” – I love it!

We heard from John Cleary of JCD about the key messages that he uses when he is attracting American IT companies to Ireland. Lower cost is a big advantage in Cork but quality of life means that staff retention rates can be a lot higher, which is another big selling point. From his conversations connectivity to the U.S. is a big deal so the recent announcements about Cork Airport are very welcomed. He also stated the obvious about Ireland – “people will look at Dublin first”. Cork is a very viable and compelling alternative.

Theo Cullinane of BAM (a Cork sports star with some unique achievements as we discovered!) also spoke enthusiastically about the super quick work they are doing at One Albert Quay for JCD. This will be an office development with the best specification in the country, which is what new companies are looking for.

Pat Ledwidge from Cork City Council who led the participation in the FDI Forum spoke about how Cork, now has “product to sell” so it must gear up its marketing efforts abroad.

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council emphasised the cost advantages of Cork as well as the quality of life aspects.

Of course I had to get my few words in..

Dublin is a fantastic city with lots of advantages but it is heating up and it is starting to get quite costly. Cork presents a different and very compelling offer “The Cork offer makes the Ireland offer a lot stronger“.

The engaging conversation bounced from one side of the table to the other with each person talking enthusiastically about our ‘favourite place‘ until the restaurant staff politely gestured that it was getting late … it was past midnight!

Goodie Bags

Reader ..bear with me for a few minutes as I talk about goodie bags – this is leading somewhere!

We wanted to leave delegates at the FDI  forum with something different than the usual flyers and brochures. We decided that we would place a ‘Cork – Big On Life‘ box in each of the delegate packs instead of the normal so they would remember us!

We had handmade sweets from Cork, postcards and a few other little bits and pieces all to go in our ‘Cork Big On Life box‘. While this was a great idea it did however mean ‘Big on Hassle‘  as the boxes had to be assembled in London (no short cuts I’m afraid!) and filled.

Elmarie McCarthy from Cork City Council selflessly took responsibility for this monumental task along with everything else that she had to coordinate and her bedroom became a mini production line in the early hours of the morning (there was no access to the conference venue beforehand).

After the meal and the networking the Cork team that were staying in the same hotel took responsibility and pitched in and assembled and filled these boxes until 1:30 am. Well done to Ann Doherty, Pat Ledwidge, Conor Healy and Barrie O’Connell for jumping in, simply because a job had to be done.

The next morning there was a repeat performance – the Cork ‘Big On Life’ boxes weren’t going to magic their way into the delegate packs in the short window of time that was available before the event started  – there was no standing on ceremony and our leaders took responsibility once again, got to the venue early, jumped in once again and quickly did the job that was needed. I did help along with Roger from Colliers.

The FDI Forum

This was a fascinating day with a huge array of speakers and panelists as well as fantastic networking opportunity. Cork were there in force joined by Denis Collins of Smarter Dynamics, Kevin Cullinane of Cork Airport, Malcolm Allan from Place Matters (our destination branding guru who was fantastic to work with on the Cork Marketing project) and Doug Howlett from Munster Rugby all chatting to delegates and spreading the word.


Cork was there proudly promoting ourselves along with other places such as Essex, Tblisi, Cyprus, Jersey, Melbourne, Lousiana, Singapore and Qatar.

I had an interesting chat with a delegation from Essex – they have a team of five people working for them proactively in the marketplace seeking opportunities as well as a Marketing/PR team supporting the communications of their message. They take a sector by sector approach and have identified four different ones to target. Promotion of your region is now sophisticated, big business and if we want these opportunities to come to Cork we need to gear up.

Ann Doherty - Chief Executive Cork City Council

Ann Doherty represented Cork superbly on a fascinating panel discussion and I am convinced that she must have worked in sales at some point because she didn’t let one opportunity to slip by to highlight what we have to offer here!

A lot of tired and weary Cork folk made there way to Heathrow airport to take the last flight home. 20 minutes after landing I was at home and I reflected on our little excursion (our airport is so incredibly fast and convenient).

As a proud Corkman I was privileged to have been part of this work and if this FDI community hadn’t heard of Cork before they certainly did now. Cork did itself proud in London and all of our various stakeholders need to do much more of this together. Individually we are all ambassadors for Cork and familiarising ourselves with our Cork brand book is a great starting point to stay on message with what our region has to offer.

The most impressive aspect of the London trip for me was the huge sense of pride and togetherness demonstrated by everyone, including our leaders and that willingness to take responsibility and do what was needed.

Cork .. #BigOnLife

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork


Teamwork – Are we in this together?

September 14, 2015

Volunteers in Brooklyn after hurricane

It’s Saturday morning and I totally admit that we are slightly hungover and very tired after a fantastic party the night before in the office to celebrate our Fuzion 15th birthday.

Despite the torrential rain we had a great turnout of friends, clients, media and of course our team. The banter and fun was in full swing and a few of us headed to Brick Lane for a few more drinks and even a boogie or ten! Slices of pizza at Fast Al’s was a must before dragging our tired bodies home in a taxi at 3am ….you are only 15 once after all!

Unfortunately someone had to head to the office so that the audio visual crew and the caterers could collect their respective gear and then face into the big ‘tidy up‘ to transform our space back into an office.

My head was sore and I promise you I was not looking forward to this arduous, painful task but it had to be done and as it was a Saturday it was Deirdre and I who had to do it. Of course we would love help, of course we would love a few extra hands to lessen the load but it is Saturday and the team are off so we wouldn’t ask.

As ‘owners’ isn’t that what you do?

We parked up and dragged our bodies slowly to the office and then something incredible happened.

Aoibhinn, one of the senior members of the team was already there with her young son Noah and she was in full swing with the tidy up. That one set of extra hands, that willingness and that powerful gesture of taking ownership felt like 100 extra hands and it just blew both of us away and we had the job done in no time.

We own the business and we have a great team in Dublin and Cork that work hard with us from Monday to Friday. For 15 years we have worked really hard to build a good team spirit but its moments like this when someone takes ownership and does the unexpected that you feel you have a real team and you are actually in this together.

It felt good ..thank you Aoibhinn

PS – Knowing Aoibhinn she will hate me writing this!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 



Cork City and County – Merger drama!

September 10, 2015

Cork bridge

The report has been issued and in true ‘Cork‘ fashion it is a car crash of confusion and of course we couldn’t even get consensus among those on the small, tight evaluation panel!

A good friend of mine in Dublin who is in a position of authority in a powerful organisation tells me that “it’s pointless trying to get anything done in Cork because of the politics“.

This is sickening to listen to but is he right?

I eagerly awaited the reports in the local newspapers to try to get a grip on the issues and some sense of what is being recommended.

Maybe I am very simplistic on all of this but before delving into what they are saying we need to assess what we have currently in Cork:

  • A vast geographic area with a very definite large urban centre surrounded by a collection of rural towns and countryside
  • Urban issues and quite different rural issues to manage
  • A management structure where the city council is managing only part of the ‘effective‘ city and a county council which is managing a chunk of the ‘effective‘ city and a vast rural area with country towns
  • Two complete management structures with separate Chief Executives, Mayors and Councillors
  • One fantastic place that needs cohesive marketing with meagre resources (the best attribute of our city is the county and the best attribute of the county is our city)

So we have a real difference in types of issues, a real potential for duplication of overheads through two structures, politics at play and a hunger for power, history and how it has always been and a real need to pull together to achieve anything meaningful.

Alf Smiddy Alan Kelly, Cork City and Country Merger

I was hoping the recommendations would resolve this and before arriving at my own conclusions I wanted to soak up the feedback as it has been reported:

City Mayor Chris O’Leary reckons it relegates the status of the city – it will become one of ‘three divisions’ but with a larger better defined, more sensible catchment area

Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail leader  reckons the city will be marginalised and out voted – the overall Chief Executive will be in the County and the Deputy will be in the city, running one of three divisions

Cork Chamber of Commerce see it as being a “winning formula” but the Cork Business Association says it realises their “worst fears” …ah come on guys!! (Cork Chamber have a wider geographic spread than the Business association, which is mainly city centre, which probably explains the difference)

Ciaran Lynch, Labour TD feels it would “relegate the city to the status of a town council”

Significantly the two members of the CLRG  committee who vehemently oppose the merger (Prof Keogh and Dr. Theresa Reidy feel so strongly that they have produced their own minority report outlining their concerns)  state that “the two county divisions will be able to out vote the city” ..that’s not good I’m thinking!

Neither City or County Chief Executives are allowing themselves to be drawn on the matter but it is speculated that the more experienced County Chief Executive, Tim Lucey would get the senior role and Ann Doherty the City Chief Executive would become Deputy, with responsibility for the city.

The City Mayor, Chris O’Leary stated that the merger recommendations are “an insult to the people of Cork” – I’m not sure if too many would come up with that one in all fairness Chris!

When power and position are at stake it’s hard to believe anything that these guys will say – its logical that if they are losing something it is a travesty and if they are gaining then it will be the best thing since the sliced pan!

Even the ‘anti austerity‘ crew vowed to block the merger – basically they feel that urban working class communities will lose some of their clout

CIT welcomes the proposal and Cork County Council issued a statement saying “it would create jobs“. This is a funny one as if anything it should eliminate duplication.

The very wise, commercial and practical Alf Smiddy the Chairman of the process said things I would expect such as “more can be achieved with combined resources instead of divided responsibility” – ok, now someone is talking sense.

Cork County Hall Statue

It was now time for me to review the proposal to see where all this reaction was coming from.

  • One clear structure that achieves resource efficiency, eliminates duplication and creates a real synergy of purpose and intent would be fantastic for Cork – I’m not seeing this in what is recommended. I see divisions and power hubs.
  • One merged entity makes sense as long as we have a robust structure to manage this large area and one that takes into account the very different issues between our core urban centre and our rural areas – The proposal of three divisions, one city and two rural is sensible if these are management units and not power bases. This is not clear and I don’t like the word ‘divisions’.
  • The power structure (as opposed to management structure) between the divisions will cause big problems as they seem to be power bases with “votes” – the opposing members of the committee should really be listened to here
  • In my opinion the city must always be at the ‘core’ of the region and must not be relegated in any way to having a secondary voice. The urban area must be the economic driver and must never run the risk of being minimised in any way. This is not clear in the plan at all, which is a big worry.
  • Our region must be marketed as a cohesive region both to tourists and economically. Three divisions will not be a viable proposition and there must be a provision for one cohesive marketing team. I didn’t see this in the plan.
  • Politics and power games are clearly at play which will confuse all of the feedback
  • There is a lot of fuss being made of the Lord Mayor’s position in all of this – am I the only one who views them as just ‘nice’ figureheads?
  • It is clear that there are huge divisions and differences in opinion and we need to tease all of these out fully before we have any chance of moving forward

Based on what I have read and heard it is clear to me that there are major issues with the recommendations that cannot be ignored.

We need to put politics and power games aside, patiently work through all of these issues, address the real concerns and for once pull together as ‘Cork’ so that we can manage our fantastic place effectively and embrace all of the many opportunities that are available to us.

I want to prove my friend in Dublin wrong!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design 





July 17, 2015

Steve Jobs and wozniak-1977

When you believe in something it engages you.

When you believe in what you are doing then you do it with enthusiasm and purpose.

When you believe in who you are doing it for and why then you do it with even more intensity and passion.

When everyone in the team has the same belief then you have a common bond and you become a powerful collective force.

When your customers believe then you can make real magic happen

Without belief you have nothing.

The most important thing you can do as a manager is to give your team something real to believe in

Greg Canty 

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

The difference between winning and “everyone is a winner”

June 26, 2015

PRII Awards 2015 - Fuzion PR

I am sitting on a beach just outside Rome and I am doing my best to relax and enjoy the sea breeze  and my book and I see my team tweeting about the PRII awards ceremony (PR Institute of Ireland) and the award that we have been nominated for – ‘National Award for Excellence in PR for the Best Public Campaign’.

These are a real big deal as they are the “Oscar’s” for our industry in Ireland and we are up against the biggest PR firms in the country.

We have been nominated for the work we did for our client Down Syndrome Ireland regarding the campaign to get the return of discretionary medical cards for people with Down syndrome.

Some of our team are at the awards ceremony and being honest I’m delighted I’m not there as I really hate going to them – it’s fantastic to be nominated for the awards but once it comes to the ceremony there is just one ultimate winner in each category.

Fuzion have been winners at these things before but we have also been nominees or runners-up, which is always painful no matter how you dress up the “everyone here is a winner” argument.

The feeling of being at the awards and winning is fantastic but the feeling of being there and not winning to me is not great and one I’m not too good at coping with if I am being honest.

I’m sure I’ll find out pretty soon how we did by keeping an eye on twitter – I’ll be over the moon if we win and will definitely celebrate in Rome later and if we are a glorious runner-up I’ll be glad I am on this beach and not in that room watching others celebrate!

Does this make me a bad loser? … probably!

Deirdre’s phone rings and she doesn’t answer it. A text comes through from Aoibhinn…. We won!!

I am over the moon and so proud of the recognition for our team and the work we did on this campaign (and all of the rest of the time).

It’s a pity I’m on a beach and not there to celebrate with my team!

(pic: Aisling White and Aoibhinn Twomey from Fuzion pictured with our client, Pat Clarke from Down Syndrome Ireland)

Greg Canty 

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

Nothing to play for

May 23, 2015


The end of the football season is always a very strange time – it manages to produce unexpected results, surprising comebacks and even more surprising defeats.

Teams that were hopeless all season all of a sudden put a run together and start winning matches, virtually unrecognisable from before. They miraculously survive.

Teams that performed well all season but know that they can’t win the league start losing and drawing games, which before they would more than likely have won easily.

The teams that know they are ‘safe‘ from relegation take a breather for the last few matches because they know the job is done and they start losing matches.

The teams involved at the latter stages of the cup tournaments start performing lousy in league matches because the players are ‘saving’ themselves for the glamour matches.

At this stage of the season those at the bottom with the desire to survive always seem to be able to dig deep a little more than those near the top. Survival is possibly a stronger motivator than getting as high as possible at this stage.

The best teams to play against seem to be those who have ‘nothing to play for‘. With a stronger motivation to win surely the team who needs it more will have a better chance at overpowering a team who don’t really need it at all?

There are always exceptions like the team that is already relegated and manages to win their first away match of the whole season against a team fighting for their lives. The extreme pressure was off and they managed to relax and play the football they were capable of but never managed before.

It is at this stage of the season that you see who the great managers really are.

These managers are the ones who inspire their teams to win even when there is nothing to play for such as Jose Mourinho. Even though the team has already won the league he still manages to motivate his players enough to beat teams who have a lot more to play for.

No matter what you do you must give your team something to play for; some target, some goal, some challenge so that they can dig in, reach higher and keep winning.

What are your team playing for?

Greg Canty 

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

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


We had a great 2015 because ..

January 1, 2015

Cool Runnings

For the last few years we have been doing this simple little exercise at the start of the year to help get focused around things that are important both personally and professionally.

We have found it to be really useful and one that has made a big difference.

Making plans and actually achieving them is always challenging and at the start of the year we find ourselves at the start of that loop all over again making promises that often will never materialise!

Benjamin Zander - The Art of PossibilityA few years ago we were inspired by a book about goal setting in a different way called “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (a really interesting motivational book by the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and his wife who is an executive coach).

Benjamin Zander, the conductor has the task every year of bringing out the very best from a large group of very talented musicians for his orchestra.

His approach is rooted in the power of visualisation – the simple idea behind this is that if you visualise what you want to achieve then there is a much better chance of it actually happening (unbelievers ….stop reading now !!)

This year instead of doing it individually (definitely do this as well) why not as a team take on the task for your business or organisation.

Imagine the last working day of the year just before you switch off the lights in the office, before you exchange office presents and head out the door to do some last minute shopping and enjoy a well-earned rest, you have a chat about the fantastic achievements during the year.

Here goes ..

Take a flipchart and simply write your achievements in advance for the last working day of the year to come..

Wednesday, 23rd December, 2015

We had a great year because ….

Be as specific as you can including business and developmental goals and when the team are done get everyone to Sign it!

Once you have done this take some time out with your team and work out the detailed planning and action plans that support your 2015 wish list and then track progress during the year.

…grab just 30 minutes with your team this week before things fully kick off again and do it!

Happy 2015!!

(the pic at the top of the post is from the fantastic movie, Cool Runnings the last featuring the comic genius John Candy about the Jamaican bobsleigh team making their debut at the 1988 winter Olympics in Canada)

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 Dig Deepers

October 31, 2014

Digging Deep

Everyday when you rock up for work you make a choice about who you are – could you be a dig deeper?

To not treat work as just a job
To go above and beyond what is expected by your clients
To look out for the other guys in the team and help them out when they need it
To not worry about the clock when there is more to do
To think and watch out for your clients 24/7
To bring your clients something unexpected because you were watching out for them 24/7
To take responsibility for your clients as if it were your own business
To learn as much about your clients industries, issues and challenges as possible
To be a true partner with each of your clients
To be the one that is called by your clients when they need support at any time
To be an invaluable part of your clients team

When you dig deep career success follows..

Greg Canty 

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

Win at all costs?

April 29, 2014

Mourinho celebrating against Liverpool

Besides being totally and utterly devastated after watching Liverpool lose the advantage in the title charge because of a defeat to a very cynical, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea side I was surprised at the mixed reaction to the match.

In my view, (which I realise is totally biased because I am a Liverpool fan) I felt Chelsea came and effectively cheated their way to an awful victory.

Despite having 190 million pounds worth of talent on the pitch Jose Mourinho instructed his team to spoil the football match by constantly disrupting it by time wasting and then ‘parking two buses‘ in front of the goal – it was a successful ploy as Chelsea won the match and Liverpool despite being the better team couldn’t create a clear chance or a piece of magic that would lead to a goal.

How could those talented players want to perform like this? Is this why he lost the support of some of the players at Real Madrid?

I’m gutted that horrible, spoiling tactics won the match for Chelsea and that the win came from an awful, misfortunate slip by the most passionate player on the pitch, Stephen Gerrard, which led to a simple gift of a goal.

In there was any fairness wouldn’t you think that if any luck was going on the day it would be to the team that tried to play football and not to the nasty, negative and horrible Mourinho and his team? I was sick watching him run to the supporters punching his chest after they scored – “you deserve nothing” I felt.

After the game this view was shared by nearly every Liverpool fan I spoke to and so many others – how can such cynicism win through, it’s bad for football, why didn’t the ref punish time wasting at the beginning of the match instead of at 92 minutes when the damage was done?

While this was the most popular view I was surprised by how many others who felt it was a tactical masterpiece, his aim was to spoil and he succeeded, who cares how you do it, isn’t winning the objective?

After all, how you win is irrelevant..

In your business is it win at all costs?

Greg Canty

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


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