The most important person to health in Ireland is an IT man!

May 21, 2017

Richard Corbridge, HSE, EHealth Ireland

There was huge interest in the Dublin Chamber, morning event hosted by solicitors Mason Hayes Curran because the speaker was Englishman, Richard Corbridge who is the Chief Information Officer with the HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland.

The very public hacking of the computers of the NHS in the UK brought the Cyber Security topic into focus and this fed an even greater interest than usual in this Dublin Chamber event.

While I was expecting a big talk about Cyber Security from the affable and very engaging Richard I ended up hearing something much more important, I heard about ‘First Dates‘.

Richard used this fantastic ‘first dates‘ analogy to describe how essential it is that the health system in Ireland needs to wake up in 2017 because quite frankly, first dates are no longer acceptable.

This simple point struck a huge chord with me.

Very recently I attended a ‘huge’ and incredibly serious consultation with a senior doctor with a close relative. At this consultation, the topic was of the gravest nature and literally half of the session was spent with the doctor flicking through various papers and asking the most basic of questions in an attempt to bring himself fully up to speed so he could deliver the best medical advice.

As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking that not only was a lot of valuable time wasted by this ‘paper’ system but the margin for error is just colossal.

When you meet a doctor for the first time (when you are born?) this should be the only first date you ever have to experience. Everyone else along the way should have your full medical history at their fingertips so that they have the full story and all of their valuable time and energy should go into the best possible diagnosis.

Richard spoke about many things including the huge positive changes that have been experienced in some of the maternity hospitals where this IT vision has begun and also some incredible improvements with certain medical conditions such as Epilepsy directly as a result of technology.

He also spoke about his committed team, who pulled out all stops to make sure we didn’t suffer the same fate as the NHS. He needs to bring this team with him and expand it to achieve what is needed.

Richard’s enthusiasm for his vision is infectious but it is clear that he is trying to achieve this vision in a mammoth, understandably slow-moving public sector organisation. My sincere hope is that he receives all the support that he needs and that he digs deep and stays the course because it will be frustrating.

To achieve this vision Richard needs to communicate it over and over as eloquently as he did last week both internally and externally and he must not stop until his vision has been achieved.

The irony in all of this is that the health of Ireland rests in the hands of an Englishman who isn’t even a medical doctor!

Richard…thank you, but please, please, don’t give up, we won’t allow you to!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Writing cheques to make yourself look bad

May 14, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Amy and Adam – are we all to blame?

May 5, 2017

My McCarthy

Amy McCarthy, a beautiful 22-year-old mother of one-year-old baby Adam, was found dead in a disused building on Sheares Street in Cork last Sunday night.

Apparently, this old building, which is in the centre of town and one that I have walked past a thousand times is often used as a squat for homeless people, alcoholics and drug users.

The Gardai are still apparently investigating what happened to poor Amy and have not ruled out foul play.

This happened in our city, under our very noses and I found myself wanting to find out more about this young girl to try to get some clue as to how something so wrong could have happened and if anything could have been done to help her.

If you look at her Facebook page it shows you a young girl who seemed to have a lot of friends who were all happy to admire baby Adam anytime that Amy posted a picture of him. It looks like he was born in March of 2016 and Adam O’Keefe is the father and her boyfriend.

What was Amy doing in this place on Saturday night and what happened her?  

Adam O'Keefe

26-year-old Adam O’Keefe, her boyfriend was arrested on Monday in Cork as he seriously assaulted another man in the city – the newspaper reports seem to indicate that Adam has been living in various charity temporary accommodation and this attack was due to the fact that he was ‘upset’ and intoxicated because of what had happened to Amy.

Adam was refused bail as it was felt he was a risk because of his vulnerable state. I wondered what was his story? Why was there no one with him at this clearly traumatic time – prison is a really great solution for this troubled kid.

His Facebook page reveals a young man originally from Midleton who was quite excited about Amy’s pregnancy over 12 months previous:

Amy McCarthy and Adam O'Keefe

my girlfriend 6 mtns pregnant and I swear 2 god I cant wait 2 b a father best thing ever luv u babe far eaver“.

Why was Adam living in temporary accommodation and where was he on the Saturday night that Amy died?

Where are the families of these two young people and what will become of their baby? Was she not living at home anymore? Did anyone try to help them?

While we might find out some of these answers in time, what is certain is that these two young people have been left down by our society, somewhere along the way.

At some point in their lives, they were unlucky and things took a serious turn for the worse.

Instead of getting the help, assistance or intervention that they desperately needed to set them on the right path and keep them safe they have fallen tragically.

Are we all to blame?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Why you should change as little as possible in the first 100 Days

April 30, 2017
Donald Trump signing executive orders

The first 100 days – there is a lot of talk about this and seemingly it has become a great way of assessing the success of a new President in the United States.

Why?

The media are locked into a frenzy about this “100 Day” thing and we all eagerly join in the conversations and somehow buy into this crude assessment of the new President.

Is this a really great yardstick of success and a good sign of what more is to come from the remainder of that person’s four-year term?

In the earliest days of his Presidency we saw Donald “Chump” Trump buying into this, breaking into a sweat signing as many Executive Orders as he could …”look at me, how great I am, look, look, I really mean business and will change the world and show everyone how a real President does it“.

It was quite awful watching the circus around this crude display of power.

100 days on after a frustrating “birth” poor Mr. Chump is now giving out about the American Constitution and blames it for hindering real progress and as always he turns his anger at the media and accuses them again of fake news.

His popularity has fallen since he took office and he really hates that because this bully still wants people to think he is doing great – sorry Donald, that isn’t happening!

The craziest thing of all is this fascination with “100 days”.

Apparently, the term was coined in a July 24, 1933, radio address by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was, in fact, referring to the 100-day session of the 73rd United States Congress between March 9 and June 17, rather than the first 100 days of his administration.

However, it is a lot sexier if we apply the “100” to the first days of the Presidency so this measurement tool caught on.

A good measurement tool?

Managing a super power nation must be incredibly complicated and no matter who you are, no matter how well briefed you are, and no matter how intelligent you are I can imagine those big decisions should be taken in a very considered manner.

From my career experience of having been in business a long time and having managed many companies and worked for many companies, I shudder at the thought of any boss wanting to make as many changes as possible in this initial period.

I would feel an awful lot better if this person would have the sense to listen, learn, take stock and only when they have a full grasp of a situation do they start to make any changes. I have found that even the seemingly obvious things that look wrong can often have very good reasons why they are in place and cannot be changed easily.

I imagine that Donald if he had allowed himself the time and not been a pawn to the media his own bravado persona might have gone about things quite differently.

Next time for the safety and benefit of everyone in the world let’s judge the President positively when he makes no changes in his first 100 days.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

VIP and not so VIP

April 26, 2017

VIP Parking

We arrived at the car park that we normally use as were about to start our working day.

They operate a simple system whereby you buy a parking ‘pass’ for the year and even though they don’t operate a dedicated reserved parking space you park in whatever spaces are free. It also operates as a public car park whereby people can park and pay.

From a business point of view it doesn’t sound ideal as you might worry that you won’t get a parking space when you need it (such as in the lead up to Christmas) but this is never an issue.

When you arrive early for work there is an extra bonus because at that time you can get a parking space on the lower floors.

This Monday we arrived early to find four of the very best parking spots empty but marked up with very clear signage “VIP – Reserved“.

I found myself getting really angry… (oh Greg, that’s unlike you !!) 

Now they had two customer types: VIPs and VPOs (Very p**sed off!)

Obviously, the car park has done a deal with some new customers but instead of offering them the package that they were operating with everyone else they offered a new package whereby someone could reserve their own space.

Let’s assume for a moment that the new customers have agreed to pay super premium for these reserved spaces in prime location – fair enough.

First as an existing customer for the last two years (we pay for 3 spaces) I would have liked to have been offered this package that was not available before – this was a lack of courtesy.

Secondly if you do operate reserved places please don’t call them “VIP” as this makes the rest of us existing customers (99%) feeling not quite so important. “Reserved” is enough.

If you introduce any mechanism for categorising new customers be careful how you make the existing ones feel.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Dog Walking therapy

April 23, 2017

Hpney and Bert

It’s Sunday morning and time to walk the dogs.

Bert is the first to get ready – Dee manages to put the harness and lead on him and his excitement can’t stop him yapping continuously until he eventually gets out the door.

Dee then does exactly the same with Honey – I can never manage to get them ready as there is too much wriggling going on.

And off we go, Ballincollig Regional Park is our normal weekend walking destination.

Thankfully the weather is nice so there is no need for coats. We’ve put the call into our buddies Tommy and Joan who will be down there walking their dog, Tammy. Mum and dad will also join us for a stroll and a chat.

As always the dogs are pulling and dragging, the walk is an explosion of the senses for them, sniffing and exploring at every opportunity. The stroll to the park is through a few housing estates, down a road and when they get there it’s even more escalated with lots of activity and many others walking their four-legged ones.

We do a few circuits of the field, the dogs stopping every now and then to do their business (Dee having to do the necessary clean up..yeuch!) and we head to the weir where they get to splash and run in the water and rehydrate after all of their exertions.

We have our chats and enjoy watching the dogs exploring and if we think they are calm enough we head for a coffee and a delicious bun or two from the lovely Margaret at Cafe Chico. Honey won’t settle when we have a coffee and poor Bert believes he is one of us and wants to be sitting at the table sharing the goodies so it’s not always possible.

We all stroll back and if we haven’t had coffee in the park we might buy a few buns or some salad on the way and have it back at ours.

This simple little weekend routine is great for the soul – watching our two four legged ones exploring and having fun is just the tonic to recalibrate ourselves after a busy week.

Dog walking – my favourite time of the week.

p.s. I never wanted a dog!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Incite or Insight?

April 19, 2017

Ena Kenny and Donald Trump, Patrick's Day

Enda Kenny’s St.Patrick Days trip to the U.S. costs the taxpayer €35,000” read the headline in this newspaper article I read at the weekend.

The article documented blow by blow how and where these costs were accumulated as well as the costs of the other Ministers who travelled overseas for our national festival, that day when the whole world acknowledges and celebrates our little country.

St.Patrick would be a great Marketing/PR trick for Ireland if we had planned it!!

The article was designed to incite the reader in a way that we are seeing all too frequently – It is supposed to get us thinking…

This is a total disgrace

What a waste of money

Typical politicians, on a jolly while the rest of us are paying for it

Why does it cost so much, you can fly to the States and back for €500?

Rage, rage and more rage – thanks for exposing this abomination!!

In my humble view, Enda Kenny’s U.S. trip was well worth every cent and much more as he flew a flag for illegal Irish immigrants and our continued trade in the very delicate Trump era. This simple visit will help to preserve our special relationship with an economy that is more than vital to us.

In terms of the cost of the trip do we really expect the leader of our country to travel Economy, take public transport and book into 3-star hotels?!!

Come on guys, less of the headlines that are designed to incite the typical anger and let’s focus on the insights.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The same ticket but not the same

April 16, 2017

We were on the North East Corridor train heading out from Penn Station in New York to Metro Park in New Jersey to spend a few days with my brother Colin and his family.

On a commuter train to suburbia it’s hard not to observe the other passengers and wonder about their stories and their lives.

There was a guy sitting across from us, I’m guessing in his twenties dressed all in black with headphones on – every now and then he would sing along in Spanish. Many of the public signs here are in English and Spanish, which surprised me.

There was an African American guy, again in his twenties wearing a green hoodie and a baseball cap under that, also listening to his music.

An older guy sat alongside us wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a grey top and an unusual pair of Crocs on his feet. He also had a crutch so this probably explained the footwear. He looked a little dishevelled so maybe he wasn’t having the best of days.

The ticket collector came around – he takes your ticket, then produces another ticket, punches a hole in this and then clips it behind you under a little metal clip. He does this for each of the people around us.

He comes to the guy next to us, the grey tracksuit guy, who takes his ticket from under his sock and produces it for inspection.

Tear it in half” the ticket officer tells him. The passenger looks confused.

Tear it in half” the ticket officer repeats, this time with a little more intent.

He looks confused and asks “Why?”

I’m not touching that, it’s been in your sock” he says.

The poor guy in the tracksuit never felt better I’m sure. His bad day, week, month, year or decade was confirmed in front of his fellow travellers and he quietly accepted this instruction and tore his ticket in half.

The ticket officer was able to go ahead with his job without having to touch the offensive ticket.

This was an unpleasant and unnecessary exchange between two strangers and at what cost?

Would it have been so hard just to take the piece of paper from this fellow human being and treat it like all those other pieces of paper, equally and with respect?

However, we are not equal.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

United Airlines and the Costly Culture

April 16, 2017

United Airlines protests.

When you hear the company name “United Airlines” what comes to mind?

When you hear the company name “Volkswagen” what comes to mind?

In both cases, you probably think of the well publicised and very damaging situations that have occurred, which have caused untold damage to these monstrous brands.

At the time of writing United Airline shares had dropped significantly resulting in a market capitalisation collapse of $570 Million.

While United Airlines was a very specific incident and Volkswagen was a very deliberate campaign of deception what they both have in common is that what occurred was not something that you could blame on “a” culprit in each company.

With United Airlines could you point the finger at the security guards who removed the passenger?

With Volkswagen could you point the finger at the engineers who were able to rig the emissions performance?

In each case, the individuals involved knew that what they did was okay with their bosses – why would they do such a thing otherwise?

In each case, their bosses knew that this was what they were expected to instruct their subordinates to do – why else would they give guidance like this?

In each case, their bosses, bosses had jobs to do and targets to meet and the expectation was that these must be achieved as a priority beyond all other objectives.

And so on up the chain of command.

The huge problem in large organisations is that very often something rotten is allowed to creep into the culture resulting in management and employees behaving really badly and eventually it just bursts through and shows its ugly face in a way that is quite extraordinarily shocking to everyone.

Oscar Munoz - United Airlines

For example with United Airlines the initial reaction of Chairman Oscar Munoz was to apologise to other passengers for the “upsetting event” but went on to push the blame onto the 69-year-old victim Dr.Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent“!

If you ever wanted someone to confirm the rotten culture at the airline, Mr.Munoz did it in his next communication to his staff where he praised them and stood behind them:

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right

In a strange way, he was 100% correct – they did what was expected of them in these situations and as a result, he applauded them!!

At this point in time, the airline’s reputation was in tatters and Oscar and his team started to frantically backpaddle and within three days their tone had changed and fresh press statements included grovelling apologies to Dr.Dao for the appalling treatment and a full refund to all passengers on the flight (what difference was this ridiculous gesture going to do for anyone?).

The best PR advice when something like this occurs is to come clean and apologise immediately with complete sincerity. The word “Sorry” if people genuinely believe those that are delivering the apology can go a long way to reducing the damage caused.

However, just like in the United Airlines scenario a genuine “sorry” was not possible because the culture was too rotten to even contemplate doing such a thing – the expression ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees‘ comes to mind here.

Your reputation ultimately comes from what you do and how you behave and while good PR professionals can help to lessen the damage from a bad situation, it cannot change the culture, which can often be the reason why these things ended up happening in the first place.

Could your culture end up costing you?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis PR consultancy from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Magic of PR

April 6, 2017

PR Magic

Advertising is a way of promoting your business but it is you saying that “we are great, buy from us“.

PR is a way of promoting your business and it is more effective because it is someone else, a trusted third party saying “they are great, buy from them

Your PR makes your advertising more effective as now people believe what you are saying

Social media (when you do it right!) is a way of you promoting your business by interacting, engaging and gently saying “stop by, you might like what we have to offer

Your PR makes your social media more effective as now people believe it is worth stopping by and seeing what you have to offer.

Do all three and you have a powerful combination with PR the little piece of magic in the middle.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland