Missing the simple chit chat

December 9, 2018

 

Mum called me this morning.

She had been to mass (as she does each morning) and she wanted to share a little moment with me.

The gospel that morning had been about the two blind men that Jesus had cured in Galilee by touching their eyes.

Mum told me that when she heard this she had to do everything in her power to keep the laughter in, as she instead was thinking of the rhyme that dad used always share with us and all the grand kids.

He used deliver this rhyme with actions and funny gestures and in some ways it summed up everything that this gorgeous man was all about. He had a great sense of humour, he adored children and would do anything to make them laugh.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two blind men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see

So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye,

Knocked him through a nine inch wall,

Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

And came to arrest the two dead boys,

If you don’t believe this story’s true,

Ask the blind man he saw it too!

This was a tall tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and everyone seems to have a slightly different version.

Mum thought of dad as she does all of the time and she couldn’t stop laughing.

She missed him and misses him every day. She misses the simple chit chat the most and of course, his humour.

He wasn’t there with her, as he always had been but of course he was, he always is.

Mum misses him, we all do

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Monotonous roles and having a real purpose

November 27, 2018

Mini

I stood at the counter of the credit union with my daughter, Ellen as we filled out form after form after form – it must have been at least 100 forms with multiple signatures on each (at least that’s how it felt!) as well as answering a multitude of questions. We were there for nearly an hour and it was painful. I was a guarantor for the loan that she was applying for, which is why I was there.

I watched the very helpful lady that was dealing with us and I thought about her job, all day, everyday completing forms, pushing paper and inputting and I felt for her. She was really nice and kind and made sure that we understood the whole process and most importantly how much the monthly repayments would be and when the first one would kick in. At the end of the process we were told the money would be in her account the following Monday afternoon.

I also watched the guy behind her, who was sitting at a terminal and he appeared to be busy inputting “stuff”. Again, I wondered – what boring jobs they have. How could you do this day in day out. would it not destroy your soul?

The reason we were there was that my determined daughter needed to replace her car as her old one eventually packed up. She didn’t want any old car, she wanted something special, one that she would enjoy, a car that would get her excited and one that would put a smile on her face each day she would drive it.

She had done her shopping and set her heart on one in the UK, a gorgeous and relatively new Mini, with good mileage – she was to fly to the UK and collect the car and bring it back on the ferry. She had the whole thing figured out including the VRT (why are we paying so much more than the UK who are also in the EU??).

She rang me this week, totally exhausted – she had returned home in her new car and she was absolutely thrilled with herself, and she now had transport so she could get to work again and she could do it in style!

I thought about the lady in the credit union and the other guy and their monotonous roles – they do this everyday so that people can fulfil their dreams and get the things they want and need in their lives.

Maybe they are great jobs after all?

What is your purpose?

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Blackmailers with poor English…

November 22, 2018

Is anyone else getting these BS emails?

He‌llo‌, I kno‌w the‌ to‌o‌ di‌rty se‌cre‌ts o‌f yo‌u‌r li‌fe‌. I wi‌ll no‌t re‌ve‌a‌l yo‌u‌ wha‌t e‌xa‌ctly I kno‌w, I’ve‌ go‌t a‌ll the‌ i‌nfo‌rma‌ti‌o‌n a‌lo‌ng wi‌th me‌. To‌ sho‌w my po‌i‌nt, le‌t myse‌lf i‌nfo‌rm yo‌u‌ tha‌t o‌ne‌ o‌f yo‌u‌r pa‌sswo‌rds i‌s de‌fi‌ni‌te‌ly xxxxxxxx. Se‌nd me‌ $3000 vi‌a‌ Bi‌tco‌i‌n to‌ the‌ a‌ddre‌ss 125J7jfZiEV2H7T3t6ZKKkwLuW94ktqpuf wi‌thi‌n the‌ ne‌xt 49 ho‌u‌rs. Le‌t me‌ ma‌ke‌ o‌ne‌ i‌mpo‌rta‌nt thi‌ng pre‌ci‌se‌, tha‌t I wi‌ll me‌ss u‌p yo‌u‌r li‌fe‌ co‌mple‌te‌ly i‌f I do‌ no‌t ge‌t the‌ pa‌yme‌nt. Whe‌n I do‌ ge‌t the‌ pa‌yme‌nt, I’m go‌i‌ng to‌ de‌le‌te‌ e‌ve‌ry si‌ngle‌ i‌nfo‌ I’ve‌ wi‌th me‌, a‌nd i‌’ll di‌sa‌ppe‌a‌r fo‌r go‌o‌d a‌nd yo‌u‌ wi‌ll de‌fi‌ni‌te‌ly ne‌ve‌r he‌a‌r a‌ thi‌ng fro‌m me‌. It i‌s the‌ fi‌rst a‌nd a‌lso‌ fi‌na‌l e‌ma‌i‌l fro‌m me‌ a‌nd a‌lso‌ the‌ o‌ffe‌r i‌s no‌n ne‌go‌ti‌a‌ble‌s, a‌nd so‌ do‌ no‌t re‌ply to‌ thi‌s ma‌i‌l.

Listening to all of the Signals

November 21, 2018

Rush - Signals

I’ve been thinking a lot about signals recently, the signals that people will send you from time to time and the power of signals when you send them and what they can achieve.

(the pic. is the cover of an album by Canadian band, Rush called Signals)

Some of the signals are big ones from a business or organisation, which are meant to be noticed.

Big, clear signals that are built to deliver clear messages that they want their audience to digest in brochures, websites, adverts or press releases and sometimes there can be much smaller signals, which can be every bit as important such as phone manner, meet and greet, the little stories that can be shared via social media and even the tone of social media interactions.

The big and small signals apply equally with us, mere mortals, human beings occupying space on this earth. We do the big stuff with how we dress and present ourselves, how we speak, the language we use and our choice of subject matter, our personal interactions, how we communicate on email, our blogs and our videos, our bios on our social media accounts and the actual posts themselves.

With business or with our personal signals it is quite easy to “paint a picture” that is advantageous to you and your goals with your target audience but sometimes this may not always quite be “the truth”.

All of us, professionally or personally owe it to ourselves to present the best version of “the truth” to our audiences, but we also owe it to ourselves to never blindly accept what we see from others as there could always be another story, which may not be that obvious.

When it comes to business or personal, as receivers of these signals we need to be careful not to take what we see at face value, but instead look carefully at all of the other signals to discover what the real truth is.

For me, I have found that when something hasn’t quite worked out with an organisation or a person, there was always some signal there that I had actually noticed but had ignored because it was small and it just didn’t stack up against the bigger signals, which surely were the correct version of the truth?

Sellers – be careful with all of the signals you push out.

Buyers – be careful and take the time to look for all of the signals, and obey them!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

A salute to my first boss, James Barber

November 19, 2018

Greg Canty

I was really sad today to find out that my very first boss, James Barber sadly passed quite recently at Marymount Hospice.

Many people play a big role in your life, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a teacher, a classmate, a colleague, a child, a life partner but your very first boss is a very special role and in my case, James Barber was the very best boss I could have had.

Why James choose this enthusiast, post leaving cert 17 year old with a big afro, beyond other candidates I’ll never quite know but I’m very grateful that he did and I’m forever in his debt that he treated me so well and gave me a hunger and love for business as well as a lesson in how to treat young people in their first ever roles.

(The pic is of me on my first day in the job, September 1982 – my mother was very proud if me!!)

The brilliant thing about James is that he always treated me with respect. I never felt like a young kid, he brought me to business meetings when we met clients and he made me feel like my opinion and my input was always valuable.

In particular, I remember our long trips in the car to see a client in Tralee and at the end of those days I used come away from them buzzing after learning so much.

He gave all of us in the office great training, he always gave us detailed briefings and clear guidance about each client so that we were always fully informed and therefore confident that we could execute our work well and we did just that. He was the ultimate professional but he also knew how to motivate us.

James was the first person who introduced me to the world of computers – god knows how much it cost but the practice bought a machine and it sat in his office and we were invited to use it and complete tasks for clients. It sounds odd now but it was really progressive and great for all of us.

My proud boast was that we (Barber & O’Leary) were a lot more than auditors and accountants, we were business consultants and for the most part it always felt like we were adding huge value and I credit James for that clever brand positioning, which always helped us to differentiate against competitors.

He was a great accountant, but he was also a great businessmen and I loved every minute of the work on some of the projects that he was involved with.

Towards the end of my days there after I had qualified I was getting itchy feet as I wanted to be even more involved in business and not just working on accounts, so I moved on.

I think James had other plans for me and it was always a regret of mine that I didn’t explore that more but I had made up my mind to move on.

A few years ago, James actually became a client when he came to Fuzion for help with media for a project he was working on and thankfully our input made a difference and we achieved our objective for him – in a very odd way I found it strange to work for him as I still felt he was my boss, still Mr.Barber and not a peer in the business world!

To this day I still talk about those formative years working at 80a South Mall so warmly and I credit James for my grasp of all types of business and the valuable skills he taught this eager young man.

When anyone passes I firmly believe that they live on through everyone they influenced and I know there is a part of him in me.

James…Thank you for being a great boss and for giving me such a great foundation and I hope I can be just as good for all the young people that start their careers with Fuzion.

Sincere condolences to his wife and children, Vivienne, Stephen, David and Amanda.

Rest In Peace..

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Warning: Disturbing Video (Yemen)

November 3, 2018

Amal Hussain

I was having a lazy Saturday morning, cup of coffee in hand, a delicious cheese swirl that I had bought in Dunnes Stores last night, flicking through the newspaper, which had been delivered by the milkman and contemplating if the rain would stop so I could consider a walk in the park with the dogs.

I have some work to do today as we are really busy but for now I’ll flick through the channels and enjoy my cuppa.

I stumbled onto CNN news and as usual there was the daily digest of Trump hatred, who to make an ugly point is sending 15,000 troops to the border to stop a caravan of refugees, who according to reports are weeks away. Why does he get so much satisfaction from his constant stream of lies and propaganda and in truth the throngs of people at his pre-Midterm rallies seem to sadly, lap it all up?

And then the next segment come on with a stark warning…

WARNING: Disturbing Video  

They proceeded to show a video of a malnourished child in a hospital in war torn Yemen, which was heartbreaking. The skin and bones and gaunt face with a swollen belly showed a person, a defenceless human being looking at the camera.

When the segment finished the CNN new anchor had to compose himself before continuing with other news items.

The warning was right, the video was disturbing, and while it was dreadfully uncomfortable to look at while relaxing on a Saturday morning in the comfort of my own home, it’s really important that we do not turn away.

The image shown was that of Amal Hussain, who passed away one week after this photograph was taken in Yemen.

Click here to listen to the podcast with the photographer (Tyler Hicks – New York Times) who captured this haunting image, that captured the world’s attention.

How is it that these problems still exist in our world…what is wrong with us? 

Amal, you beautiful girl – I hope the next life is better than this one was for you.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

We have one brand, it’s called Cork!

October 25, 2018

Cork Brand Book

When the headlines in national papers about our thriving favourite place, read “Cork City Council slammed for spending €300k on rebranding design that’s similar to three other logos – and slogan has already been used too” you just get a little bit frustrated.

This same topic has been played out in local papers and on local radio as well as these national papers and it is really unfortunate as it comes from a great, positive, progressive decision from the various players in the region to come together and market our fantastic region as one.

The stark truth is we have to pool our resources and market as one, to avoid confusion, to achieve some consistency of message and to have any chance at all of making an impact in a competitive world where we are in the mix against much bigger regions with much bigger budgets!

Our work – The Cork Brand Book

I need to be very transparent here and tell you, the reader, that we were the local partner who worked with a talented team led by Roger Hobkinson from Colliers International in the first phase of this work, which delivered a ‘Cork Brand Book‘ for the region.

This really is a confusing area, and when I heard Pat Ledwidge from Cork City Council and Derry Cronin of Cronins Coaches trying to explain on mainstream radio about the investment in a ‘Place Brand‘ you have to forgive the respective DJs for not being able to understand what they were talking about and furthermore why all of this “stuff” seems to cost a large sum of money – to them and the general public, this just doesn’t make sense.

A strong communications strategy needs to be part of this work (that’s where we come in folks!!) to ensure that the work and investment is understood by everyone, but even with this it still is a little complicated as people just don’t and won’t get it.

Cork Brand Book 2

A brand is a logo….right?

During the course or our work we explained to all of our audiences that the brand book was not and would not be a logo. 

The brand book was the presentation of the “true story” about the region in a way that we felt would resonate with target audiences – for our work this audience was people who wanted to live in Cork, work in Cork, invest in Cork or start a business in Cork.

Our process was simple but yet very complex – we analysed the different audiences in the region to understand what were the attributes, the hard and soft things that they said made it a special place to live and do business in.

We researched the large FDI companies, the small start ups, the people from overseas who decided to make Cork their home – what was it about this special place that made them choose here and how could we weave this story to others in a way that made it a compelling proposition to them?

When our research was done we gathered all of those special attributes about the region and it was our role to collate and shape these so we could package them and ‘tell the story‘ in a way that would resonate.

When we had this ‘story‘ about the region drafted we tested it extensively with our audiences both in Ireland and internationally to see how it resonated.

Is the story we are telling about Cork compelling to you?

Would you invest or want to work and live in a place like this?

The result of this work was ‘The Cork Brand Book‘ which is still available to download and this outlines what we believe is special about the region and it is shaped in a way that is designed to resonate with our target audiences.

The simple idea once this work was done, was that all stakeholders when they are talking about Cork or describing it in their own marketing materials (website/brochures), would use this language – if all stakeholders talk about Cork in the same way then we will achieve synergy and a consistent message with audiences.

The process above took months with a team of us conducting research, facilitating workshops, meeting stakeholders, executing surveys, compiling findings and then writing, designing and testing along with many meetings with the client.

The process takes time to do it properly and this does cost money and we didn’t even get to design a logo!!

As a passionate Corkonian I was privileged to work on this project and for months there was an extra skip in my step in the realisation that we lived in a very special place and this was played back to us clearly by the many people, not from Cork but who chose to live and work here because they loved it.

Shaky Bridge

Next Steps

The controversy in the papers and on the radio about “expensive logos” and confusing brands was about Phase 2 of the Brand work.

Unfortunately our team (pretty much the team that did Phase 1 with one or two others) narrowly lost out on the tender for this phase and I must admit I was disappointed at a business level but I was gutted as a Corkonian.

I’m passionate about this beautiful, diverse region and I was really sad to see the contract going to others.

The tender assessment committee had a tough job and had to apply their criteria and at that time they decided that someone else was more qualified or skilled to take on this contract than our group.

Effectively the job in this phase for the winning team was to:

  1. Bring the Place Brand Book to life in a website and marketing materials
  2. Gather and maintain relevant metrics for the region
  3. Devise a detailed marketing plan to promote the region
  4. Execute this marketing plan
  5. Manage the brand with stakeholders
  6. Liaise with relevant stakeholders

We haven’t been involved in any of the process (I did offer!!) since our phase was completed so I can’t really comment on the work that has been completed but I can comment on point 1 above, which was the bringing of the brand to life – this is the website and the ‘We Are Cork‘ campaign.

The website features some great photography (this should bring the authentic stories to life for the reader) and compelling copy, which should tell the story of the region in a convincing way – the Cork Brand Book that we produced should be a good reference point for the content.

I think the website does a good job at delivering the messages of the region.

The ‘We are Cork’ name and logo (Collectively, The Brand Identity) were also devices developed as part of the work, which seems to be the part that has attracted all of the controversy with the media and the public.

These should convey a modern, vibrant, welcoming place with a warm, original heart – ‘Quality of Life‘ was without doubt the number one attribute that people loved about the region and this is something that the brand identity should try to convey.

Design is a very subjective area so I am not going to comment about the work here and I will also pass on the name for the same reason – I’m sure the team did their research and were satisfied that of the options they developed these were right for the purpose they were intended.

However, I don’t believe that the Place Brand ‘We Are Cork’ is for general consumption (a consumer brand) so I feel that part of the confusion was caused by seeing this appearing on signage around the city – this should be reserved for the consumer facing, Visitor brand, which in this case is ‘Pure Cork‘.

Unfortunately when you are explaining you are losing, and while it is easy to understand the reason for the different brands it does confuse these audiences when they see both brands and not the one that was intended for them.

€300K for a logo!!

Of course a logo didn’t cost €300,000, but unfortunately when you can only show people a website and a logo as the tangible results of the work then the City and Country Councils are an easy target and it is difficult for them to start talking about the value of developing a ‘Place Brand‘ in a way that the regular reader or listener will understand as I have already mentioned.

Take me to the Church

Beyond the Logo..

The most important thing now is that the work continues and that the other aspects of this phase of the tender come to life with tangible initiatives that promote the region to the target audiences.

As someone involved in the tendering process for this promotional phase it was clear that the budgets were very challenging and the region would have to excel with online promotion (it’s feasible on a tight budget) and it would have to be very laser focused as to the activities that it could realistically engage with.

More phases will have to come and these will require significant budgets if the region stands any chance of making an impact with audiences overseas.

I sincerely hope that all of the stakeholders stay brave, stick with the course and continue to invest in the promotion of the region.

This will involve working together, pooling the limited resources, harnessing the passion and energy, choosing some clever, laser focused initiatives to invest in and then letting it all happen!

Cork is a very special place with a very special story and it is a great place to work, live and visit.

Do we have too many conflicting and confusing brands?

We have one brand, it is called Cork and I love it.

Cork….#BigOnLife

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Nike: A brand with beliefs and balls?

September 5, 2018

Nike Colin Kaepernick

Nike made a huge statement this week as they launched their 30 years ‘Just Do It‘ campaign and used one of the sports stars on their roster, Colin Kaepernick with a provocative message:

“Believe in something, Even if it means sacrificing everything”

Colin was one of the NFL star players who decided to highlight social and racial injustice in the United States by controversially kneeling during the national anthem before games, which is one of the main reasons why he is out of contract since 2016.

It is two years since he first knelt during the national anthem and this quarterback’s movement quickly spread around the NFL causing uproar with many including the idiot President, Donald Trump suggesting they should all be fired for their gesture.

Kaepernick has been a Nike-sponsored athlete since 2011.

Colin Kaepernick kneeling

The NFL didn’t respond specifically to Nike’s decision to use Kaepernick in their ad campaign but issued a statement saying: “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action. … We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities.”

The campaign has engaged many people but there has also been a backlash with many on social media declaring that they will throw out their Nike sportswear.

The recent figures also show that the stockmarket has reacted poorly with a negative performance of their shares.

Nike clearly took a gamble on this campaign by grabbing the controversial but powerful sentiment behind Kaepernick’s actions and harnessing it. They knew from the public and media reaction to the kneeling “movement” that it would polarise opinions and that it would get a very strong reaction.

Did they do this for the publicity, did they do this because they believe in someone fighting for a cause or did they do this because they really believe in the cause they were fighting for?

If this is core to the brand values and beliefs, then Nike have won as we now know they have bravely put these out there. regardless of success or failure.

If this was a calculated publicity stunt, then we still don’t know if Nike have won or lost.

I’d like to think they are bravely standing for something they believe in.

Just Do It!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

What have you got to say?

August 29, 2018

Donald Trump

Every day without fail he is at it.

He is on Twitter consistently pumping out his messages, over and over garnering our attention and fuelling the stories that the media grab onto.

His content is on message: Make America Great Again #MAGA, Witch hunt, Fake News, Crooked Hillary, Build a Wall, Jobs, the Economy, I’m Great and those before me were rubbish!!

As much as we might hate him, his (lack of) beliefs, policies and philosophy we do get to see who he is and yes, we do make up our minds about him.

He has a target audience that he seems to understand quite well and sadly, he knows what they want to hear and he fires them up relentlessly in his favour with his often dangerous rhetoric.

This social media stuff is powerful and you and your business can use it too:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want them to know about you?
  • Start telling them
  • Start telling them often
  • Start telling them consistently

Donald…thanks for the social media tips!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Mourinho and the mystery of the lost magic?

August 28, 2018

Mouinho - three fingers, respect

As a Liverpool FC fan it was a natural thing to watch for the Manchester United result coming through last night from their home match against Spurs, three games into the season.

Things were ominous for moaning Mourinho and Co. as they had lost their last match away to Brighton the previous week and the self declared “Special One” has just not been himself for quite a while – in truth he hasn’t been himself for a really long while.

While I have always detested him I remember enviously watching the clear comradery that he seemed to share with his players, back in the early days of Chelsea FC where that combination of talent, money, team spirit and passion seemed to create an unstoppable force, which resulted in three Premier League titles, which he was quick to remind the press about last night in his press conference.

He wants respect from them for what he has achieved before.

Mouinho Chelsea

The magic seems to have deserted Jose Mourinho, whatever has happened. He doesn’t seem to be happy and even with his expensively assembled squad (of course he moans that he doesn’t have more) including World Cup winners, they stuttered at home and lost 3-0.

Spurs are a really good side and there is no shame in this but the timing of the result was awful for him, the team and their fans.

The big question is what happens next?

A great manager will use this result to dig deep, to reboot the team, to rally them to the cause, to make them believe in themselves and to motivate this talented group to start performing to their optimum level.

Great players who believe in this cause, this club, their teammates, their manager and themselves will treat this result as a big line in the sand and will together, use it to kick-start their season.

While this could be a possibility it seems a remote one as Jose has clearly lost the magic he once had in abundance might just need to take a break, to look deep inside himself to find out what has changed and why isn’t he smiling anymore?

We all have bad days and when we lose this feels lousy and inevitably leaves us lacking in confidence and motivation – when this happens it’s up to us, all of us, managers and players to rally together and reboot.

It’s easy when you are winning, it’s tough when you are not and that’s when the true leaders appear, to turn things around.

Jose is not winning but even worse (for Manchester United fans!!) he is not happy – is he the guy who can reboot this team?

#WinHappy

Greg 

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